HOME > Chowhound > Great Lakes >


what is a cool restaraunt with good food in rockford, illinois?

going out to eat with an ex girlfriend in an unfamiliar city, would like some guidance on where to go

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. There are some older discussions about Rockford here, although nothing all that recent. Perhaps those familiar with it can chime in with what's new.

    1. From the topic on the LTH forum:

      A side trip to Freeport revealed the Union Dairy, aka Alber's Ice Cream:
      126 E Douglas St
      Freeport IL 61032-4116

      Lino's is an Italian place on State Street in Rockford, looks like they're trying to channel Olive Garden's ambiance (faux stone work -- bonus for naked cherubs) with old-skool (sic) red-sauce Italian. I wasn't impressed with their meatballs (too pasty) but otherwise good stuff, and friendly service:
      5611 E State St, Rockford, IL, 815.397.2077

      Alpine View is a family dining place with an Omega-like menu and dessert case, although seems to be more Italian than Greek. Low prices, decent food. Prime Rib on weekends for $11.99 is nicely roasted and a generous portion. Fried chicken was crisp and tasty. A few points off for foil-wrapped baked spuds, and a very dull-tasting pecan pie. Nice escape from the chain restaurants.
      1710 S Alpine Rd
      Rockford, IL 61108
      (815) 227-5400

      Vietnamese Restaurant (forget the name) has good Goi Ga –chicken salad and Banh Xeo – viet crepe
      324 7th Street
      Rockford, IL 61104

      Da Catch
      1528 Kishwaukee St (at 15th Ave)
      Rockford, IL 61104
      (815) 963-9460

      Stockholm Inn
      2420 Charles Street
      Rockford, IL

      1. Sadly, Rockford isn't really known for its food scene. Are you interested in any particular type of food or atmosphere? Would you be okay with driving out of town?

        1. I'm in chicago, she lives in wisconsin, this is a half way meeting point; so around there would not be the end of the world.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kalman82

            A cheesehead dealing with a flat lander?
            Sorry, just had to deal with the posting.

          2. I see that Franchesco's has extremely favorable reviews on Opentable, and it's right near the Tollway. I have not been there myself. www.franchescos.com

            1. Midwest Living just did an article on rockford (July/august 2013)
              Head to the library or bookstore - it looks like a nice guide.
              They mention several places.
              Most interesting restaurants to me that they mention are Social Urban bar and grill - local ingredients meant to appeal to foodies and a classic the Stockholm inn for Swedish pancakes.

              1. i recently moved to the area and am pleasantly surprised with the restaurants i have tried so far...

                irish rose saloon near downtown offered a cozy atmosphere where i enjoyed a delicious goat cheese sandwich.

                a rockford must-see, the stockholm inn, is a very large, busy restaurant, but both times i visited during the week, the service was good. must try the delicious swedish pancakes with lingonberry sauce.

                ditullio's italian market and cafe is small and comfortable and offers limited outdoor seating. several scrumptious sandwiches to choose from.

                octane interlounge is a more vibrant, upbeat atmosphere. my meal was only so-so, but i'd try it again and explore their menu some more.

                mary's market was delicious. went at lunch, when it was quite busy, especially with carry out orders. but several great sandwiches, salads and pastries to choose from. nothing special about the setting, but well worth it for the food. i will definitely be back.

                just visited carlyle brewing company downtown tonight. it's a louder place, as expected in a pub setting. but well worth it. several good brews, including their vanilla cream ale. enjoyed my sandwich as well.

                looking forward to exploring the food scene here more and always open to suggestions!

                1. It seems like the tapas / small plates trend has hit Rockford big. Can anyone provide advice on these (or other) places?

                  Abreo - www.abreorockford.com
                  Five Forks Market - www.fiveforksmarket.com
                  Social Urban Bar & Restaurant - www.social509.com

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nsxtasy

                    I've made it to all three. Abreo was probably my favorite. I went there for a work dinner. Loved the setting - very intimate. I had the beef tenderloin but I especially enjoyed a bite of the lemon chicken and mushroom crepe.

                    Social is on the same block. A very urban, fun setting with mostly locally bought ingredients. The chef came out and explained each dish and where it came from. I had the cheese plate, brussels sprouts and pork tacos. I especially loved the grape compote on the cheese plate with grapes from the chef's garden! A little pricey, but a fun, urban experience.

                    Five forks was also a cozy setting. I went once for lunch and once for a work dinner. The highlight for me was the bacon wrapped dates. Also had the hummus, cheese plate and chicken and prosciutto panini. I usually can't resist a turkey and cran sandwich, but it was nothing special. I'd go back again to explore the menu more.

                    I haven't been to Pearl yet, but it's next on my to do list.