AL FRESCO DINING
Eating outdoors is one of the joys of summer—especially when someone else is doing the cooking and cleaning up. Here are some of the best places to celebrate the great outdoors:
Amber. Wrought iron gates, beautiful greenery and a lighted canopy turn the streetside patio at Amber into a small outdoor oasis.
13 N. Cass Ave., Westmont, 630-515-8080, ambercafe.net
Capri. With an adjacent covered patio that can be closed off to the elements, al fresco Italian dining can be enjoyed here, rain or shine.
324 Burr Ridge Pkwy. #1, Burr Ridge, 630-455-4003, capriristorante.com
Gibson’s. What could be better than a martini and a steak on
a beautiful patio complete with waterfalls and sleek, glass-covered fire pits? As it turns out, almost nothing. 2105 S. Spring Road, Oak Brook, 630- 954-0000, www.gibsonssteakhouse.com
Redstone. The perfect place to meet friends for summer drinks and appetizers, Redstone’s outdoor patio is open to the restaurant and features a huge fireplace, making it possible to extend the outdoor dining season.
3 Lincoln Center, Oakbrook Terrace, 630-268-0313, www.redstonegrill.com
Topaz. With its stone floor, canopied outdoor bar, draped-off dining areas and wicker lounge furniture, the exotic patio at the Serbian-owned Topaz is an enticing place to spend a warm summer night. 780 Village Center Drive, Burr Ridge, 630-654-1616, www.topazcafe.com
All in the Family
Pubs and kids don’t usually go together, but when the Fuller family name is involved, you know it’s going to be family-friendly. Fuller House Bar
& Grill, set to open this month in a portion of Fuller’s Home & Hardware, is poised to serve up an appealing array of American fare, with “mini-me” portions sized for kids 12 and under. The restaurant’s 3,400 square-foot two-story space is spacious enough to accommodate Hinsdale’s notoriously large families, co-owner Sam Vlahos said. “We want to give people here a place to come watch the game, have a drink and enjoy dinner in an atmosphere where they feel comfortable bringing the kids along,” Vlahos said. With a wood-fired oven that cooks Neapolitan-style pizzas in 90 short seconds, a large selection of gourmet burgers, and comfort food desserts that include hot chocolate-chip cookies and strawberry shortcake, there’s no doubt the kids will be thrilled. But there’s plenty for the adults, too, including planked fish, steak-frites and roast chicken; draft beers with a local focus (such as Solemn Oak from Naperville), house-made sangria and a sophisticated offering of craft cocktails; as well as a state-of-the-art sound system that includes a 120-inch monitor—yet another reason to leave the dinner to someone else.
Fuller House, 35 E. First Street, Hinsdale, fullerhousebar.com
A Perfect Pour
by Kerrie Kennedy | Photography by Jim Prisching
If the name isn’t a tip-off, then the 25-person bar, the oversize plasma TVs and the menu bursting with burgers and beer is positive proof that Old Town Pour House is the kind of place to eat, drink and watch the game. But in this case, the “bar” has been raised in honor of all three pursuits. “We have a very extensive beverage program here, with more than 90 different drafts on tap, a full line of cocktails, and even draft wine from high- quality vineyards,” said Bottleneck Management CEO Chris Bisaillon, noting that draft wine has become a huge trend on the West Coast, because it allows wine to stay fresh longer.
That commitment to quality extends to the menu, where everything—right now, down to the salad dressing—is made entirely from scratch.
From the bone-in pork chop to the Angus beef meatloaf, and the truffle mac and cheese to the duck confit nachos, the Pour House offers upscale pub food that’s appealing to foodies and sports enthusiasts alike.
For the latter, there are not only oversized TVs throughout the restaurant, but during big games, you’ll also find a video DJ engaging the crowd during breaks with humorous YouTube clips and Saturday Night Live skits. Add to that an oversized patio featuring two TVs and two outdoor fireplaces, the option to sample a “flight” of six craft beers at once, and a special Father’s Day menu in the works, and Pour House might just be the perfect spot to bring dad this year.
8 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, 630-501-1440, oldtownpourhouse.com
Food & Drink
by Kerrie Kennedy | Photography by Jim Prisching
*New York strip steak on the wood-fired grill at Bakersfield in Westmont
*Ippoglosso Arrostito—pan-roasted halibut, Brussels sprouts, roasted pomodoro sauce, garlic, herbs and fingerling potatoes at Carlucci restaurant in Downers Grove
All fired up for Summer
Nothing tastes more like summer than a steak cooked on the grill—but when it’s a wood-burning grill, the taste quotient goes way up. At Bakersfield restaurant in Westmont, steak isn’t the only thing that tastes better cooked on a wood fire. There’s fish, burgers, house-smoked baby back ribs and a triple-cut, 24-hour-brined, hot-smoked pork chop that is slowly caramelized over the restaurant’s wood-burning grill, the centerpiece of its open-style kitchen. According to Bakersfield general manager David Williams, it’s all about the hickory and oak. “These woods impart a flavor and smell similar to what you get when you’re camping and cooking over a wood fire,” Williams said. “It’s something that hits you right away.” Owned by the same group that runs Standard Market across the street, Bakersfield’s breads, produce and meat are all sourced from the market, insuring a constant supply of fresh ingredients. With its outdoor patio—complete with a fireplace—in full swing for summer, Bakersfield offers a total outdoor eating and cooking experience—sans the slaving over a hot grill.
Located at 330 E. Ogden Ave. in Westmont, Bakersfield is offering an all-day Mother’s Day brunch on May 10. For more information, call (630) 568-3615, or visit bakersfieldrestaurant.com.
Who says you need to cross the pond in order to enjoy the pleasures of Italy?—certainly not the owners of Carlucci restaurant in Downers Grove. After numerous trips to Tuscany, they modeled their restaurant after some of the best Italian restaurants they remembered. From their entrées, which include all the classics you’d expect—eggplant parmigiana, gnocchi bolognese, chicken picatta and veal scaloppine—to their Italian-inspired martini menu, including the limonata rossa, poparazzi-tini and the espresso ‘chata, Carlucci’s strives to bring Europe stateside, albeit with a few twists. The restaurant’s linguine bobonato con parmigiano, a hot pasta tossed tableside with prosciutto di Parma and fresh basil inside a wheel of parmesan cheese, is its signature celebration of the delicious simplicity of Italian cuisine. Meanwhile, Carlucci’s patio, which features live music on Thursdays and Saturdays throughout the summer, celebrates La Dolce Vida. Modeled after an outdoor café in Italy, the patio features a fountain imported from Tuscany, and is the perfect spot for a romantic al fresco dinner, according to general manager Genti Mesi. “A lot of people who have been to Italy come here and say, ‘We feel like we just took a trip to Italy,’” Mesi said. Never underestimate the transformative powers of an authentic Italian dinner eaten under the stars—especially when it’s just a stone’s throw away.
Carlucci, 1801 Butterfield Road in Downers Grove, (630) 512-0990, carluccirestaurant.com
One of the biggest health food trends of the year, Matcha—green tea leaves ground into a fine powder—offers a multitude of benefits, from boosting energy levels to aiding in weight-loss, making it the perfect partner to your fitness routine. With that in mind, here are five ways to bring some serious Matcha to your workout this spring:
1. Hot yoga. After an hour of serious sweating, quench your thirst with a refreshing Matcha iced tea at Café La Fortuna in Hinsdale, (630) 537-1586, cafelafortuna.com.
2. Personal training. Personalize your latte this spring with a bold new Teavana® Green Tea Latte at Starbucks in Hinsdale, Burr Ridge, Clarendon Hills or Oakbrook Center, starbucks.com.
3. Pilates. Pair your smooth moves with a Matcha Green Tea Blast smoothie, a fat-free summer indulgence that’s so good, it’s developed a cult following. Jamba Juice in Oakbrook Terrace, (630) 279-5332, jambajuice.com
4. Core power. Find your true inner power with a nutrition-packed punch of Matcha, bananas, dates and vanilla soy milk. Whole Foods in Hinsdale (630) 986-8500, wholefoodsmarket.com
5. At-home workout. Can’t get out of the house? Grab your weights and create your own workout; pick up a jar of Matcha and brew your own tea. Teavana in Oakbrook Center, (630) 928-1068, teavana.com