McHenry County Living's Guide to Local Dining 2010
* Denotes restaurants that McHenry County Living has profiled in the Food & Spirits section. Click here to read more about these restaurants. Image gallery follows.
Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano (Algonquin)
With indoor and al fresco seating, Biaggi’s features a warm ambiance perfect for any occasion. The black fettuccine with lobster is a popular dish, and, along with pasta, Biaggi’s serves a variety fresh seafood and steak entrees.
Get there: 1524 S. Randall Rd., 847-658-5040, www.biaggis.com.
Big Foot Inn (Harvard)
This 64-year-old Harvard restaurant pays homage to the supper clubs of yesteryear. Don’t miss the Friday fish fry and a Sunday champagne buffet brunch.
Get there: 11508 N. Rt. 14, 815-943-4740, www.bigfootinn.com.
* Brunch Café (Fox River Grove)
Booths and tables dot this bright, contemporary breakfast and lunch spot. Nosh on the café’s gourmet benedicts, waffles and crêpes. Watch for the grand opening of a new restaurant in McHenry at Route 31 and Bull Valley Road in August.
Get there: 935 Rt. 22, 847-516-0409.
* Chez Pierre Crêperie (Crystal Lake)
Authentic French crêpes come stuffed with everything from seafood to cheese served in a quaint bistro setting. Share a bottle of wine with your party – and don’t forget to take home a bottle of Chef’s famous sweet and tangy Crêperie Dressing!
Get there: 246 Pomeroy Ave., 815-444-6180.
* Chris' Coach House (Cary)
Set in a renovated dairy barn, Chris' features booth and table seating ideal for family dining and date nights. Get ready to get sticky – Chris’ famous ribs made with a secret family recipe can’t be missed.
Get there: 6414 Hilly Way, 847-639-9675.
Crystal Woods Golf Club (Woodstock)
Crystal Woods’ newly renovated banquet room can accommodate business and family gatherings of up to 150 guests. The banquet staff provides services to suit just about any occasion.
Get there: 5915 S. Rt. 47, 815-338-3620, www.crystalwoodsgc.com.
* Deeter's (Woodstock)
Decked out in festive German décor, Deeter's draws a big weekend crowd for its European fare and monthly Oktoberfest celebrations. Try the Three-Way Combo Alexis – a small filet mignon, a quarter barbecue ribs and baby lobster.
Get there: 15105 Rt. 14, 815-338-6550, www.deetersrestaurant.com.
Doyle's Pub (Richmond)
This renovated Irish pub is located in the historic Richmond Mill building. The from-scratch menu prepared by owner Jeanne Doyle features an unbeatable Reuben sandwich. Come out for the Creekside Music Fest in August (dates to be announced) featuring a bike show and live music.
Get there: 5604 Mill St., 815-678-3623, http://doylespubrocks.com.
* Duke's Alehouse & Kitchen (Crystal Lake)
Duke's is a friendly gastropub with a menu featuring ingredients sourced by area farmers and its own local garden. Gourmet pizzas, burgers and sandwiches are favorites among regulars. A true democracy, Duke’s offers “The People’s Tap,” whereby patrons vote on which beers to feature on draft.
Get there: 110 N. Main St., 815-356-9980, www.thedukeabides.com.
* Galati's Pizza and Pasta (Cary)
This pizza and pasta joint dishes out hundreds of pies a night. Order a traditional thin-crust pizza with your family’s favorite toppings!
Get there: 7 Jandus Rd., 847-516-3663.
Geneva National Golf Club (Lake Geneva, Wis.)
There are two ways to dine at this legendary golf destination just across the border in Wisconsin. Hunt Club Restaurant is an elegant and warm fine dining establishment. Pair your meal with a bottle from this Wine Spectator award-winning restaurant. For a more casual experience, share a pie from The Grill Room’s outdoor pizza oven.
Get there: 1221 Geneva National Ave. S., 262-245-7200, www.genevanationalresort.com.
* La Petite Crêperie & Bistrot (Woodstock)
This cozy bistro's big draw is its casual atmosphere and friendly service. Crêpes, which are served with a variety of fillings, are a must-try for the full La Petite experience. Pair the meal with a glass from its exceptional wine list.
Get there: 115 N. Johnson St., 815-337-0765, http://lapetitecreperie.net.
* La Trattoria Italian Restaurant (Lake in the Hills)
La Trattoria captures the feel of casual Italian dining with a decorative tin ceiling and tables made with vintage Italian tiles. You can’t go wrong with the linguine pescatore with shrimp, grilled octopus or chicken pomodoro.
Get there: 9541 Ackman Rd., 847-669-9840, www.latrattoriarest.com.
"Lenny's" The Breakers (Crystal Lake)
Since opening in 1949, "Lenny's" The Breakers Cantonese and American restaurant has wowed visitors near and far with a truly unique dining experience, from the lively tiki bar to the festive dining areas. Entrees are infused with international flavors to create a distinctive menu where there’s something for everyone. An extensive tropical drink list – including the famous Mai Tai – completes any dining experience. Stick around for regular live music (see web site for schedule). Get there: 7728 Rt. 14 (just north of the intersection of routes 14 and 176), 815-459-9860, www.breakerstikibar.com.
Le Petit Marché (downtown Crystal Lake)
Inside of this charming café, you will find freshly made breads and pastries, gourmet cheeses and wine. Dine in or take it to go for a picnic in the park.
Get there: 19 N. Williams St., 815-477-3296, www.petitmarche.biz.
McHenry Country Club (McHenry)
Combined with a unique location on the Fox River, McHenry Country Club offers members and guests a variety of choices from casual dining to a gourmet experience. Private banquets for up to 250 guests are also available.
Get there: 820 N. John St. 815-385-1072, www.mchenrycc.net.
Niko's Grill & Pub (Huntley)
Niko's prides itself on serving fresh USDA Black Angus steaks, seafood, pasta, sandwiches, daily specials and more. Enjoy lunch or dinner in our spacious dining area or unwind in its cozy lounge.
Get there: 11900 Rt. 47, 847-669-6644, www.nikosgrillandpub.com.
Old West Steakhouse at Donley's Wild West Town (Union)
Ready for a steak fit for even the most discerning cowboy? Executive Chef John Hennessy – an accomplished master chef with 30-plus years of award-winning experience – is now heading up the Old West Steakhouse. Take in the old west atmosphere while you dine – the restaurant features artifacts from across the United States.
Get there: 8512 S. Union Rd., 815-923-8000, www.wildwesttown.com.
* Pablo's Restaurant and Cantina (Crystal Lake)
A visit to Puerto Vallarta inspired owner Paul Morin to design the restaurant's interior to resemble a seaside Mexican restaurant. Pair a sizzling fajita with an ice-cold margarita for the ultimate Pablo’s experience.
Get there: 230 Virginia Rd., 815-455-7398.
Pirro’s Restaurante (Woodstock)
A creative spin on family recipes and the traditions of Italian cooking are trademarks of Pirro’s. The menu runs the gamut from traditional pastas, steaks and seafood dishes to salads and sandwiches. Catering and banquets are also available.
Get there: 228 Main St., 815-337-9100, www.pirrosrestaurante.com.
* Warsaw Inn: Polish-American Buffet (McHenry)
This traditional smorgasbord is renowned for authentic Polish staples like pierogies, roast duck and potato dumplings, as well as Saturday and Sunday brunch.
Get there: 217 N. Front St., 815-344-0330, www.warsawinn.com.
The Public House Restaurants
The Public House Restaurants are highly regarded for outstanding menu selections featuring the best quality and freshest ingredients available. Coupled with great service, these sister restaurants have become dining destinations for locals and out-of-towners alike. Williams Street Public House (83 N. Williams St., 815-479-1010) is an English-style pub in the heart of downtown Crystal Lake – perfectly located for a before- or after-dinner stroll. Nestled below the bustle of Main Street on the Woodstock Square, * Woodstock Public House (201 Main St., 815-337-6060) is a spot where diners come to feel at home. Williams Bay Public House (2 W. Geneva St. in Williams Bay, Wis., 262-245-5100) is the latest addition to the Public House family featuring a picturesque view of the bay.
Visit http://wphdine.com for more information.
Sweet Escapes: Indulge in these local sweet spots after a meal – or any time!
• KaleidoScoops Ice Cream & More: 53 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake, 815-788-0027, www.kaleidoscoops.com
Try the Banana Royale. This spin on the banana split is fit for a king … and his royal family.
• Kiera Confections: 2620 Schaid Ct., McHenry, 815-385-4372, www.kieraconfections.com
Try Chocoholicks, chocolate lollipops that come in all shapes, colors and flavors.
• Sugar Hills Bakery: 644 S. Main St., Algonquin, 847-658-8765, www.sugarhillsbakery.net
Try an éclair made with light pastry dough filled with velvety cream and topped with chocolate icing.
• SweetPea Cakes: 40 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake, 815-477-2253, www.sweetpeacakestudio.com
Try a piña colada cupcake, one of its flavors of the month for August. You’ll be swept away to a tropical isle!
• Swiss Maid Bakery: 122 N. Benton St., Woodstock, 815-338-0414; 104 E. Brainard St., Harvard, 815-943-7282, www.swissmaidbakery.net
Try a cookie with your favorite sports team logo in icing!
• Tarts & Truffles: 124 Cass St., Woodstock, 815-338-8278, www.tartsandtruffles.net
Try a tempting pastry tray or cake for your next party.