Category archive for ‘Dining out with the Geezers’ rss

  • The Barber of Seville Crystal Lake

    Kudos to the Giangrande family for coming up with one of the most creative names for an Italian restaurant. We are referring to the da Baffone Cucina Italiana in Crystal Lake. This translates to “The Big Mustache” Italian Kitchen. After some serious schmoozing of our waiter, we discovered that in 1956 this location was a barber shop, hence the name.

  • 99 bottles of beer on the wall…

    In a recent restaurant survey, Duke’s Alehouse and Kitchen in Crystal Lake was one of the top favorites, so my wife Judy and I invited friends Mike and Darby McGuigan to join us on a Sunday night to find out if the restaurant lived up to its reputation and high marks.

  • A little dining gem in the country

    Travel just about 20 minutes from Sun City and you will find a pearl of a restaurant called Art & Alma’s Century Inn. I planned to visit this establishment for some time and finally worked it into my schedule. Fellow musician Bill Brindell and his wife Loretta have been after us to join them for a meal at the Century Inn for some time.

  • Do-it-yourself dining at Jiang’s Mongolian Grill!

    After returning from several months in Florida, it was time to catch up with three of my grandkids. I invited our 14-year-old twin grandsons, Jack and Nick, along with their sister, Sophia, age 9 (going on 20), out for a special treat: dinner at one of the recently opened restaurants in Algonquin Commons called Jiang’s Mongolian Grill.

  • Hampshire’s Rose Garden offers prime service, average food at great value

    Here’s another restaurant that was recommended by a reader. Recently, we drove to nearby Hampshire for a lunch in a typical small town diner. It’s the place the “locals” come for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

  • Niko’s Lodge delicious from appetizers to dessert

    A Sun Day holiday party afforded me the opportunity to review the relatively new Niko’s Lodge in the Algonquin Commons. Twenty fellow columnists and personnel of the Sun Day Newspaper met in a private area of the restaurant to celebrate and enjoy a meal together.

  • Sponsor’s offers tasty food but prices are hit-and-miss

    One of the reasons I love writing this column is that so many of you write me with your restaurant suggestions. Last month, one of my friends called to tell about the opening of a new restaurant in town.

  • Restaurant survey results and readers’ comments Part II

    Favorite Pizza Restaurants – 20 nominations – Top 10

  • Restaurant servey results and reader comments, Part I

    Note: First, thanks to all the residents that responded to our survey. I must admit that I was amazed and surprised to read some of the responses for a variety of reasons, especially by the large number of restaurants mentioned.

  • The little house with the big sandwiches

    Our editorial manager, Mason Souza, has been telling me about a place in Algonquin that he says makes the best subs around. I’ve always been a big fan of Bubs Subs, so I said we need to have a run off to see which shop comes out on top. So, it’s Bubs Subs vs. The Algonquin Sub Shop, affectionately known as A.S.S.

  • Two Tails serves a bounty of fish seasoned in any number of ways

    Two Tails Eatery is a pretty unique dining spot, as it is also a market that sells meats and seafood on a retail basis. My wife Judy and daughter Sharon joined me for dinner at this unpretentious establishment that offers lots of choices in entrees, sandwiches, soups, appetizers, salads, and a kid’s menu.

  • An old-fashioned supper club, spiced up Italian-style

    Back in my youth, Chicago was known for its great supper clubs. Places like the Edgewater Beach Hotel and the London House were destinations for senior proms. These were restaurants that offered entertainment as a package deal, usually with a cover charge depending upon the quality and cost of the performers.

  • Reap your senior discount rewards at these local spots

    One thing is for certain about seniors: we love deals, especially meal deals! If you are a Seinfeld fan, you probably remember the episode when Jerry visits his parents in Florida and they go out for dinner. They arrive just as some of his parents’ friends are leaving the restaurant. The friends immediately question why they arrived after the early bird specials. What typifies the senior crowd more than catching the early bird bargains? Seniors love deals whatever the time of day!

  • Gone fishing at a homely Wisconsin grill

    On a recent fall Sunday evening, neighbors Bob and Roberta Langham invited Judy and me to join them for dinner at Fitzgerald’s Restaurant & Gift Shop in Genoa City, WI. They had high praises for their fish broil set in a unique octagon-shaped home. Mike and Emma Burns also joined us for the 45-minute trip to the historic restaurant.

  • European-trained chef brings authentic taste to Mariano’s

    This week, Judy and I were joined by neighbors Stan and Esther for a classic Italian meal at La Trattoria Mariano, a new restaurant in Algonquin Commons that was previously in Lake in the Hills. This new location should be a boon to their business, as it is much more visible and closer to both Del Webb locations in Huntley and Elgin.

  • Another trip to the Islands, Greek, that is!

    Whenever Judy and I are going to be in downtown Chicago, we try to work in dinner in Greek Town. Previously, the only restaurant we patronized was The Parthenon, but this time we decided to give another restaurant a try. We had heard good reports on Greek Islands, which is just a block north of the Parthenon. So here is a review by comparison of the two establishments.

  • A trip to the islands is as close as Schaumburg

    During a recent weekend, our family met at Bahama Breeze to celebrate a birthday. Kristin, my daughter-in-law, chose this island-themed grill as the site for her celebration. It was a new venture for most of our family, so we didn’t have any expectations or pre-conceived notions about this place. At the entrance, island music and décor set an appealing, feel-good atmosphere.

  • Plenty of food, but Bigo’s leaves some to be desired

    It came to my attention that there is, of all things, a Polish restaurant in Marengo! My curiosity piqued, I called Dave and Marlene Mahlke, who agreed to join us for dinner at Bigo’s Polish Buffet. They agreed to help us evaluate this establishment. The restaurant is located on Route 20 on the western edge of town. It’s about a 25-minute ride from Huntley.

  • Lunch with a beautiful view

    Recently, I joined 15 of my neighbors and attended the N.33 Men’s Luncheon held at the Blackstone Golf Club in Marengo. The restaurant is located on Rt. 20 before entering Marengo. It’s about a 20-minute ride from Sun City.

  • Village Vitner uncorks great wine, beer, and food

    This week, I’m writing about a unique Algonquin eatery called The Village Vintner. This recently re-opened business is now a restaurant with a winery and brewery on the premises. It’s only one of two in the state to be licensed as such.

  • Rainbow Restaurant is a welcome breakfast addition

    This week, I’m writing about a new Algonquin eatery called Rainbow Restaurant & Pancake House. The restaurant is located in Algonquin on Rt. 31 about a mile south of Algonquin Rd.

  • What’s for lunch? Part 3: Bubs Subs — Plus Bonus

    This week I’m pleased to tell you about a sub shop that knocked the socks off my lunch guests and me. Bubs Subs is located in Algonquin, in front of Home Depot on Randall Road, just south of Algonquin Road.

  • What’s for lunch?

    This week, it’s all about lunch. I will focus on a few of the options in the area, some new, and some old standbys. Rather than rate them, I will limit my comments to the menus. Let’s start with one of the best and a no-brainer.

  • A great dining experience you can ‘bank’ on

    This week, Judy and I chose one of the mainstay eateries of downtown Elgin, Al’s Cafe. We walked into Al’s not knowing what to expect. The restaurant is on Dupage Court, which has been turned into a pedestrian-only block. The 2-story building and its small entrance really provide no clues as to what was in store for us. This was a Saturday night about 6 p.m., so we were surprised to be able to walk in and get seated immediately.

  • Food so good, you’ll think it was just a dream

    This week, we enjoyed a family gathering at our favorite Chinese restaurant, Yu’s Mandarin in Schaumburg. We have been coming to Yu’s for a number of years since it opened in 1982, and it has consistently remained a favorite of ours and many other diners in the northwest suburbs. On the weekends, you have to expect to wait to be seated because of the popularity of this establishment.

  • A restaurant that lives up to the name of Alexander the Great

    This week, Judy and I were joined by Canary Lane neighbors Jerry and Joan, Steve and Diane, along with Ron and Diana, who live on Oakwood. We headed out to Alexander’s Restaurant in Elgin, just north of the I-90 on Rt. 31.

  • A “special” dinner at Francesca’s Campagna

    Recently, my wife Judy and I celebrated our 51st anniversary dining out with a few friends from the days when we were just teens. Joining us were Larry and Joy, married 54 years, Jim and Judy K., married 50 years, and Bob and Judy S., both widowed and now engaged to be married. This made the occasion even more special.

  • A “fresh” look at Biaggi’s

    Recently, I had the pleasure of enjoying a gourmet meal served “family style” at Biaggi’s Restaurant in Algonquin. The Sun Day owners hosted the evening for regular contributors to the newspaper. Previously, I had dined at Biaggi’s, but never in this style. Eighteen of us were served at one long table. Along with our beverages, homemade focaccia bread with olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese was placed on the table.

  • Table talk at Kobe

    Recently, 19 women from Neighborhood 33 joined together for lunch at Kobe’s Japanese Steak House. I asked them to participate in a short review of their outing. Each person was given a form to complete at the conclusion of their visit.

  • ser•en•dip•i•ty / ˈserənˈdipitē/

    Recently, my wife and I, along with Grainery Lane neighbors and friends, Chuck and Jan, headed out for a restaurant in Marengo called Dino’s. When we arrived, it was closed. We also discovered that they only serve breakfast and lunch. What do we do now? Driving through Marengo, we noticed Café 20.