Archive for the ‘Chicago Burbs’ Category

Fuddruckers in Highland Park

The sign at Fuddruckers claims to serve the ‘Worlds greatest hamburgers’, I am not certain how true that is, but I do quite like eating here even though it is a chain resturant. Their slogan is after all a registered trademark, I wonder if those trademark approval people get a pile of hamburgers to sample for verification purposes? In Fuddruckers own words from their website “Some people are driven to create the world’s fastest cars or the world’s tallest buildings.  Our calling is only slightly less glamorous but a whole lot tastier.  We were born to create the World’s Greatest Hamburgers®.”

Sounds like quite a mission.

Fuddruckers Menu Board

One of the things I do like about Fuddruckers is the build your own option, and I do like that you can choose some different types of meats for you hamburger.

Fuddruckers Burger Combinations Fuddruckers Exotic Options Fuddrucker combination options

Once you have selected your Fuddrucker combinations, you can then choose from a 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 lb patties and get it grilled to order. I have never tried anything larger than the 1/2 lb burger and usually find that the 1/3rd lb is plenty. I do usually get one of the exotic options as this always make me imagine that I getting something slighlty healthier or of better quality, and when I am in a chain style resturant that sometimes makes me feel slightly better about stuffing my face with one of these hamburgers. In Fuddruckers I do tend to lean towards the Buffalo or the Boar option, both are quite good and not as greasy as the basic hamburger options.

Fuddruckers Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger with onion rings

I have tried many of the combinations, I like the “Swiss Melt” which is “Sauteed mushrooms, grilled onions and Swiss cheese” and I also quite like the “The Works” which isSmokehouse bacon, American cheese and grilled mushrooms”. On this occasion though I just got the basic “Bacon Cheddar” burger which is topped with “Smokehouse bacon and cheddar cheese”. I chose to have the  Buffalo patty and to substitute onion rings for fries. They do have pretty good inion rings here, all thing considered. They have a fair range of sauces to dip them in too, I tend to favour the sweet honey mustard.

To be honest with you I am quite surprised that I managed to write this much about eating at a chain, having said that it is one of those resturants that I quite like. Although I have only eaten at this one in the Chicago suburbs, if I was elsewhere on a cross couuntry journey and stuck for somewhere more unique to eat, if I chanced upon a Fuddruckers I would probably not be too unhappy.

Fuddruckers on Urbanspoon


St Roger Abbey

If you are trapped in the Westfield Hawthorn Mall at Vernon Hills and need some salvation from the depressing nature and offerings of the Food Court, you could do no worse that taking a trip along the mall to the French Gourmet Patisserie run by the nuns of the Saint Roger Abbey.

Sisters Sign 1Sisters Sign 2

All of the cakes, sandwiches and cookies are made daily by the Sisters’s of the Abbey, and they run the shop during the day at the mall.

St Roger Abbey CakesSt Roger Abbey Cream Buns

Apart from making sandwiches, soups, pasties and ice cream, they have a most excellent Cake and Bun selection. Ranging from the rather fancy patisserie items, to those items that you just really fancy like a chocolate eclair or a cream puff.

Chocolate Cream puff

I could not resist sampling one of their Chocolate Cream Puffs, and it was a most decadent little treat. There was also the added benefit of total absolution of guilt as I was served it by a nun and all in a good cause. It must have been guilt-free (if not calorie free) as the sister appeared a little disapointed when she could not persuade me to partake of a second cake.

French Patisserie

The Saint Roger Abbey patisserie is on the upper level of the Mall at the Sear’s end and is store #628.

In their own words: “Genuine French recipes; delicious sweetened dough pastries; breads and baguettes made the traditional way”

“Delicate cakes handmade traditionally and finely decorated the French way. Each cake has been neatly made by our religious nuns with prayer and love, for a light pastry in keeping with tradition”

For more detail of the shop and the abbey view their website at;

Shop is at Westfield Hawthorn Mall, 628 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills


This is a somewhat ‘throw away’ story of going from hero to zero, a case of chalk to cheese, or rather in this case from cheese to chalk. I came from such an excellent lunch at Marion Street Cheese market all the way down to a rather inept sandwich at ‘Toasted’. To be fair I was in a shopping mall, but you cannot really get a toasted cheese sandwich wrong, can you?

I found myself standing  in front of the “Toasted” concession at Westfield Mall in Vernon Hills, and ‘slightly desperate’ or ‘hungry’ one of the two anyhow. I was feeling like I could not possibly eat at a goddam chain (today at least) and I had already fought off the women from the Chinese stall offering free samples of bourbon chicken on a cocktail stick (I did have one). I just needed something different to sustain my belief in humanity.

Toasted Grilled Cheese

On the face of it ‘Toasted’ looked different, I had never seen one before so hoped it was not a chain, I like grilled cheese, and the counter assistant was not acne ridden or a chav, so I was hopeful. I ordered or rather selected a three cheese offering of swiss, american, and cheddar, with a herby garlic cream. It had some sort of name like ‘herby three cheese’, I didn’t bother to write it down.

The ‘shall we call him the cook’ took three square slices of processed cheese out of three identical plastic wrappers, smeared some paste out of a jar on a slice of bread, and jammed a sandwich into a panini press until a light came on or went off. It would be far too technical for me to explain the finer details.

So what was the verdict on the sandwich… it gave me indigestion

but I did like the concept and the balls to try something more original in a Mall Food Court

Toasted on Urbanspoon

Tom & Eddies

It took me a while to even learn the name of this Burger joint. For about three months it was known as ‘new burger place’ and it was an infrequent stop off on our lunchtime burger circuit. This particular Tom & Eddies is in Deerfield Square, way up in the suburbs near to the Deerfield Metra station and is one of five locations in Illinois. Tom & Eddies tagline is “good taste in everything we do”

Build your own burger

There are many signature burger options that are well worth getting, but it is often nicer to just play it simple and ‘Build your own’, in this case a simple Cheeseburger, fresh handmade  patty  of 100% angus beef with (in this case) swiss cheese. This was a good choice, but on the menu my favourite so far has been the ‘3 Mushrooms and Swiss’ Apart from the Angus burger this one is topped with Grilled shitake, cremini and oyster mushrooms, with swiss cheese, red onion and truffle ailoli on a gourmet roll. Just one of the many signature options.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

If you fancy something slightly healthier then I would recommend the Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwich. It even looks healthy in the picture, that is a lot more salad than I would normally allow anywhere near my plate in a Burger Joint. Here at Tom & Eddies this sandwich is a grilled chicken breast, a larger slice of prosciutto, melted swiss cheese, those mixed greens I just mentioned, a smear of garlic alioli and dijon mustard, all on a toasted ciabatta roll. This one of my faves at Tom & Eddies.

Its a pretty good small chain burger and sandwich joint, a little bit pricey, but probably value.

This Tom & Eddies is at 740 North Waukegan Road in Deerfield

Tom & Eddie's on Urbanspoon

The Claim Company

If you like a nice cheesy Western-themed resturant, and I do, then you cannot do much better than The Claim Company out at Northbrook Court in Northbrook. It is attached to the Shopping Mall and has been one of those places that we have used for Team lunches, or just lunch time getaways over the years. After a while you tend to learn what you like off the menu, and I have to say that I have been drawn slowly into realising that my best option is the ‘Build you own burger’.

Here this called the “THE MOTHERLODE” which they describe as “Our Gourmet, Build-Your-Own-Burger!” They invite you to “Stake your claim on the best burger or un-burger on either side of the Rio Grande!” and gee you up by telling you that “You know you’ll love it because you create it yourself“. You know that much is true, I have always managed to make a good selection.

The Motherlode

In general I get the cheese burger, with a fried egg, mushroom, and or sometimes bacon. It is not a bad burger, certainly it is large enough and it will probably make you snooze all afternoon. From the different bun options (Multi-Grain, Egg Bun, Onion Roll, Pretzel Roll, Black Bavarian, or Ciabatta) I usually get either the egg bun or the pretzel roll. It is always Cheddar cheese for me, but you can get other ones (Mozzarella, Swiss, American, Goat, Bleu, or Pepper Jack). I am not going to list all the free toppings which include many salad type items like lettuce and tomato, I tend to restrict myself to one or all of the following;  Grilled Mushrooms, Sautéed Onions or Fried Onions, and Bacon. I am getting hungry now writing and I have just got in from eating this burger as well.

They encourage you ‘to be a little different’ by adding a fried egg, nothing unusual about that for me, it is almost obligatory these days.

Claim Company is not just about the Motherlode though, they do have a really good salad bar and yes I have eaten from it. Mainly since  is not just lettuce leaves, it has pasta salads and meats too.

OK so it is a bit of a trek out to Northbrook to eat here and I am not suggesting making a special trip, but if you are out this way and want a little extra ‘Cheese’ on your Cheeseburger, you could do a lot worse.

Located at 2000 Northbrook Court, close or rather adajcent to the Macy’s store end of the Shopping Mall


Check out their menu here

The Claim Company on Urbanspoon

So this week I hurt my leg and had to rely on the kindness of my fellow men or in this case women to drive me to lunch. On this day it was in the suburbs and we were talking Greek Food at Greek Feast. From the outside in the sunshine I really felt that I was on one of those package tours I used to take in my late teens and early 2o’s over to the Greek islands. We would practically live off chicken kebabs in pita, and to be honest that was a great fresh flavour that I still can recall “Souvlaki ma creas” was what we asked for, which I believed was Chicken Kebab with chips. It probably wasn’t though.


I know that it is really quite simple, but these were really quite decent pita filled sandwiches. It was large and I ate it all, not just the chicken. The salad was clean and tasty, the tzatziki sauce was really good and there was plenty to mop up all of the pita.  This place was in Northbrook, nowhere near the El but on the Metra, and it is worth mentioning as we approach the Ryder Cup golf tournament that this place is the home (well he has a house here) of the World number one golfer Luke Donald of England, and that’s number one in a sport that other countries take part in as well.

The Greek Feast is at 2784 Dundee Road, in Northbrook. They are on facebook, twitter and online at

Greek Feast on Urbanspoon


Now DC Sarnies is nowhere near Washington and it is nowhere near the Elevated railway where I ususally hunt but its worth talking about and visiting. Primarily a slightly upmarket build your own sandwich and burger establishment it is somewhere between resturant and deli come bar. It is located out in Deerfield next to the Lake Cook Road metra station on the Metra District North (MD-N) line. I work right next to this stop and get there via the Blue line to Mayfair then connect to the train.

I have been in a few of times and had most of my standard choices, just for comparison and quality control you understand.

The first time I had a shrimp po-boy which was pretty good but my colleague had the grilled cheese sandwich so I made a special effort to return so that I could sample it myself.

On this occasion I had it with a side of macaroni cheese which was almost as big as the sandwich.  The Grilled cheese was billed as “Gourmet Grilled Cheese” and since it was made with four cheeses and it tasted really good and as it was the best I had had for a while I will give it that one, titlewise, for the record the cheeses housed within its sourdough container are Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Smoked Gouda, and Boursin Cheese. It was good value for $8.95 especially since the macaroni was included as a side. I was not too fussed with the mac and cheese, it had breadcrumbs on the top, which I know is standard but I don’t like it myself and it was made with fusilli pasta and I like it with the tubular type of pasta so that the cheese can ooze into and out of each piece of pasta. Ok so I am being fussy now I guess. 

On my next visit I had to have one of my other guilty pleasures which is a burger with a fried egg on the top. I know it’s not good for you but what it takes away from you healthwise it adds on in sheer taste pleasure so any calories are automatically dispelled into the ether just like that flying pig and those unicorns in the car park. What we have here is a Chorizo Burger, a DC signature 8oz USDA Certified Angus Prime topped with slices of Spanish Chorizo, a Fried Egg, Herb Mayo, Pepper Jack Cheese, Lettuce and Tomato in a Sesame Bun for $12.95. It came with a side of fries which I hardly touched such was the size of the burger. For once the slice of pickle was put to good use as it acted like a dam holding back the tide of fries on the plate. It was a truly delicious choice, and as I sit in the family kitchen over in the UK with the pouring rain beating against the windows I sadly realise that I have six weeks until I can return to have another one. Don’t feel too sorry for me, I have many many tasty treats over here in Europe to sample and I will no doubt keep you informed, just to tease you if nothing else.

Anyhow DC Sarnies is worth popping on and off the train for. It also has a bar and a patio so should be a good spot to pause in the summer especially on a Friday afer work. Locates at 649 Lake Cook Road Deerfield.

Website: also on Facebook and Twitter

DC Sarnies on Urbanspoon