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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

There may be a recession going on...

but people still have to eat.

Noticed how many restaurants have gone out of business around town? It's a saddening and worrisome thing to see. With sky high unemployment rates, fizzling retirement accounts, even foreclosures, it's not surprising people are choosing to eat at home and budgeting very carefully for a splurge like dining out. Yet many of us are torn, because we know the economy needs a spending boost. In the area surrounding the Library, we've lost a cozy lunch spot and the locally owned coffee/snack shop. Move out a few miles and you see plenty of deserted storefronts, and the recent closing of longtime Des Plaines eatery the Black Ram shocked us all (the photo above is from the interior of the Black Ram, in happier times). But new restaurants continue to open, like the reinvigorated Sugar Bowl and breakfast/brunch spot Katie's Kitchen.

So, what restaurants in Des Plaines deserve your hard-earned pay? Whose meals are the best bargain in town (good quality at a low price)? Where's the best place for a fancy splurge, perhaps to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, graduation or other event? Is there a particular type of restaurant you'd like to see move into one of the now empty spaces? Leave your comments here and feel free to be detailed: what's the best thing on the menu? when is the line too long to wait? Let's do what we can to support all of our local businesses. If you live in the area but don't know where to dine, check out the city's "Great Eats & More" Web site.


  1. My picks:

    -Paradise Pup
    -The Choo Choo
    -Mr. Pup
    -Don's Dock
    -L&L Snack Shop

    -Dung Gia Vietnamese
    -Ann's Chung Hua
    -Wonton Gourmet on Elmhurst

    -Las Asadas
    -Rinconcito Hispano Pupusas on Oakton
    -El Gallo de Oro at Lee and Algonquin
    -Closed, but I have to say: the short-lived Habanero Mexican Grill next to the Theatre was maybe the best burrito I ever had


    -Tiki Terrace
    -Euro Grill
    -Mehanata the Old Well at Lee and Algonquin (Bulgarian)
    -Kuhn's Deli

  2. Paradise Pup on River Road near Oakton is a favorite. Be prepared to wait in line, but it's worth the wait. Also, seating is basically outside at picnic tables or carry-out, and it is cash only. Excellent burgers, polish sausage, hot dogs, tamales, shakes. Good prices too.

  3. I am delighted with the new Sugar Bowl. I had an awesome Monte Cristo sandwich and the waitress was delightful. So happy to have a breakfast/lunch place in walking distance of the library!

  4. The newly re-opened Sugar Bowl is very good. Remodeled with a breakfast and lunch menu, it is open until 4 PM. I tried an omelet and toast and they served great homemade orange marmalade with it. I hope people give it a try and that it stays open. We need a good breakfast place in town.


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