Sometimes I need a break from the kitchen, but when it comes time to decide where to eat, the battles begin. Between myself and my husband, and then add four kids to mix, everyone has an opinion, and pleasing all six of us is impossible. But not anymore! The Claim Company has opened a new location at Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills, and it serves delicious food in a fun atmosphere that’s perfect for the whole family. From juicy burgers, to fresh salads, as well as the some of the best chicken fingers I’ve ever tasted, everyone in my family cheers for a trip to The Claim Company Vernon Hills.
The Claim Company has a long history in Chicagoland, with its first restaurant opened in the early 1970’s on Clark Street. The restaurant opened two more locations, in Northbrook , and then in Oak Brook. With its do-it-yourself salad bar and gourmet burgers, the restaurant was a huge success through the 80’s and 90’s. In the late 90’s, all locations closed, and it seemed like the end of the road for the very popular restaurants. But in 2009, the restaurant was resurrected at a new location within Northbrook Court, bringing back popular favorites such as the Motherlode Burger and the huge salad bar. Building on the success of a Northbrook Court location, a second Claim Company location opened in April 2016 at Hawthorn Mall.
I’ve taken the whole family twice to the Claim Company. It’s location at the mall, upstairs by Macy’s, is convenient. They have an entrance directly from the parking lot, or from inside the mall as well. It’s just a short walk through the mall to the huge AMC movie theater that opened in 2015, allowing it to be a perfect dinner and a movie location. The restaurant décor is a modern take on rustic meets sports bar, with exposed brick, large beautiful barn doors and plenty of televisions showing the games of the day. The bar, as well as the salad bar, is at the center of the restaurant.
The extensive menu is casual American food, with many options to customize your order to exactly what you want. Ordering the famous Motherlode Burger is a five step process. You start by selecting your burger (beef, chicken, turkey, ahi tuna, veggie or portobello mushroom), then choose bread, cheese, toppings and sauce. All burgers are served with their addictive cottage chips, but different sides can also be substituted. On our last trip, both my husband and mother ordered a motherlode burger (beef). But they were completely different with toppings and even bread. My mom tried the “black bread” which seemed really adventurous to me, but she said it was delicious and similar to a pumpernickel. I sampled my husband’s bacon cheeseburger, and can attest that it was as juicy and delicious as the name “Motherlode” makes it sound.
The salad bar at the Vernon Hills location is a twist on the traditional salad bar. If you choose to order the salad bar, you still get your plate and head up to the bar. But, now it’s all served for you at your direction. It’s clean and easy, you tell the server what you’d like and they pile it on the plate for you. There are two size bowls, either small or large, and there are no return trips to the salad bar. Also, if you would like to add a protein option to your salad, make sure to tell your server. My niece ordered the salad bar, and wanted grilled chicken, but didn’t realize that protein must be ordered before you go up. We told our server and she quickly added it our order, and it was easily remedied.
If you are like me, and sometimes overwhelmed with too many options, there are many great menu items without all the choices. On my first visit, I ordered the sesame ahi tuna salad. The Asian vinaigrette dressing was light and delicious, the ahi tuna was bright pink and fresh tasting, and the sweet peppers and lettuce had a great crunch. I was so happy as soon as I saw the beautiful salad served up, and it tasted even better than it looked.
On my second trip to the Claim Company, I decided to go for a burger, but wanted a lighter option, so I tried a “Claim Signature Burger” called the “Fungus Amongst Us” which is a portobello mushroom burger on ciabatta roll with fried onions on top, and a spicy Dijon aioli. The burger was delicious, filling and a real treat. I especially loved the flavor of the spicy Dijon aioli; it added just the right amount of tangy sauce to jazz up the mushroom. I didn’t even miss the meat.
My kids ordered off the kids menu, which has the basics you would expect on a kids menu. One reason I try to order lighter items when I’m out to eat is that I know I will likely snack off the kids plates too, I just can’t help myself. They ordered grilled cheese, mac n’ cheese, and chicken tenders. There wasn’t much left on their plates, but I did get to try a few bites of the chicken tenders, and they were much better than average children’s fare.
The Claim Company in Vernon Hills is open for lunch and dinner every day of the week. In addition to the main dining room, there is an outdoor seating patio, and also a private room available for parties up to 100 people. Reservations are recommended, especially for prime times and weekends. When I was there, the place was packed. The Claim Company in Vernon Hills is the perfect place for lunch or dinner with your family, a night out to watch the big game, ladies lunch to enjoy the extensive salad bar or just to grab a light bite to eat before or after a movie on the big screen.
The Claim Company Vernon Hills
506 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills | (847) 247-1973
(Located at upper level of Hawthorn Mall, between Macy’s and JCPenney)
Have you tried the “Motherlode” burger at The Claim Company? Tell us about your favorite ingredient combination.