Editor’s Note: This is a personal experience from 2014. The Shanty underwent a major renovation in 2019. Please see their website for updated information and menu.
The Shanty in Wadsworth has always been a local favorite. A restaurant has operated out of the 100-year-old building for more than 70 years. Since Dimitri Kallianis purchased The Shanty, and he has brought the restaurant’s popularity to a new level. After being featured on the Food Network series Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives in 2009, this hidden gem became a notable destination in Lake County.
The Shanty: A Delicious Destination for Families
Recently, The Shanty is enjoying a whole new round of well-deserved press upon receiving designation as a Delicious Destination by Enjoy Illinois. The state tourism board has recognized The Shanty as a “beloved” establishment with exceptional food. Both the Mayor of Wadsworth, Glenn Ryback, and President of Visit Lake County, Maureen Riedy, emphasized the positive impact that the restaurant’s success has had upon the area.
The newly released menu offers a wide range of unique dishes like Organic Goat Cheese Stuffed Wontons (this was my FAVORITE dish) and Flounder Raspberry Wellington or classics like burgers and pasta. Rest assured, dishes that made The Shanty famous, like their Whiskey Shrimp, are still offered despite the menu update. Kallianis and his staff work tirelessly to source as many ingredients locally as possible and produce much of it themselves, such as the goat cheese and olive oil. The Shanty serves goat cheese from Kallianis’ father’s farm in Bristol, eggs from Temple Farms, and seasonal produce from neighboring small farms. Every dish on the menu has a story or local connection. Even the floor-to-ceiling reclaimed barn wood is sourced from barns within 10 miles of the historic building. It’s hard to get much more “farm to table” than that!
I’m a happy mom when a kids’ menu offers REAL food reflective of what I’d feed at home. The Shanty does offer standard kids’ menu fare like dino chicken nuggets and burgers, but they also have options like hand-breaded cod and pasta dishes. I wouldn’t hesitate to bring my young kids to The Shanty, but I’d stick to lunch, early dinner times, or weeknights.
Quick tips for hitting up the local gem:
- Be adventurous! Take advantage of the unique menu and farm-to-table concept offered at The Shanty.
- Go early. Due to all of the media attention The Shanty has received since being featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives in 2009, there can be a very long wait during prime times.
- Although this is definitely a family-friendly restaurant, it would serve as a great date-night destination, too!
- The atmosphere is very casual, but I wouldn’t feel out of place dressed up either.
- Live music on Fridays and Saturdays starts at 8 p.m.
Have you eaten at The Shanty? Tell us what you think of this award-winning restaurant.
By: Holly G.
Holly keeps busy with freelance writing, as well as many volunteer ventures including PTO, dog rescue, and Lakes Region Historical Society. She is quick to pitch in for a good cause. She is an aspiring vegan, Jazzercise addict, runner, coffee junkie, and enjoys cooking.