Indie Eats! An insider’s guide to the best in local, independent dining.
Where to go and what to eat in Lake County is the question everyone wants answered. With so many towns and so many establishments, there are a lot of choices. To make your dining decisions just a little bit easier, Little Lake County has compiled a ‘sampler platter’ of independently owned, family-friendly restaurants in select Lake County towns as suggestions for your own family dining experience. We might even toss in a suggestion for a date night, too. And feel free to recommend additions to our lists–we love reader suggestions.
Being on the lookout for locally owned restaurants in and around Lake county helps us find new places to try but helps us remember good ol’ favorites at the same time. Highland Park has a beautiful downtown with great places to eat and wonderful shopping.
Where to Eat in Highland Park
Once Upon a Bagel
1888 1st St, Highland Park | (847) 433-1411
I discovered Once Upon a Bagel earlier this year when we ran a 5k in Highland Park. After the course took us all the way to the lake – down a steep hill and then right back up – we ended near the train station and walked over to Once Upon a Bagel to celebrate with some food. I was surprised to find out this little place has so much more than bagels! The bagels are amazing, but you can order omelettes, pancakes, and hash browns it features lunch and dinner, too. Don’t let the outside fool you; there’s a great space for families to sit, and the ambience is relaxed and friendly.
446 Central Ave, Highland Park | (847) 432-7500
I’ll never forget the first time I ate at Country Kitchen. My dad took me for breakfast one time when I was in high school, and I ordered banana pancakes that were simple but brilliant. This is exactly what the name suggests: great home-cooking that won’t let you down. Country Kitchen serves breakfast and lunch.
Tamales: A Mexican Joint
1480 Waukegan Road, Deerfield | (847) 680-8900
Everyone knows Tamales, right?! It’s the happening place in Highland Park. You have the option to sit indoors or outdoors and enjoy the unique Mexican dishes but especially the tamales that come with your choice of shrimp, pumpkin, chicken or mushroom. Don’t forget to taste the mouth-watering sauces.
The Simple Greek is the newest restaurant we’re highlighting here. It’s a Chipotle-style Greek restaurant. They have a complete Greek yogurt bar with all the toppings you stomach could desire. Or you can customize your own pita or salad bowl with the freshest ingredients. The Simple Greek pride itself on being “fast casual,” but I would add fresh and energizing to describe the atmosphere as well.
Any Highland Park food list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Michael’s. This isn’t just your ordinary hot-dog place. Michael’s prides itself on its 46-ingredient salad bar and its Chicago-style red hots. Personally, I love the fries and all the pictures on the wall.
Did we miss your favorite? Tell us in the comments!