Introducing 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 to be answered. With so many towns and so many establishments, there are a lot of choices. 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 to make your dining decisions just a little bit easier. 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.
Today we discover Independent Restaurants in Vernon Hills.
Independent Restaurants in Vernon Hills
You’ve heard of a summer reading list. But what about a local summer eating list? It’s summer and the living, well, should be easy. With nice weather and more time to spend outdoors, it’s convenient and enjoyable to let someone else take over in the kitchen. Or you may want to treat your family or visiting friends to a relaxing meal out on a hot summer day.
280 Hawthorn Village Commons, Vernon Hills | (847) 680-8900
A mainstay in Vernon Hills for over twenty years, Bo-Bo’s Gyros offers a large selection of food and a nostalgic 1950’s ‘Blast from the Past’ ambiance. With a huge counter service menu and 34 flavors (yes, 34) of Homer’s hand-scooped ice cream, there is something everyone will enjoy plus dessert. Bo-Bo’s has a menu of delicious options ranging from gyros to burgers to salads and dinner platters. A children’s menu is available.
Calzone & Macaroni Company
260 Hawthorn Village Commons, Vernon Hills | (847) 996-0205
Just how many ways can you enjoy macaroni and cheese? No less than thirteen ways here. And if macaroni and cheese isn’t your personal favorite, you can build your own calzone, try out a flatbread, wrap, salad or sandwich. Start your Saturday or Sunday morning at the waffle bar that showcases specialty waffles and toppings. The menu also includes gluten-free macaroni and dough items. A children’s menu is available.
Maciano’s Pizza and Pastaria
271 W. Townline Rd, 60061, Vernon Hills | (847) 362-2424
While this is technically a franchise restaurant, locations are specific to Illinois, and it’s a great place to dine as a family. The pizza appeals both to children and adults, and there are many other menu options such as calzones, pasta, chicken, and sandwiches to delight everyone in your dining party. Gluten-free crust is available on some pizzas. A children’s menu is available.
Nirvana Wine and Grillerie
701 N. Milwaukee Ave., Vernon Hills | (847) 918-7828
This restaurant may be best left to the adults, or better recommended for date night, but it’s not to be missed on the local flavor list. Children with a more adventurous palate may find dishes to enjoy here, especially for lunch, but the dinner atmosphere is suited more for adults. This local eatery and wine bar features fresh, homemade dishes and over 100 wines to choose from. More than 20 items on the menu are gluten-free. Cheese flights, gourmet flatbreads, international appetizers, and a selection of seafood, meat, vegetarian, and pasta dishes round out the menu here. Patio seating is available. Reservations are strongly recommended for dinner. Nirvana was featured in our most romantic restaurant list too, so make it a date night!
Sushi Kushi San 3
281 W. Townline Road, Vernon Hills | (847) 362-3330
Sushi Kushi San 3 is part of a local, Lake County group of restaurants featuring sushi and other Japanese cuisines. The Kushi in the name refers to shish kebabs–there are over 20 varieties on the menu. Other dishes include te-maki (hand rolls), bento boxes, tempura, noodle dishes, and a huge selection of appetizers and entrees. A children’s menu is available.
Sushi Thai II
445 E. Townline Rd, Vernon Hills IL | (847) 968-2222
Sushi Thai II specializes in fusion Japanese and Thai cuisine. House specialties, sushi, seafood, curries, and noodle dishes all dance with flavor here. Diners will find an extraordinary selection of special rolls on the menu including sushi, vegetarian and cooked options. This is a great place to introduce your family to the concepts of sushi and rolls, as well as explore more exotic dishes such as pad thai.
Tsukasa of Tokyo
561 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Vernon Hills | (847) 816-8770
Tsukasa of Tokyo is an upscale, Japanese restaurant that offers hibachi grill tableside dining and regular dining room seating. The tableside hibachi dining seats offer a front-row view as the table ignites and heats up, knives and spatulas twirl and a chef expertly prepares your food. Families should take into consideration the sensory nature of the tableside hibachi seats—the experience might not be enjoyable for all young children. The menu includes sushi, seafood, chicken, and steak. A children’s menu is available. Reservations are recommended, especially for the tableside hibachi seating area.
Is your favorite, locally-owned restaurant in Vernon Hills restaurant featured on our list? If not—please tell us about it in the comments below.
Jennifer traveled to two continents as a nonprofit administrator and later helped run a small village in Lake County. But the real adventures began when she and her husband put down roots in Libertyville and started a family. Mom to a teenage boy and a tween girl, Jennifer spends her time changing radio stations in her minivan while driving to band concerts, learning new texting lingo, and keeping track of the latest trends in electronics and hairstyles.
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