for Food + Drink
One of the many benefits of living in or near the Tri-Cities and Fox Valley region is the absolute wealth of eateries and bars we have available to us. Our area is full of locally-owned, unique, and totally delectable places to check out. In fact, it can feel a little overwhelming choosing your next food or drink destination in a sea of fantastic options. Sometimes, you just want to find a vibe… a place to kick back and relax after a long day… a place that charms you and lifts the spirits… a trendy and eccentric locale you’re excited to meet friends at, or to enjoy an intimate date night out.
Look no further. We’ve got you covered with this list of restaurants and bars that are sure to pass the vibe check!
The chefs at Niche select foods and cooking styles from around the world, utilizing locally grown produce, artisan cheeses & meats, along with fresh daily seafood. The menu constantly evolves taking into account the change of seasons and weather and their effects on the palate and the bar boasts an impressive selection in a rustic, yet refined atmosphere.
ROX CITY GRILL
Nestled inside the historic Hotel Baker, ROX City Grill is chic, sleek, and elegant – a sophisticated dining destination featuring an urban ambience. Be sure to take in the adjoining lounge featuring a wine and martini bar with live entertainment Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
Obscurity Brewing is known for its craft beers, brewery collabs, and award-winning smoked meats and southern-inspired menu, but their beer garden is a VIBE in warmer months. FUN SECRET: Anytime a train rolls by the beer garden, run to the outdoor bar and grab JELLO shots; they are ONLY offered while the train is traveling through!
Hardware is a sustainable gastropub that strives to keep their carbon footprint at a minimum by growing their own produce and using reclaimed building materials to create unique, eye-catching elements. Hardware’s impressive selection of over 450 whiskeys includes custom Hardware blends, rare finds, and distillers’ private selections.
Preservation is a destination for creative fare, artisan cheese/meats, eclectic cocktails and a first-class wine list — all enjoyed in a laid back scene with outdoor dining, live music and a hip mix of diners and sippers. The gorgeously illuminated patio is well-heated making it accessible in cooler weather, too.
Shakou offers a contemporary flare perfect for a formal dinner or simply enjoying casual drinks and appetizers. The menu features fresh and eclectic choices, with oversized sofas to lounge in while a DJ spins tunes most Thursday - Saturday nights.
THE GRACEFUL ORDINARY
This waterfront restaurant is the newest option for chef-driven, city-quality dining in downtown St. Charles. Chef Curren utilizes his extensive culinary expertise and classic fine-dining techniques to present a menu of elevated, yet approachable rustic tavern fare focused around the restaurant’s wood-burning hearth in a high-design space, reminiscent of Chicago’s hottest dining destinations.
STOLP ISLAND SOCIAL
Stolp Island Social is a seasonal kitchen and steakhouse, located in historic downtown Aurora, situated along the Fox River and next to Paramount Theatre, offering pre- and post show lunch, brunch and dinner. A cozy space that aims to transport guests to another time and place, Stolp Island Social is welcoming to all with perfectly balanced cocktails and an approachable menu that caters to all eating styles.