The 10 Best Restaurants In Waukegan, Ilinois

Samuel Spencer

Although overshadowed by its neighbor Chicago, the smaller Waukegan has enough of its own dining scene to offer a more relaxed, family oriented alternative to the Windy City. With its lake front in the process of being redeveloped, the city is quickly becoming an up-and-coming location, with new restaurants opening alongside decades old family run favorites. Discover all the city has to offer with our guide to Waukegan’s best restaurants.

Waukegan Harbor

Terrace at SiVer Place

Restaurant, American

The Harbors Edge, Waukegan
Courtesy of Siver Place
The city’s first outdoor restaurant, the Terrace at SiVer Place is currently preparing itself for its second season of fun in the Illinois sun. Serving modern American cuisine, the place became well known in its area last year for its lively atmosphere and party vibe, aided by its season of live bands and karaoke nights. With all that happened last year, who knows what these guys have planned for 2015.


Restaurant, Italian

A tradition and mainstay of the Waukegan dining scene, Louie’s has been running for decades, providing the residents of the area with homestyle Italian cooking as well as their signature recipe fried chicken. Customers come expecting comforting food and ample drinks, and very rarely leave disappointed. There is a reason that Louie’s has lasted when so many other Waukegan Italian joints have failed throughout the years, and it is its unique combination of great food, great atmosphere, and a fantastic neighborhood vibe.



CYOC stands for ‘Create Your Own Cheesecake and Cheesesteak,’ and from this it is obvious what their two specialities are. However, what sets CYOC apart from other cheesecake restaurants is the way they serve their cake. Unconventionally, they serve it by the scoop, allowing you to mix and match and add multiple toppings and candies. This makes CYOC a perfect visit for families, with kids loving this pick and mix approach to dessert. And that is without even mentioning their delicious cheesesteaks, some of the best outside of Philadelphia.

CYOC, 2114 North Green Bay Road, Waukegan, IL, USA, +1 847 406 2962


Bar, Restaurant, American

Serving a varied menu of classics, Anastasia’s Sports Bar offers a great selection of local and craft beers, both bottled and on draft, all of which make it a great place to casually hangout with friends. Also, with its proximity to the Courtyard Marriott, it makes a perfect first stop to ease yourself into the Waukegan dining scene, with the restaurant offering speedy service and tasty food that will turn you into a Waukegan native before you know it.

Emily’s Pancake House

Emily’s Pancake House

Open until 3pm every day for breakfast or lunch, Emily’s is a popular destination for those looking to satisfy their breakfast food cravings. As the name suggests, pancakes are their speciality, with their apple pancakes a particular treat, call ahead to avoid waiting for the 30 minutes they take to prepare. However, they also offer versions of all your other favorite breakfast and lunch staples on their extensive menu, and in portions guaranteed to keep you full until a late dinner, or more likely until you see the Emily’s lunch menu.

Emily’s Pancake House, 488 North Green Bay Road, Waukegan, IL, USA, +1 847 336 7700

Signature Desserts at Papa Marco’s | © Deb Nystrom/FlickrSignature Desserts at Papa Marco’s | © Deb Nystrom/Flickr

Papa Marco’s

Papa Marco’s

Although inauspicious and indistinguishable from a thousand other Mediterranean restaurants at first sight, Papa Marco’s Grill and Kabob offers authentic Middle Eastern food that has earned it the number one spot in the hearts of locals. The menu also features a selection of Italian and American dishes, but it is its Mediterranean dishes that are its most popular. All of their dishes, however, are served with the same amount of care from the extremely friendly family staff.

Papa Marco’s, 622 Grand Avenue, Waukegan, IL, USA, +1 224 656 5809

Leno's Sandwich Shop

Leno’s Sandwich Shop

A small sandwich shop that is a perfect antidote to the myriad of sandwich and sub chain stores that swamp the state. Many have memories of visiting Leno’s in their childhood and teen years, with the shop serving sandwiches since the 1970s. Rest assured those who have not visited since then, with its recent refit it has only gotten better. It can still offer you those winning flavors that you can remember from the past, but with the modern additions that are in demand now.

Leno’s Sandwich Shop, 1826 Grand Avenue, Waukegan, IL, USA, +1 847 244 7320

Early morning Waukegan | © CheepShot/FlickrEarly morning Waukegan | © CheepShot/Flickr

Mike’s Pizza House

Mike’s Pizza House

Chicago pizza has the international reputation for quality, but Waukegan’s best pizza places can more than live up to this. One such place that can deliver is Mike’s, one of Waukegan’s prime pizza joints. With this quality comes popularity, so book your pizza in advance if you can. Do this, however, and you will be rewarded with some of the tastiest homemade pizza you will ever experience.

Mike’s Pizza House, 322 South Elmwood Avenue, Waukegan, IL, USA, +1 847 623 9533

Paragon Restaurant

Restaurant, American

Founded by chef-owners Gus and Youla Roiniotis in 1973, Paragon Restaurant is still going strong over four decades later in the capable hands of the couple’s five children. With this family business comes family friendliness, with the restaurant serving delicious home cooking from scratch every day to its legion of fans. The motto of the restaurant, written large on its back wall, is that ‘Homemade food still exists’, and a visit to Paragon will more than prove that it is not only existing but thriving.


Restaurant, Italian

Potesta’s is another second generation family run restaurant that has been open since the mid-1970s, starting in its first location in Zion and later expanding to Waukegan. The eponymous Potesta family now run both branches, each of which serves Italian fare, livened up by their family recipes and the generations of know-how. Offering carry-out, a la carte or buffet dining, Potesta’s has an option to suit whatever dining experience you want to have, with all three benefiting from the unique Potesta touch that has kept the restaurants running for 40 years.
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