It would be a crime to come to Chicagoland (as the city along with its surrounding suburbs are affectionately called) and leave without trying the notorious Chicago Pizza Authority in Elgin. The key to loving this unique rendition of pizza is thinking of it as an entirely different dish from the pizza you know and love, because it is. Chicago pizza is deep dish pizza, typically at least an inch thick and sometimes even thicker. If you’re feeling even bolder and you’re willing to wait a little longer, try the stuffed pizza, which has even more cheese and toppings stuffed between two layers of dough, with the sauce and more cheese on top. The best thing about this pizza is that you can never finish a whole pie in one meal, so you’ll have deep dish leftovers for days.
Chicago Pizza Authority in Elgin, Summit St, Elgin, IL, USA, +1 847 742 8802
Elgin BBQ Pit (EBP) offers a more traditional rendition of that great staple of American cuisine, but with its own unique twist. EBP embraces some Latin touches, like adding jalapeno to its slaw, or by offering several choices of sauces, like chipotle, habanero mango, or tamarind garlic. EBP has an impressive array of Southern side dishes, which include collard greens, cornbread, or mac and cheese, sitting alongside more typically northern flavors, like their buffalo chicken sandwich. If you feel like going even farther south, they even offer jerk chicken. All of the meat is brought in fresh and cooked to barbequed perfection.
Elgin BBQ Pit, 970 Dundee Ave, Elgin, IL, USA, +1 847 931 5198
Original Country Donuts may not look like much and their menu might not be too extensive, but what they do, they do to the highest standard. What could be better than a fresh, hot donut with chocolate frosting, or a glistening cinnamon bun that looks so delicious you can hardly wait until you get home before you eat it? It’s a long established fact that any occasion is more festive with donuts and while Country Donuts is a bit out of the way, they’ve been in the business for long enough that the trip is well worth it. From crullers to Boston crèmes, they’ve got something for every taste.
Original Country Donuts, 3091 U.S. Route 20, Elgin, IL, USA, +1 847 488 1900
If you are hankering after Middle Eastern or Mediterranean food on a budget, Pita Puff is an ideal option. Their menu has a broad selection of fully authentic options, like baba gannouj or hummus for appetizers, tabbouleh and several other salads, with shwarma and shish kebab plates to round out the meal. Even though all their food is as fresh as possible, they still manage to keep the prices extremely reasonable. Their unique fare is always a great choice for vegetarians or gluten intolerant diners. Just the colors you’ll see on your plate – the yellow spiced rice, the bright red grilled tomatoes, the deep green grape leaves and the shiny brown of the meat – will immediately kick-start your appetite.
Pita Puff, 512 Waverly Dr, Elgin, IL, USA, +1 847 622 7833
When you walk into Toom Toom, a warm red light reflecting off the mostly red décor immediately welcomes and invigorates you, which is just the beginning of a superb dining experience. When you open the menu, you’ll find a difficult choice before you. The pad thai, of course, is always a good choice, but they also have more exotic options such as the crab curry or basil chicken. They also offer you the freedom to create your own salmon or catfish dishes with whatever sauce you like the best. The dessert menu, often ignored at Asian restaurants, is also worth a look, as they have purple rice – a special variety of sweet rice that can be served with mango, banana pudding, or ice cream.
Toom Toom, 23 S Grove Ave, Elgin, IL, USA, +1 847 531 8755