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    Post #1 - October 12th, 2006, 10:18 pm
    Post #1 - October 12th, 2006, 10:18 pm Post #1 - October 12th, 2006, 10:18 pm
    Until Vital Information highlighted McCormick’s Roadhouse in Lake Bluff, I had passed these old vestages of travel food without realizing they were there. Ignored no more, I have been seeking out roadhouses as interesting living relics to eat in and muse about the past. In the last few months, I have been dining in various roadhouses in the area, which I will begin reporting on presently.

    Mom #2, who lives in Grayslake, had advised there was a roadhouse on Route 45 serving Polish food. This surprised me because I pride myself in my observation skills, yet I had seen no roadhouse nor Polish food on this stretch north of IL-120, which I traverse quite a bit. Even actively looking for this roadhouse, I did not find it. I now understand why: the intersection C’mon Inn is located (Route 45 and Gages Lake, just south of Washington St) is quite busy and complex with no time for idle inspection of the territory.

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    If you strip away the lighted awning and faux stone exterior, this is a rambling roadhouse. The interior is circa 1920’s or 30's with terrazo floors and very plain lines. The dining area is nicely segregated from the bar by a heavy door. In another era, Gages Lake was a weekend resort area while today summer cottages are now year-round homes.

    There is a strong Polish presence on the menu and many patrons around us spoke Polish. Dinner began with made the premises mushroom soup:

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    Mom1 ordered the combination platter of potato pancakes, pierogi, sauerkraut, Polish sausage and stuffed cabbage:

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    Mom2 ordered stuffed cabbabe, she like the cabbage roll though the gravy tasted of reconstituted tomato soup:

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    I ordered the pierogi plate with a few pierogis of each variety: meat, potato & cheese, sauerkraut & mushroom, sour cherry and cheese.

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    These were better than average pierogi seasoned the way I would make a pierogi. Unlike most pierogi where I wished they added more seasoning or went too heavy on the sauerkraut at the expense of the mushroom and other pierogi pet peeves; I found almost none. The only exception was the sour cherry, which I felt needed more sugar. Fortunately this was balanced by the sweet cheese, which had the right amount of sugar.

    The menu had Hungarian goulash over potato pancake, which sounded intriguing. So were the daily specials on the roadside marquee:

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    Mom2 was especially thrilled to find quality Polish food so near her home. There is no doubt we will be back.

    C'Mon Inn
    34028 N Us Highway 45 (at the intersection of
    Grayslake, IL 60030
    (847) 223-7551

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #2 - October 13th, 2006, 6:28 am
    Post #2 - October 13th, 2006, 6:28 am Post #2 - October 13th, 2006, 6:28 am
    I'd be curious to see how many of these roadhouses (or other Chicago area venues) have the Friday Fish Fry noted on the marquee from the C'Mon Inn. As a former cheese chomper long since transplanted to Illinois, the Friday Fish Fry will always hold a very special place in my eating thoughts.
    ...Pedro
  • Post #3 - October 13th, 2006, 7:17 am
    Post #3 - October 13th, 2006, 7:17 am Post #3 - October 13th, 2006, 7:17 am
    Cathy2 wrote:Until Vital Information highlighted McCormick’s Roadhouse in Lake Bluff, I had passed these old vestages of travel food without realizing they were there. Ignored no more, I have been seeking out roadhouses as interesting living relics to eat in and muse about the past. In the last few months, I have been dining in various roadhouses in the area, which I will begin reporting on presently.



    :D :D

    Great, I look forward to more reports like this one! How many roadhouses do you think are really out there in Lake County?
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #4 - October 13th, 2006, 8:43 am
    Post #4 - October 13th, 2006, 8:43 am Post #4 - October 13th, 2006, 8:43 am
    HI,

    I'm not sure really, though I can think of 10 at least. Mom2 thought we might have been to all of them, then I pointed out a few more.

    I would suggest The Point at the intersection of Milwaukee Ave and IL-41 is a roadhouse. The Shanty (or whatever it is called now) by Wadsworth Rd and IL-41 is another. Most are at the intersections of major roads, which makes it easier to ID.

    Talking about fish fry, we went to the Irish Mill on Rt 60 in Mundelein that has a very good fish fry prep. They make their own beer batter, generous pieces of cod and around $8. Only on Wednesday and Fridays ... pictures and more details coming up soon.

    Going to roadhouses has become a semi-regular midweek outing for us.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #5 - October 13th, 2006, 8:35 pm
    Post #5 - October 13th, 2006, 8:35 pm Post #5 - October 13th, 2006, 8:35 pm
    I hope this doesn't sound too ignorant but I'm wondering about the history of the roadhouse here in the midwest. What makes a roadhouse stand out from simply a diner on the side of the road? Or is that a roadhouse? Do they all have specific characteristics? Do they all have to serve alcohol and food? I don't have a lot of exposure to them and they sound really sort of fascinating just reading about the food -- anyone got some history to lay on me?

    Shannon
  • Post #6 - October 14th, 2006, 12:01 pm
    Post #6 - October 14th, 2006, 12:01 pm Post #6 - October 14th, 2006, 12:01 pm
    we used to go to the Kelsie (?) road house when i was a kid. i vaguely remember it being a dark place with a lot of wood that had pretty good pan pizza.

    anyone know if that's still around? i'd say it's around round lake, or mudeliein...
  • Post #7 - October 26th, 2006, 10:52 pm
    Post #7 - October 26th, 2006, 10:52 pm Post #7 - October 26th, 2006, 10:52 pm
    Gilmer Road House

    At the intersection of Gilmer and Midlothian Roads (Route 63) resides the Gilmer Road House:

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    Indicative of road houses is their location at older major roads as well as an older structure often of rambling construction. Gilmer Road House when looking straight on has two different roof lines indicating an earlier and later development.

    As exciting as this road house find was, unfortunately the food served us made us a one-time visitor. Our server got us quite excited about their made-on-the-premises batter dipped mushrooms. We order them and they never appeared, we assumed he forgot.

    Mom2 ordered liver and onions, which she loves. First time the dish was presented, the onions were burnt crisp and the liver didn't look much better. The server quickly left and to Mom2's credit, she tried to like this dish. As suggested by the burnt crisp onions, the liver was cooked through and now qualified for shoe leather. We had a devil of a time attracting the attention of our server, who was arguing loudly with another server. To get any attention, I finally took the plate to a 3rd server who whisked away without much explanation.

    The next time we saw our server, he was clutching another serving of liver with the very same burnt onions from before. Mom2 cut into the liver to find it seared on the outside and raw on the inside. This being liver and not a steak, I took the plate back to the kitchen for additional cooking suggesting maybe the onions needed retiring. Astonishingly, the next time we saw our liver, we still had our friends the really burnt onions staring back at us. Mom2 scrapped the onions aside and proceeded to eat her liver like a good soldier.

    I ordered their homemade lasagna, which was somewhat tasteless.

    Image

    When they inquired if we wanted dessert, we took a pass.

    The bar was packed and quite noisy, which impacted those of us in the dining room. Pretty much we were privy to conversation we had no interest in and boldly stated. Since most of the patrons were in the bar, it may still hold some interest to some here. If you do get an opportunity to try the freshly made fried mushrooms, then please do tell. There isn't a ghost of a chance we will return to find out ourselves.

    Gilmer Road House
    25792 N Midlothian Rd
    Mundelein, Illinois 60060
    847-438-0300
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #8 - February 25th, 2007, 11:13 pm
    Post #8 - February 25th, 2007, 11:13 pm Post #8 - February 25th, 2007, 11:13 pm
    I have passed the Irish Mill on Route 60/83 in Mundelein forever and finally walked in the door last summer. While I have included it in the roadhouse thread, this is not really a roadhouse because it isn't at the junction of two roads. Diamond Lake is a short walking distance away, which used to be a resort rather than a bedroom community. I believe the Irish Mill is a relic from the resort era, when Mundelein was a summer weekend destination.

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    We visited on a weeknight, which was clearly a slow night. Our waitress was also the cook on this occasion. We began with a potato soup served a gratin dish, which tasted like clam chowder without the clams, easily served the three of us comfortably:

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    The Moms ordered the made on the premises beer battered Icelandic cod. The ladies were interested in returning simply for this fish preparation:

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    I ordered the beef stew, which was rustic in style:

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    We skipped dessert in favor of more Irish soda bread and butter.

    The menu is very limited. We stuck to the Irish specialities so I cannot comment on the American menu.

    Irish Mill
    26592 N IL Route 83/60 (these roads overlap on this segment)
    Mundelein, IL 60060
    (847) 566-7044
    irishmillinn.com

    ***

    The Half Day Inn is closed and being prepared for demolition. I never got there, I thought I had a little more time.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #9 - February 26th, 2007, 8:59 am
    Post #9 - February 26th, 2007, 8:59 am Post #9 - February 26th, 2007, 8:59 am
    Cathy2 wrote:

    >The Half Day Inn is closed….I never got there…

    Don’t worry the only thing you missed was bad food. The best meal I ever had there was only below average. A good thing to say about the food was that at times it was better than the service.

    My experience is limited, as I ate there about 5 times over the last 5 – 6 years. The last time I went, was only because a friend wanted to go, because they were closing.

    D.
  • Post #10 - February 26th, 2007, 9:43 am
    Post #10 - February 26th, 2007, 9:43 am Post #10 - February 26th, 2007, 9:43 am
    HI,

    I didn't have high expectations for the food at Half Day Inn. I simply want to do a been-there-done-that stamp on it. Can't do everything!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #11 - February 26th, 2007, 10:04 am
    Post #11 - February 26th, 2007, 10:04 am Post #11 - February 26th, 2007, 10:04 am
    elakin wrote:we used to go to the Kelsie (?) road house when i was a kid. i vaguely remember it being a dark place with a lot of wood that had pretty good pan pizza.

    anyone know if that's still around? i'd say it's around round lake, or mudeliein...


    Kelsey Road House is still around, though I have not been there in at least 15 years or so. I do drive by it when I go visit my folks as they live about a mile from it, so I can confirm it is still open. It is in Barrington, near Northwest Highway (14)/Kelsey Road.

    It is VERY dark because it is located underground or at least mostly underground :) Also remember that the walls were built with bottles in them.

    Jamie
  • Post #12 - July 6th, 2008, 10:12 pm
    Post #12 - July 6th, 2008, 10:12 pm Post #12 - July 6th, 2008, 10:12 pm
    Hi,

    On the shores of Bangs Lake is the Lakeside Inn, Eatery and Tavern once know as The Grand Hotel in Wauconda. According to the menu's legend, it was built in 1847 with a suggestion it may have one time been a brothel as well as some connection to Al Capone. I might have time to read, contemplate and integrate the legend, but the menus were crisply taken once orders were bestowed.

    We were not too impressed by the food or the general lack of service. To go into details would just sound like a rant and not worthy of my time. Oddly my sense of history and curiosity will lead me back someday. Some winter's afternoon I look forward to lunching in the tavern with all the wood beam details and animal heads hung from the walls. If they do a decent job of decorating around the holidays, it may even be a charming room to while the afternoon away. It is not the building's fault the staff decided to phone in their efforts this weekend.

    I am just full of contradictions somedays.

    Lakeside Inn Eatery & Tavern
    110 South Main Street
    Wauconda, IL 60084
    Tel: 847/526-4499

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #13 - May 4th, 2011, 9:25 pm
    Post #13 - May 4th, 2011, 9:25 pm Post #13 - May 4th, 2011, 9:25 pm
    After multiple decades of driving by the C'mon Inn, I decided to stop in tonight. What a great surprise.

    The restaurant part of the C'mon Inn is now known as the Lucky 13 Diner. I was greeted by Chris, one of the two owners, who was also doing the cooking. They have spruced up the restaurant and modified the menu, offering fresh, homemade food, and much of it made from scratch.

    Even the dressings are homemade. The pulled pork for the Cubano sandwich is smoked for a minimum of 10 hours. The roast beef is slow roasted onsite. Their fish fry is North Atlantic cod with their own beer batter. Even the pop is specially made. From everything Chris and I talked about, it sounds like he makes a lot of the food the same way a lot of us would if we owned a restaurant. He was very engaging and down to earth.

    I had the Polish platter, which was somewhat like the one pictured, but with no sauce and no cabbage roll, yet with more sausage. The cup of pierogi soup was outstanding. It was the only Polish item on the menu, which is extensive with all sorts of solid options. The breakfast menu is the probably the most impressive offering.

    I'm going back soon. Probably many times.

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