Hoffman Estates' newest restaurant truly lives up to its name.
With two off-track betting rooms, an exterior made of weathered wood from 15 old barns, walls adorned with large prints of horse-themed newspaper articles and more than 40 historic saddles on display, The Saddle Room at 2559 Pratum Ave. is ready to run this Friday.
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"It took a long time. It took a lot of patience," executive chef and co-owner Kristopher Gillis said of the four years it took to acquire the land and financing and then build the restaurant, which workers were putting the finishing touches on Thursday. "To finally have it open and running, we're very proud, very excited."
Gillis described the menu, which changes four times a year, as "American eclectic." It features three fish products at a time and game meats from all over the country, such as duck from New York and rabbit from Minnesota. Steaks dry-aged 45 days and 64 rotating wines by the glass ranging in price from $7 to $44 also are available, along with brick oven-fired pizzas and flatbreads.
"All our food here is extremely fresh," said co-owner Parker Grabowski.
The Saddle Room's private dining rooms and seating areas, multiple fireplaces and expansive patio overlooking open space in the village's 59/90 Entertainment Crossroads give it an upscale feel, but Grabowski and Gillis assure that anyone will feel comfortable dining in.
"We built the place so that if you're coming with a bunch of friends and you want to grab a burger or a pizza you can come in and do it," Grabowski said. "If you want to dress up and have a great meal you can go in back to one of the dining rooms and do it."
The off-track betting portion of the restaurant has 30 private stations, along with group seating in front of multiple large-screen TVs. Hoffman Estates and Cook County will each receive 1 percent of the "handle," or dollars wagered at the facility, which is estimated to be about $14 million a year.
Grabowski said the restaurant will employ between 60 to 75 people. The servers, he said, are required to try all the food and wines, and have already been in training for more than six weeks.
The Saddle Room is open from 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, with a brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.