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Article posted: 2/13/2013 6:00 AM

Good food, friendly service make McMae's a winner


Plenty of bars try to attract diners by offering more than your standard pub grub. McMae's Tavern & Grill actually succeeds. Since opening in 2010, McMae's -- located at 1075 W. Stearns Road in Bartlett -- has been bringing out solid crowds who come to eat and stick around to drink and watch sports.

Motif: The small space offers entertainment in the form of nine TVs tuned to sports and an electronic dartboard. Bright green lamps hang over the bar and framed jerseys and team photos decorate the walls. Kids drawings hang in the windows.

Crowd: Fridays and Saturdays are the busiest nights, bringing in a mix of couples, small groups and families, mostly in their 30s to 50s, casually dressed with plenty of jeans, sneakers and baseball hats. Trivia night Tuesdays is also a draw.

Service: Our server was friendly and patient, showing great knowledge of the menu and the night's specials as she walked us through our options. She checked in regularly to let us know the status of our meal and keep our drinks flowing, even offering up a larger than ordered draft for the same price because the bar was out of smaller glasses.

Food: Everything on the menu at McMae's is made in house and you can tell. The chips and salsa make a great starter, with plenty of big, thick and crispy chips served with a bright red, solidly spicy dip. The mini-filet sandwiches are the most popular dish on the menu, served on fluffy buns with a choice of sides. All the meat is cooked to order, and the kitchen staff takes medium rare seriously, cooking the tender beef on the red side. You can smell the garlic fries coming to your table. They're done perfectly, hot and crispy on the outside and fluffy inside. The southwest steak salad is also a great pick, with plenty of mixed greens, corn, tomato, beans and tortilla strips topped with chunks of steak. Of course, if you are craving a more traditional bar eat you can find that too with wings, nachos and burgers.

Liquid consumption: McMae's bartenders will whip up all your standard drinks, and the draft menu includes 312, Stella Artois and a rotating seasonal beer which is currently Two Brothers' Domaine DuPage. The craft brew is a particularly good pick on Fridays when you can get it, and anything else on draft, for $3.50. Other drink specials include $5 martinis Mondays, half-price wine Tuesdays, $4 margaritas Wednesdays and $2 domestic bottles Thursdays.

Parking: There are plenty of free spots in the strip mall lot.

Overall: McMae's may be small, but its great food, affordable drinks and friendly service pack a big punch.

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