The fall harvest this year is turning up a crop of new restaurants across the suburbs.
Destinations with East Coast-style pretzels, Tex-Mex style enchiladas, quick quality meals, Italian family favorites and fresh flavors of doughnuts are growing into locations from Naperville to West Dundee, Rosemont to Barrington and Wheaton to Schaumburg.
Here are five new finds coming this season to the suburban restaurant scene:
1. Philly Pretzel Factory, Naperville
Shaped like a figure-eight. Slightly sweet. Baked fresh in eight minutes.
The namesake pretzels at Philly Pretzel Factory sure are craveable to Tom Berk, franchise owner of the Philadelphia-native chain's first location in Illinois, which is set to open this month at 1037 W. Ogden Ave. in Naperville. Berk ate the pretzels when he was a hungry frat boy and lacrosse player at Drexel University in Philadelphia and missed them when he moved west to Naperville.
"I just couldn't wait to get the pretzels in people's hands out here," he said. The restaurant can whip up large orders for fresh pretzels quick. "That's why it's called a factory," Berk said.
But don't expect to find much more to eat other than twisty, salty goodness. There's a pretzel dog on the menu and a pepperoni bread, but the original Philly-style pretzel reigns supreme.
"The menu," Berk said, "is pretty much pretzelized."
"If you've seen one Chuy's, you've seen one Chuy's," says Larry Cappos, the local owner-operator of the first Chuy's Tex-Mex to open in the suburbs, which launched in July in Warrenville.
That's why the Austin, Texas-based chain's second location in the region is preparing to be a draw of its own. Chuy's in Schaumburg is expected to open in October at 1701 E. Golf Road in the new Woodfield Gatherings development outside Woodfield Mall.
The restaurant focuses on making menu items from scratch and is popular for its Elvis-themed fried chicken, its funky design motif, a nacho bar set up in the trunk of a classic car and one of its enchilada plates nicknamed "Chicka-Chicka Boom-Boom."
(People Dedicated to Quality), Wheaton and Schaumburg
PDQ aims to bring the speed of fast-food with the quality of fine casual to the suburbs with openings slated for Wheaton and Schaumburg.
The Wheaton restaurant is on track to open first, likely in mid-September, at 167 Danada Square, while the Schaumburg location is targeting a December opening at 1300 Meacham Road.
Both restaurants will include PDQ staples -- 14 signature sauces homemade each day, hand-breaded chicken tenders, hand-tossed salads and made-to-order sandwiches -- along with dishes from a new chef-inspired menu. Seasonal bowls, specialty salads and a variety of veggie- or fruit-based sides will be ripe for the tasting as the Tampa, Florida-based chain opens its first Illinois eateries.
4. Moretti's Ristorante & Pizzeria, Rosemont and Barrington
Already popular in places like Fox Lake, Hoffman Estates and Mount Prospect, Moretti's Ristorante & Pizzeria is planning two more restaurants opening this fall at 9519 W. Higgins Road in Rosemont and 128 Wool St. in Barrington.
Moretti's Rosemont opened Friday, Sept. 8, while the restaurant continues to work on its Barrington location in advance of a December opening.
On the menu will be Chicago-style pan and thin crust pizzas, classic and modern Italian and American favorites and a casual atmosphere where everything is available for takeout.
5. Craft Donuts & Coffee, West Dundee
Freshly roasted coffee and artisan doughnuts made daily are coming soon to a 117-year-old vacant building in West Dundee, where John and Allison Reno plan to open Craft Donuts & Coffee at 124 Main St. this fall.
Targeting a late October or early November opening, the Renos are working to create a space with character and flavor, "a welcoming local spot for people to gather or study or eat and meet."
"It's definitely going to be a premium product," John Reno said about the doughnut varieties he plans to sell once the store opens. "We're trying to keep the selection limited, for the most part, so we can make sure we can do it with quality and be handmade every time."