6 new dining destinations for suburban food lovers

With summer almost in the rearview mirror and shorter, colder days approaching, a nice meal out could be just the fix.

If that sounds like truth, take comfort. The suburbs will offer plenty of options for new dining destinations as the leaves begin to turn.

There will be new seafood with Texas-based Truluck's Seafood, Steak & Crab House coming to Rosemont; a new twist on an Italian favorite with Carmine's coming to Rosemont, too; new comfort food with Beef Shack opening in Huntley, Bartlett, DeKalb and Joliet; new casual dining with Next Door American Eatery and Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar both planned for Vernon Hills; and new sweet treats from Molly's Cupcakes opening in Naperville.

All it takes is an appetite and some time in the car to try these six new dining destinations.

Texas-based Truluck's Seafood, Steak & Crab House is coming to Rosemont as part of a new mixed-use complex called The Pearl District. Courtesy of Truluck's Seafood, Steak & Crab House

1. Truluck's Seafood, Steak & Crab House

Joining the lineup in the new mixed-use Pearl District in Rosemont is Truluck's, set to open Oct. 1. The launch date couldn't come at a better time for the seafood spot, which serves Florida stone crab only when it is in season Oct. 15 through May 15, spokesman Todd Alley said.

"Fresh Florida stone crab is our signature dish," Alley said. "That's our stock and trade."

The restaurant also is known for its $30 "power lunch" menu with a choice of salad, entree and dessert, and for entertaining diners with live music every night.

Truluck's has been open in Chicago for about a year, but if it sounds familiar from somewhere else, chances are it's Naples, Florida. That's because of an odd connection between the Sunshine State and the suburbs, in which Alley said Naples restaurant receipts show 50 percent of customers there hail from Chicago and the suburban region.

"We're new to the area on the ground, but people from Chicago have been coming to us for years and years," he said.

2. Carmine's

An expansive space at 10,000 square feet with a 3,000-square-foot outdoor patio, Carmine's in the Rosebud family will offer pass-through bars with seating inside and out, private dining for up to 100 people and a classic Italian experience, spokesman Tom Claxton said.

The decor is meant to evoke a trip to Tuscany, and the food will help create a sense of escape.

"It's going to sport this traditional Italian fare that Rosebud is known for," Claxton said.

Rosebud founder Alex Dana has poured his "heart and soul" into the new concept, which is opening in Rosemont's new 16-acre Pearl District. A Dave & Buster's entertainment center and a boutique hotel called The Rose are set to complement the restaurants in the Pearl District.

Under the guidance of the people behind Rosati's Pizza, Beef Shack is opening restaurants in DeKalb, Joliet, Huntley and Bartlett this fall and early next year, adding to its original sites in Elgin and St. Charles. Courtesy of Beef Shack

3. Beef Shack

With the experience of running the Rosati's chain of pizzerias, a group of restaurateurs is opening four more Beef Shacks across the region this fall and early next year to add to original sites in Elgin and St. Charles.

Daniel Perillo, president of franchising, said the DeKalb Beef Shack is coming first, followed by Joliet in mid-October, Huntley in November or December and Bartlett early next year.

The expansion comes about a year after the Rosati's ownership purchased the rights to the Beef Shack franchise, which focuses on a short menu of staples: beef sandwiches, cheesy beefs, burgers, fresh-cut fries, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches, Italian sausages and milkshakes. The food may be simple, but Perillo says it's darn good.

"Once you taste the food," he said, "you'll come back."

4. Next Door American Eatery

Designed as a comfortable meeting place in the neighborhood, Next Door American Eatery offers a menu focused on unprocessed ingredients and local foods when possible. A "large, inviting patio" is part of the design, spokeswoman Kristina Johnson said, and the idea is for the restaurant to become part of daily life in Vernon Hills, where it is set to join the Mellody Farm development under construction at Milwaukee Avenue and Townline Road. The restaurant plans to open in late fall.

"Next Door serves real food from American farmers, affordably priced, with variety to match your mood," Johnson said.

With a pet-friendly patio and a menu designed for all generations, Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar plans an opening by the end of the year in Vernon Hills as part of the Mellody Farm development. Courtesy of Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar

5. Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar

Pets are welcome on the outdoor patio at this California-based chain, and it's all part of an intergenerational appeal to bring casual dining to millennials and baby boomers, CEO Chris Simms says.

Lazy Dog has "a menu based in comfort foods - craveable comfort foods," Simms says. Examples are chicken potpie and bacon-wrapped bison meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy. But on top of these classic comforts, Lazy Dog chefs add "a layer of bold innovation," with dishes like charred green beans in a Vietnamese sauce.

Sprinkled in to the environment of the restaurant, which is set to open before the end of the year in the Mellody Farm area in Vernon Hills, is small-town charm and honest hospitality, Simms says.

"It's relaxing but exciting all at the same time," he said.

  Husband-and-wife team Stephanie and James Jacobson will be the owner-operators of Molly's Cupcakes, set to open sometime this fall on Jefferson Avenue in downtown Naperville. Marie Wilson/

6. Molly's Cupcakes

If the end of summer dulls the need for ice cream, a new sweet is in store in Naperville: cupcakes.

A location of Chicago-based Molly's Cupcakes, which is known for its center-filled varieties and as a destination for wedding desserts, is set to open this fall at 30 W. Jefferson Ave.

"The flavor of the cupcakes, when you try it, you're going to love it," says James Jacobson, who will own and operate the Naperville shop with his wife, Stephanie Jacobson.

The idea is to create a place where customers can come in, snack on a cupcake and relax for a while, almost like a nostalgic kind of coffee shop environment, the Jacobsons say.

"We are going to be very open," James Jacobson said, "and a place that we think the community is going to embrace."

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