Dining out: More Valentine’s Day options, Fat Tuesday and National Pizza Day

It’s a good time to be a food lover. We’ve got more Valentine’s Day options, plus a new lobster roll truck is rolling in to town and Fat Tuesday is fast approaching. Plus a couple of locals have been inducted into the prestigious White Castle Cravers Hall of Fame.

If you haven’t made Valentine’s Day plans yet …

… Then you better get moving. We posted a list of about 70 restaurants last week with specials for you and your special someone, but here are a few more we’ve found since then.

Bonefish Grill

1604 Randall Road, Algonquin, (847) 658-9268; 15537 S. La Grange Road, Orland Park, (708) 873-5170; 9310 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, (847) 674-4634; and 180 S. Roselle Road, Schaumburg, (847) 534-0679; Bonefish is offering a couple of limited time items Feb. 8-19. The Enchanted Rose Martini changes colors as you drink it and the violet butterfly pea ice cube melts while you dine on Rockefeller butterfish or filet del mar.


2860 Showplace Drive, Naperville, (630) 536-0022, Houlihan’s is offering special menu items Feb. 10-14 that are available for dine-in or carryout.

Matrix Room in Naperville is celebrating Valentine’s Day with a special prix fixe menu that includes sage butter scallops. Courtesy of Matrix Room

Matrix Room

808 S. Route 59, Naperville, (630) 581-7200, The Matrix Room is offering an elegant, four-course dining experience with handcrafted signature cocktails and a live band on Wednesday, Feb. 14, for $170 per couple. The prix fixe menu includes a beet and goat cheese Napoleon appetizer, salad, an entree of either sage butter scallops or grilled lamb tenderloin, and choice of dessert. Make reservations at OpenTable.

Miller’s Ale House

778 N. Route 59, Aurora; 455 Butterfield Road, Lombard; 1300 N. Meacham Road, Schaumburg, and other suburbs; Miller’s has you covered for Val/Galentine’s Day with specials such as pork osso buco ($18.99), chicken pesto ravioli ($15.99) and the MAD Captain’s Triple Treasure dessert featuring Ghirardelli chocolate brownie topped with a slice of Miller’s Capt. Jack’s Buried Treasure cake and Pull ‘N’ Pop Donuts ($19.99).

Pennyville Station

112 Main St., Park Ridge, (847) 720-4841, Pennyville has several menu specials, including seared scallops with bacon jam (yum) and red velvet cake for dessert. Make reservations at OpenTable.

Roka Akor in Oak Brook is offering a $125 tasting menu on Feb. 14. Courtesy of Neil John Burger

Roka Akor

166 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, (630) 634-7652, The steak, seafood and sushi restaurant is offering a $125 tasting menu from noon to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14, featuring an array of starters, including prime beef tataki and salmon crudo, followed by a deluxe sushi platter. The main courses feature robata grilled lobster tail and prime New York strip. Finish with honey panna cotta for dessert. Upgrades such as Japanese grade A5-10+ Wagyu beef are available. Make reservations here.


3103 Odyssey Court, Naperville, (630) 932-4800, and 285 Center Drive, Vernon Hills, (847) 918-0800, WhirlyBall is offering a Palentine’s Day promo from Feb. 12-18. When you and six pals book WhirlyBall time you’ll get a free pizza or app. You must book in advance online for their suburban locations in Naperville and Vernon Hills at

Cousins Maine Lobster co-founders Sabin Lomac and Jim Tselikis will be on hand for the debut Saturday of their new food truck at Pollyanna Brewing Company in Roselle. Courtesy of Cousins Maine Lobster

Lobster rollin’ in to town

Cousins Maine Lobster is launching in the Chicagoland area, with their new food truck making its first stop at Pollyanna Brewing Company in Roselle from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10. Known for their wild caught Maine lobster rolls (the lobster, not the rolls), authentic New England clam chowder, sweet and savory shrimp tacos, and whoopie pies, Cousins got its big break on the fourth season of “Shark Tank” in 2012, when real-life cousins and founders Sabin Lomac and Jim Tselikis partnered with Shark Barbara Corcoran. Cousins now has 60 units with food trucks operating in 24 states, along with five brick-and-mortar restaurants. They’ll hold a ribbon cutting for the truck and a meet-the-founders event from noon to 4 p.m. at Pollyanna, 245 E Main St.

It’s what they craved

White Castle inducted 11 of its most dedicated fans into its Cravers Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Jan. 31, including suburbanites Nick Brow of Schaumburg and Don Clelland of Lombard. Brow earned the honor by braving the blizzard of January 2020 to fill his late-night craving, while Clelland took his not-yet-wife to White Castle for Valentine’s Day for three years in a row before proposing there. They’ve since been married for 10 years, have two kids and “13 Love Castle celebrations.” White Castle created their HOF in 2001 to recognize their most zealous fans. Brow and Clelland each received a plaque and will be featured on the restaurant’s iconic Slider box packaging.

Grab your paczkis for Fat Tuesday from any Stan’s Donuts location in the suburbs. Courtesy of Stan's Donuts

Get fat on paczkis, err, get paczkis on Fat Tuesday

If it’s Fat Tuesday, it’s paczki time. There are myriad places in the suburbs to grab the Polish doughnuts, and everyone has their favorite. We can’t possibly list them all, but here are some places to get you started. Keep in mind, orders may need to be placed in advance.

Harner’s Bakery and Restaurant in North Aurora; Herb’s Bakery in Elgin; Jarosch Bakery in Elk Grove Village; Katie’s Kitchen in Des Plaines; Lovin Oven Cakery in Antioch and Round Lake Beach; Oak Mill Bakery in Arlington Heights, Des Plaines and Niles; Spunky Dunkers Donuts in Palatine; Stan’s Donuts in Oak Brook, Rosemont and Schaumburg; Taste of Paris in Mundelein; and Vanilla Sugar Bakery in Glen Ellyn.

National Pizza Day

Friday is National Pizza Day, which is to say, a normal Friday for many of us. This is not to be confused with National Deep Dish Day on April 5, National Pizza Party Day on May 17, Pizza Margherita Day on June 11, National Cheese Pizza Day on Sept. 5 and so on. So go out, get a pizza from your favorite local shop, rinse and repeat all year long.

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