Dining out: Black Friday brunches, new restaurants and more

Goodbye “Happy Thanksgiving,” hello Black Friday. What a change of mood. Fortunately there are places you can duck in to avoid the throngs of holiday shoppers. We also have some new restaurants and other holiday happenings.

Escape from Black Friday part 1

It's called Black Friday for a reason. If you want to get away from the shopping madness, stop by Old Town Pour House in Oak Brook and Naperville as they tap this year's release of Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout. Rare BCS bottles will be available for purchase for 20% off at OTPH on Black Friday only. Sister restaurant City Works Eatery & Pour House will also be featuring Bourbon County Stout, with the Vernon Hills location serving Original, Prop and Banana's Foster and the Schaumburg restaurant offering Original. Many of the specialty BCS offerings don't last, so don't snooze on a chance to try them.

Escape from Black Friday part 2

Take a Black Friday break at The Hampton Social in South Barrington, Burr Ridge or Skokie for a savory Black Friday Brunch. While you're there, unwind with handcrafted holiday cocktails, including the Mistletoe Kiss vodka concoction and Santa's Hot Cider, served with a complimentary branded mug to take home.


Didn't get enough Oktoberfest? Buffalo Creek Brewing in Long Grove has transformed their pine-forest-lined property into a winter biergarten retreat straight out of Germany. The Alpine Biergarten opens for the season Friday, offering winter-themed outdoor games, live music, food trucks, an outdoor bar with table service and, most importantly, heat lamps and fire pits. The indoor lodge is leaning in to the holidays as well with a gingerbread-themed vibe. This weekend will also see the release of two new beers — Hot Buttered Beer and Beau-Fleau — the former a spiced, simmered ale with sugar, egg yolks and butter served warm and topped with whipped cream, the latter a Double IPA. Find it all at 60 Historical Lane in Long Grove.

That's Amore

Aurora has a new Italian restaurant and piano bar from an owner better known for his Latin fusion cuisine. Chef Roberto Avila opened Amore Mio this week at 33 W. New York St., describing it as an homage to the Italian American restaurants of mid-20th century New York City. The restaurant features a first-floor dining room with a basement piano bar and lounge. Avila is a former professional soccer player who also owns the Altiro Latin Fusion restaurants in Aurora, Wheaton and Geneva.

Coa at the Drake

The Drake Oak Brook will add their first full restaurant addition in over five decades. Coa, a tapas and Mexican-Spanish fusion restaurant, is set to open in December. Named after a tool used to harvest agave, Coa's menu highlights will include an extensive selection of hot and cold tapas, a variety of paellas, seafood dishes and more. Custom furnishings from Mexico include handcrafted furniture and hand-sculpted chandeliers. Contemporary touches will be woven throughout with interactive digital displays for high-definition musical screenings and visual storytelling. Coa will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, with weekly happy hour and late-night dining from Thursday through Sunday.

That's using the ol' noodle

You will get tired of leftover turkey eventually. When you do, Tokio Pub in Schaumburg is hosting its first Ramen Festival in December. The monthlong celebration of the Japanese noodle dish includes $20 bottomless ramen every Sunday in December. (No splitting, sharing or take home. These are the rules, people.) Limited-edition menu items will include ramen-crusted fried chicken and chilled peanut noodle salad, plus special broth flavors. And don't miss the ramen and Japanese Whisky tasting dinner on Dec. 4. For $65 per person, dine on a four-course menu including lobster broth with prawns ramen bowl, crispy ramen with spicy tuna and spicy shrimp, and a chocolate peanut butter ramen bar, each paired with the perfect whiskey.

Hot dog!

Portillo's will officially open their 46th Illinois location at 10 a.m. Tuesday with a ribbon cutting in Algonquin. The 7,800-square-foot restaurant at 801 S. Randall Road will be the chain's 81st location nationwide. During the ceremony Portillo's will present checks to its charity partners, Boys & Girls Clubs of Dundee Township and Algonquin Lake in the Hills Interfaith Food Pantry.

It's the holiday (menu) season

Miller's Ale House is celebrating the season with a holiday menu including new entrees and festive desserts and cocktails. The surf and turf of sirloin and snow crab legs is $24.99, or try a filet mignon or sirloin steak with lobster ravioli for $21.99. The Mountain Melt Madness features a jumbo soft pretzel, fries, beer cheese and Miller's zingers tossed in Buffalo sauce and topped with cheese, bacon, scallions and mozzarella sticks (madness indeed) for $24.99. Sip a Merry Berry Margarita flavored with red sangria ($8.99) or Kenny's Espresso Martini with tequila ($9.99) before ending the journey with a Peppermint Ghirardelli Brownie Sundae for $9.99. Miller's has suburban locations in Schaumburg, Aurora and Lombard.

In the spotlight

Lake Villa restaurant Fairmont Shores will be visited by America's Best Restaurants in early December. ABR is a digital marketing company that highlights independently owned restaurants nominated by customers or restaurant owners around the country to be featured on their “ABR Roadshow.” Fairmont Shores owners Vincent and Patti Walsh purchased the restaurant, located at 37641 N. Lake Shore Drive on Fox Lake, in late 2020. During the taping Dec. 4, they'll highlight menu favorites such as the meatloaf stack and the Parmly Cajun pork chops. The restaurant's finished episode premiere date will be announced on their Facebook page and will be featured at

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Sip a Mistletoe Kiss vodka cocktail at The Hampton Social during Black Friday Brunch. Courtesy of The Hampton Social
Buffalo Creek Brewing's Alpine Biergarten in Long Grove opens for the season Friday. Courtesy of Buffalo Creek Brewing
Coa, a tapas and Mexican-Spanish fusion restaurant, is set to open at The Drake Oak Brook in December. Courtesy of The Drake Oak Brook
Miller's new holiday menu features the Merry Berry Margarita flavored with red sangria and the Kenny's Espresso Martini with tequila. Courtesy of Miller's Ale House
Amore Mio Italian restaurant and piano bar opened this week in Aurora. Courtesy of Amore Mio
Tokio Pub in Schaumburg is hosting its first Ramen Festival in December. Courtesy of Tokio Pub
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