Given its accessibility by public transit and our unending praise of Frank Lloyd Wright, it’s easy to forget that Chicago’s western neighbor isn’t technically part of the city. But that doesn't mean Oak Park is outside of the thriving culinary sphere, because the dining scene has some notables of its own. Here are the 11 best restaurants, which will challenge your stance on suburban dining.
Best wieners: Felony Franks
6427 N Ave
This socially responsible, prison-themed sausage emporium grants second chances by hiring ex-offenders. Cheekily named franks, like the Chicago-style “Misdemeanor Wiener” and the “Parolish” Polish sausage, are every bit as criminally good as they claim to be.
Best patio: Maya Del Sol
144 S Oak Park Ave
Snag a spot under the shade of an umbrella and let the alfresco margarita imbibing and cochinita pibil feasting commence.
Best pub: Poor Phil’s Bar & Grill
139 S. Marion St
Between the free popcorn, an oyster happy hour, and nearly 40 beers on tap, this local favorite knows a thing or two about how to keep folks coming back for more. And when you throw stick-to-your-ribs pub fare like “Po’Phils N’awlins Gumbo” and a one-third-pound Murphy Burger into the mix, we’re not sure why anyone would ever leave in the first place.
Best Mexican: New Rebozo
1116 Madison St
The signature mole, made with chocolate and 42 (42!!) additional secret ingredients is a fan favorite, and the shrimp and skirt steak “mar y tierra” is a welcome take on surf & turf without the price tag.
Best Brazilian: Taste of Brasil
906 S Oak Park Ave
Dishes at this BYOB are remarkably authentic, like the feijoada, which bursts with smoked pork and sausage, and the chicken croquettes known as coxinha, that are best when paired with Guarana soda. Don’t you dare be deceived by the space’s humble appearance.
Best meal made by students: Eyrie
128 N. Oak Park Ave
Run entirely by students enrolled at Robert Morris University Illinois, this BYOB offers a damn decent local, seasonal menu and an experiential learning environment for the aspiring chefs who prepare it for you.
Best sushi: SEN Sushi Bar
814 S Oak Park Ave
With a mix of maki classics and creative rolls, like the “Sen” -- shrimp tempura, scallion, fire-torched scallop, squid, lime juice, cilantro, with a lemongrass reduction -- this 30-seater sets a high bar for suburban sushi.
Best breakfast: Delia’s Kitchen
1034 Lake St
Come here for simple, reliable breakfast fare like corned beef hash, bacon-studded Belgian waffles, and all manner of eggs, plus fresh-squeezed orange juice -- none of that “from concentrate” nonsense.
Best gyros: Mickey’s Gyros & Ribs
525 N. Harlem Ave
Prepare to meat sweat from gargantuan gyros, full slabs of ribs, and massive cheeseburgers at this reasonably priced counter-service gem. You’ll be so full it might hurt a little, but no pain, no gain, people. That is, if your goal is to gain, which is kind of a contrarian goal, but you do you.
Best Italian: Mancini’s Italian Bistro
1111 Lake St
Whether you want to score a midday gelato fix or simply stop in for a prosciutto and arugula pizza, this casual bistro will satisfy. Granted, the menu isn’t without its American touches (Fries? Really?), but we’re willing to overlook that in the name of house-made gelato and cannoli.
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1. Marion Street Market100 S Marion St, Oak Park
2. Felony Franks6427 North Ave, Oak Park
3. Maya del Sol144 S Oak Park Ave, Oak Park
4. Poor Phil's Bar & Grill139 S Marion St, Oak Park
5. New Rebozo1116 Madison St, Oak Park
6. Taste of Brasil906 S Oak Park Ave, Oak Park
7. Eyrie Culinary Restaurant128 N Oak Park Ave, Oak Park
8. Sen Sushi Bar814 S Oak Park Ave, Oak Park
9. Delia's Kitchen1034 Lake St, Oak Park
10. Mickey's Gyros & Ribs525 N Harlem Ave, Oak Park
11. Mancini’s Italian Bistro1111 Lake St, Oak Park
This relaxed fromagerie/charcuterie/bistro offers a wide variety of cheese, wine, craft beer, and sweets. On the menu, you'll find items such as: bacon-wrapped dates, cauliflower melt, duck pb&j, crab-crusted walleye, and hanger steak.
"Home of the misdemeanor wiener," this prison-themed fast-food joint employs ex-felons and ex-offenders to help them get back on their feet.
Maya del Sol is a Latin American fusion restaurant that offers cuisine from South America, Central America, Spain, Mexico, and the Caribbean. The restaurants boasts a spacious patio and an extensive tequila selection, along with weekly specials and happy hour five days a week.
This Cajun restaurant and bar lives up to its name by offering oyster shooters, which are exactly what you think: chilled shot glasses filled with the aphrodisiac and topped with cocktail sauce and horseradish.
Drawing from traditional Mexican cuisine and family recipes, food at this Day of the Dead-themed restaurant is worth living for.
Tucked away on Oak Park Ave, this modest restaurant serves traditional Brazilian cuisine like feijoada (black bean stew with smoked pork and sausage), moqueca de peixe (fish stew), and bobó de camarão (shrimp in cassava puree). BYOB.
Managed and staffed by the students of Robert Morris University, Eyrie uses locally-sourced ingredients to create seasonal, American fare like blackberry BBQ grilled chicken sandwiches, queso fresco and green chile polenta, and roasted pear and hazelnut salad. The restaurant accepts donations to a university scholarship fund in lieu of gratuities.
Sen Sushi Bar is a casual, 30-seat restaurant serving up fresh-off-the-boat fish from Japan from its small, Oak Park Ave. storefront. At lunch, the space fills up with Bento Box-loving business folk, and at dinner, Sen boasts a wide variety of classic sushi rolls, as well as vegetarian and contemporary rolls, like the Oak Park Maki, with super white tuna, asparagus tempura, cream cheese, pine nuts, tobiko, and sesame. Plenty of sake and martinis are also on offer to pair with your high-quality, low-cost sushi dinner at Sen.
Delia's has everything you'd want from a diner, but made with actual, human love. The menu includes American and European-inspired dishes, all the loose tea your heart desires, and, somehow, gluten-free French toast.
Gyros or "yee-ros?" At this meat lovers paradise, it doesn't matter. But if you're opting for the ribs, bring a bib. And maybe an antacid.
This ristorante italiano offers flatbread pizza, panini, speciality pasta (think gnocchi with sausage and mushrooms), and seafood. Popular small plates selections are the homemade chips with gorgonzola drizzle and artichoke bruschetta.