For many, Schaumburg, Illinois, is a suburban hell where dreams go to die (unless said dream is pretending you’re Silent Bob in the American romantic comedy motion picture Mallrats). Sure, the closest discernable thing to a “Downtown” is the Woodfield Mall, and mile after mile of chain restaurants and retailers litter the main thoroughfares, but if you know where to look, there are actually several worthy places to eat! But some are still chains, so let’s not be too ambitious here.
Best burgers: Kuma’s
1570 E Golf Rd
Chicago’s premier heavy metal-themed burger joint recently brought its iconic patties, blistering music, and devil-may-care attitude to the soccer mom streets of Woodfield, where you’ll now have to fight lines of Hot Topic-wearing teens for the eponymous pretzel-bunned burgers.
Best African: Bisi African
853 S Roselle Rd
The strip mall facade may scream Better Call Saul, but inside you’ll find some pretty darn delicious jollof rice -- rice, tomatoes and tomato paste, onions, salt, and hot red pepper -- served with your choice of goat, beef, chicken, or fish, and fried plantains.
Best Italian: Chicago Prime Italian
1370 Bank Dr
From the folks who brought us Chicago Prime Steakhouse is this 250-seater. The plates range from large to holy-mother-of-meatballs massive, which means you’ll need help from a few friends if you want to conquer all that veal saltimbocca and tilapia Caprese.
Best Chinese: Yu’s Mandarin
200 E Golf Rd
Its goal is to provide an authentic Chinese dining experience, starting with Mongolian beef, the stir-fried steak dish popularized by family-friendly chain P.F. Chang’s. But Chinese-American interpretations notwithstanding, the massive menu does include some unusual options, like Szechwan-style lobster and jellyfish.
Best steakhouse: Wildfire
1250 E Higgins Rd
With dark-wood paneling, carpeted floors, and snazzy jazz tunes, this supper club-style steakhouse exudes dusty, old-school charm... even though this outpost only opened in 2003.
Best Thai: Thai Garden
225 W Golf Rd
Traditional mains like homestyle roast duck curry and basil mussels are fine, but desserts of deep-fried bananas and sticky rice with coconut ice cream are the real stars.
Best seafood: Shaw’s Crab House
1900 E Higgins Rd
This suburban counterpart to Lettuce Entertain You’s Chicago-based crab house keeps things streamlined with the same lineup of oysters, maki, and cooked fish as the Hubbard St location.
Best date spot: Tokio Pub
1900 E Higgins Rd
Avoid a lovers’ quarrel by stuffing your faces with all kinds of flash-fried chicken tacos and ramen burger fusion. Your mouths will be too occupied to say anything unbecoming and who knows? Maybe your credit card won’t be the only thing seeing some action tonight!!
Best dinner and a joust: Medieval Times
2001 N Roselle Rd
We told you options are limited here, people.
Best Chicago-style pizza: Lou Malnati’s
1 S Roselle Rd
Buttery crust, vine-ripened tomato sauce, Wisconsin-made mozzarella, 42 locations -- you know the drill.
Best breakfast: Checkers Pancake House
506 W Wise Rd
Whether you need to soak up last night’s indiscretions or you're just in need of a fat stack of blueberry flapjacks, this greasy spoon will satisfy. Try the Hawaii Five-O -- an omelette stuffed with pineapple, bacon, ham, and Monterey Jack.
1. Kuma's Schaumburg1570 E Golf Rd, Schaumburg
2. Bisi African853 S Roselle Rd, Schaumburg
3. Chicago Prime Italian1370 Bank Drive, Schaumburg
4. Yu's Mandarin200 East Golf Road, Schaumburg
5. Wildfire1250 E. Higgins Rd., Schaumburg
6. Tokio Pub1900 E Higgins Rd, Schaumburg
7. Shaw's Crab House1900 East Higgins Rd, Schaumburg
8. Thai Garden225 West Golf Road, Schaumburg
9. Medieval Times2001 N Roselle Rd, Schaumburg
10. Lou Malnati's1 S Roselle Rd, Schaumburg
11. Checkers Pancake House506 W Wise Rd., Schaumburg
Kuma's suburban location is just as heavy metal as the original location, and you can still expect crowds, blaring music and monstrous, pretzel-bunned burgers—including the eponymous egg-topped Kuma burger.
Celebrate over 20 years of culinary experience by enjoying African cuisine from Bisi African Restaurant. You won't be able of get enough of the jollof rice!
Just wait until you see the size of these INSANE meatballs. Just. Wait.
Check out Yu's Mandarin if you are in the mood for a massive menu full of delicious and unusual meal options, like Szchwan-style lobster and jellyfish.
Don't be discouraged by how close they are to the Woodfield Mall. This place serves up killer steak entrees (as well as every other kind of entree you could ever want). If you're looking for a date spot or a good happy hour, Wildfire is the place to visit.
This Japanese and American pub has some of the most creative meal options in Illinois, including flash-fried chicken tacos and ramen burger fusion.
Three words. Grand. Crab. Buffet.
Their meal options are amazing, but their desserts are out of this world. Deep-fried bananas, anyone?
Because who needs silverware, anyway?
This place has 42 locations for a reason.