If you're cruising down Wolf Rd. in Orland Park, the outside of the new Burger 'N Que joint is hard to miss. Decked out like a throwback from the 50s, its theme is self-evident.
"Well our approach is back to basics. We believe that instead of trying to cover the flavor with exotic toppings we pretty much go to just the bare minimum and of course offer people two different styles," owner Lou Wise said.
That means in addition to a Chicago-style charbroiled burger, they also pound a patty flat on the grill to create a West Coast version.
"When we first started, the idea was to get the tastiest meat we could find and mix it together and create a burger that was tender and juicy. That was cooked to order so you can still see color in it," Wise said.
Fries are hand-cut off-premise, and the shakes are respectable. As for the "Que" part of the operation, there is no slow-smoking here -- which will rankle purists. Instead, they break down the connective tissue in their ribs and brisket a very different way.
"We are doing pressure cooking, which is still hickory and mesquite chips but we speed it along by virtue of pressure," said Wise.
Once the brisket is sliced, it's cooked on the grill a few minutes more; same with the ribs, which get a final crisping-up on the grill along with some sweet sauce.
Dessert is just a few miles away, at a familiar presence if you've ever vacationed in Michigan or Florida. Kilwin's Chocolate and Fudge churns out those two items in small batches along with luscious ice cream in a variety of flavors.
"The ultimate fudge and ice cream experience. When you come here you are greeted with samples of fudge, samples of ice cream, we treat you like you are on vacation," owner Jacqueline Jackson said.
They'll dip just about anything in chocolate: Twinkies, marshmallows and bear claws are just a few options. The fudge is a reminder of vacations past, since just about every location across the country offers the same sweet memories.
"Basically it is everywhere. We have about 30 stores in Florida, about 25 in Michigan, and about 5 or 6 in the Carolinas, Lake Geneva, so basically wherever there is a tourist there is a Kilwin's," Jackson said.
Kilwin's also does party platters, just in case you want to feed the gang for a party.
Burger 'N Que
17400 Wolf Rd., Orland Park
Kilwin's Chocolates & Ice Cream
15222 S. LaGrange Rd., Orland Park
The 6th annual Epicurean Classic, scheduled for August 28-30 in St. Joseph, MI. Dozens of cooking demonstrations, wine/beer/cheese tastings, and a series of chef-hosted dinners and receptions. Notables include: Jacquy Pfeiffer, founder of Chicago's French Pastry School; and Detroit chef Dan Yamauchi, named one of Food & Wine's Best New Chefs in America.