Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, and we can’t wait to get out and start enjoying what makes Chicago’s North Shore so great. Here are some of the best places to eat this Memorial Day weekend and beyond. To see a full list of dining options on Chicago's North Shore click here.
After a dreary winter, it's best to take advantage of beautiful weather as much as possible. Enter outdoor dining. At Fred's Garage (574 Green Bay Road, Winnetka), you'll find the very best according to the 2019 North Shore Choice Awards. The patio here features lounge seating and a game area, and you’ll love dinner items like Fred's Cheese Steak, Salmon Burger, Fried Chicken, Veggie "Meatballs," and Tequila Shrimp Tacos. Or, try Granite City Food & Brewery (992 Willow Road, Northbrook). Start with BBQ Pork Nachos or Cauliflower Wings before moving on to Roasted Prime Rib, Grilled Mahi Tacos, Maple Pepper Bacon Burger, or Not Your Mother's Meatloaf. Of course, when beers are brewed on site, you have to order a drink like The Northern Lager or Prairie Vixen. In Skokie, Nando's Peri Peri (Westfield Old Orchard, Skokie) offers an outdoor patio where you can enjoy anything from chicken to sandwhiches or salads all seasoned to perfection with Nando's own peri-peri spice. Afterwards, take a stroll and enjoy the beautiful outdoor landscaping and fountains at Westfield Old Orchard and stock up on all of your summer wardrobe needs.
Fred's Garage, Winnetka
Grab & Go
If you prefer to grab food and enjoy it at one of the North Shore's most picturesque spots (more on that later), these restaurants are perfect for your picnic needs. For tasty barbecue, Hecky's Barbecue (1902 Green Bay Road, Evanston) is a must-visit. From the Pulled Pork Sandwich and Baby Back Ribs to Smoked Wings and Catfish, plus sides like macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, and sweet potato fries. Or check out Stacked & Folded (551 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka), where you can opt for sandwiches (stacked) like Duck Bacon BLT and Turkey and Brie or tacos (folded) including Panko Crusted Avocado and Garlic Shrimp. Can't agree on a place? Everyone can grab exactly what they want at Foodstuffs (2106 Central St., Evanston). This gourmet market offers prepared foods like salads and sandwiches, plus bread, cheeses, and meats to complete your perfect picnic. And for a Chicagoland classic, you can't forget Superdawg (333 S. Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling). Whether you pick the drive-in or drive-thru, you'll find pure beef hot dogs topped with mustard, piccalilli, dill pickle, onions, and a hot pepper, plus burgers, shakes, and more drive-in classics.
Where to Go
Memorial Day weekend means beach season is here, so have your picnic with a side of sun and sand. Evanston boasts six public swimming beaches, all of which will open May 25. You can even rent a sailboat or kayak for a full day of fun. Glencoe Beach (55 Hazel Ave., Glencoe) will also be open May 25-27 for the beginning of preseason, and the regular season will begin June 3. Eat under the shaded trellis or a sun shelter before renting a paddleboard, kayak, or sailboat or chairs, cabanas, or umbrellas; playing with your kiddos at the sprayground; or challenging your friends to a game of volleyball. Winnetka's three swimming beachesopen in early June.