Dari Ice Cream and Grill Review – Hebron, IL

Dari Ice Cream and Grill Review

Dari Ice Cream and Grill Review - Hebron, IL Hebron (Illinois, not Palestine) is a dinksquat town of around 1200 in northern Illinois. You may know it as the home of Chris Ferrara, who is in the Bugler Hall of Fame. No? Anyway, it’s right on the border of Wisconsin/Illinois.  Can’t miss it.

They have a Dollar General, that’s kind of exciting. (FYI, the bathrooms are kept locked). And a stoplight (well, flashing red, anyway). A small frozen pizza manufacturer (Champion) (but you can’t buy them there, you have to walk down to the gas station). (Yes, I picked one up, here’s what I thought).

There’s a bar, allegedly famous for good whiskey and bad pizza. (Local gossip, only). A couple or three restaurants, one renown for having a giant fiberglass chicken in the parking lot, then there is Hazels, a cafe and bakery, with excellent breakfasts and lunches. I confess  although the food is great, I went primarily to admire the help.

And then there is “The Dari” – a seasonal ice cream/burger place, right at the flashing red light. There’s a bunch of “mom and pop” places like this around Chicagoland. I like them. Seek them out. Down the road a piece, there’s The Dairy Mart, in Huntley, IL, a place I also like. Wrote about it a few years back. Another great one is Wedl’s, small town in Southern Wisconsin, been selling burgers from a seasonal shack on the sidewalk for a century!

The Dari has a pretty ambitious menu for a small operation. While I was tempted to go for the “gravy sandwich,” I opted for a double cheeseburger and rings, and a small chocolate malt, just because they offer “malts.” Not many people do anymore, sadly.

How was it?

Well, it’s a good value, at $5 for a half pound of ground beef. Excellent bun. There was a sign in the window saying they exclusively use some particular brand, I didn’t pay attention to it at the time.

The beef patties are standard restaurant supply frozen patties. Not a complaint, just an observation. It didn’t seem like they add any of their own seasoning. Very melty American cheese food. Good pickle. Diced onion. Pretty ok.

Onion rings also from a food service supplier. Slight flavor to the batter. These are seasoned, as an ingredient or after. I quite enjoyed them. Best part of the meal for me.

Chocolate malt. Real malt powder. Kinda hard to find anymore. I was hoping for scooped ice cream, but their base is soft serve.

I don’t fault them for any of their ingredients or prep methods. It’s a small operation, small kitchen, in a small town, but can get overwhelmed (when I was at the window, a guy was picking up $156 worth of food orders), so they have to be as efficient as possible.

The burgers were recommended very highly to me. They didn’t live up to the hype. But it was a pleasant day for a drive in the country and to have a meal sitting outside.

As I am a bigly yuge supporter of entrepreneurs, ‘mom and pops’ be sure to visit the nice South Asian couple that runs the gas station / market across the street.


DARI Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Dari Ice Cream and Grill Review
Dari Ice Cream and Grill Review

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Blues BBQ and Grill Review – East Dundee, IL

The Blues BBQ and Grill Review East Dundee

Table top BBQ sauces

So there were these guys, living in Maryland, disgusted with the state of ‘cue in the area, so they bought a truck and created their own.  From there, they have expanded to brick and mortars in  Virginia and East Dundee, IL.   The latter location seems like a stretch for managing, but hey, their working overtime leads to better meal opportunities for me.

I tried to get in here last time through town, but it was closed for a private party.  Not so tonight. “The Blues” peddles a variety of BBQ entrees and styles (KC, Memphis, Savannah).   I enjoy South Carolina / Georgia “yellow” BBQ, which was made famous, I suspect, by the late regional pitmaster Maurice Bessinger, and his regional chain of “Piggy Park” BBQs. In addition to the mustard based sauce, ‘cue in those parts are just as likely to use chopped ham as pulled pork.  It’s a tasty experience.

The full menu at Blues BBQ incorporates the ‘cue with a number of Southern staples and sides, like fried green tomatoes, collard greens and the like.

They make their sauces in-house, and the KC one leans toward the ‘sweet’ end of the taste spectrum, while the others are more the vinegar variety. They have a ‘secret’ kitchen seasoning they call “crack,” which they apply amply to many of the dishes.  If you’re sensitive to salt, as for your hand-cut, fresh fries unseasoned.

I’ve been blessed lately in the burger world, to have consumed some really outstanding beef patties, and tonight was no exception. Prepared as ordered to medium rare, the 8 oz slap o’ meat, dressed with lettuce and a crispy tomato was darned near burger perfection.  The toasted rolls are hearty, soft enough for your palate, but substantial enough to securely hold the patty.

As I previously opined, the menu is lengthy, and I’d stop again to try some of the other dishes – they also have a lot of appetizers that look interesting and some special craft cocktails if you’re into that.

Whether you find yourself in suburban Chicago, Roanoke, VA, or Frederick, MD, look up the Blues BBQ guys for some good grub.

Blues BBQ and Grill Review

Bacon Cheeseburger

Blues BBQ and Grill on Urbanspoon


Blues BBQ and Grill Review

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Cary, IL – Tracks Bar and Grill Review

Tracks Bar and Grill CarySorry for the delay on this one, misplaced the pix for a couple months.  I was heading out to Woodstock, IL (left) (where they shot “Groundhog Day”) to look at a couple of horses for sale.   A pal said, ‘since you’re headed that way, stop at the Tracks Bar and Grill in Cary, and try the burgers.

It doesn’t take much persuading when somebody I trust makes a suggestion like that.

Apparently, everybody in the world knows about this place, except me – it has been around for more than thirty years and year after year gets voted as the best burger in McHenry County.

Well deserved, I say.

I went with the Black and Blue, Cajun seasoning and AMPLE blue cheese chunks (see second pic below, after I lifted off the house-made onion straws to get a peek at the cheese).  These are monster burgers, ten ounces of CERTIFIED Angus beef (if you just see “we serve Angus beef” on a menu – complete bullshit, as 80% of the cows in America are Angus – but CERTIFIED Angus, that IS a big deal).

Anyway, the beef was great, impressive blue cheese, house-made onion straws and chips (the latter are damned hard to make, so kudos to Chef), and one of the finest pickles ever served anywhere. Truly.   I ordered my “Black and Blue” prepared “bleu” and it came as ordered. Perfection. (3rd pic below).

As with most places in the area, they have a Friday night fish fry which is highly touted, and nightly specials, too.

I lifted a menu so you can see it  —  no, not there, over here.

You could take a date, and split a burger, and not even look cheap, cause these suckers will easily feed two.  BTW?  No take outs.  House policy.

At the end of the post, there’s a little video that peeks into the kitchen and process.

Tracks Bar and Grill Cary

Tracks Bar and Grill Cary

Tracks Bar and Grill Cary

Tracks on Urbanspoon

Tracks Bar and Grill Review

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Elgin, IL – Elgin Public House Reviews

Geez I love to be surprised at a restaurant, especially one that has got a rep for burgers – you know, that’s what I write about. Like I was supposed to be amazed at Los Angeles’ Umami Burger, but wasn’t. Across town in West L.A., tho, I was blown away by the burger at Golden State Cafe. Go figure.

Elgin Public House Review

Bleu Horse Burger

I am delighted to say I was surprised  at the Elgin Public House, a massive bar in downtown Elgin, IL.  They’ve been open eight years, and have an incredibly deep menu for hand prepped items.  They have a big selection of burger choices, including two Wagyu, two veggie options, a turkey, and bison.  The beef burgers come in a lot of pre-determined configurations, or you can start from scratch, pick your protein, bun and toppings.  All burgers are served with a choice of a side from a very long list of options.

Mrs BurgerDogBoy went straight for the “The Bleu Horse,” a burger crusted with blue cheese and horseradish, onion straws, and she added pickles and a tomato slice to the brioche bun. She chose Cajun fries as her side. I didn’t try one, but she reported they had a little more heat than she expected.

I went with something way off the usual path for me, their “Saltimbocca Burger,”  topped with prosciutto, fresh Mozzarella and bruschetta.  It was served on a ciabatta roll slathered with red pepper aioli.  I went with their regular fries, which they call “pub fries,”  and they are somewhere between a shoestring and a steak fry in size and texture.

We both ordered our burgers medium rare, and they came……medium rare!  The hand-formed patties had a nice little char on them and a smash treatment.  Tough to get a smashed burger medium rare, kudos to chef.

Anyway, I was blown away by my burger.  These elements come together so perfectly I am at a loss to describe it.  The mozz and bruschetta were chilled, and the aioli brought it all together.  Hot protein, chilled vegetable, great bread durable enough for a heavily topped burger, and a little spice with the aioli.  Magnificent.

Add over the top service from Molly to the experience.  Two burgers, two soft drinks, $24.95.

If there’s a ‘next time,’  I’d give the Wagyu with garlic  Boursin a shot.  I’ve no doubt it would be superb.

Here’s their lengthy menu.

Elgin Public House Review

Burger Saltimbocca


Elgin Public House on Urbanspoon

Elgin Public House Reviews

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