Burr Ridge Restaurants, Patrons Push for Al Fresco Dining


Becky Neilsen pours a glass of wine from the decanter and dispenser for Dave Brezak on the outdoor patio at Cooper’s Hawk. | Photos by Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media

Al fresco is just a fancy way to say “eating outside;” and, in Burr Ridge, there are more places than ever to do so.

“Everybody wants to eat outside,” said Community Development Director Doug Pollock.

He said the recent surge in requests from restaurants to add outdoor seating is a good sign for the local economy.

“It tells me they are probably filling up quite a bit,” he said.

After approving plans for outdoor dining areas at Wok N Fire and Starbucks in April, the Burr Ridge Plan Commission this week approved two more plans — for an addition to the patio at Topaz and for outdoor seating at Great American Bagel.

Capri Restaurant asked the Plan Commission on Monday for permission to add an outdoor holding area, where people can sit and wait for their table. That plan also was given the go-ahead.

According to Becky Fleck, director of special events at Topaz in Village Center, people are often willing to wait for a table if it means they can dine outdoors. With its outdoor bar and fireplace, the patio at Topaz also is a popular place to lounge, she said. The new space will provide a place to do so, without prolonging the wait for diners hoping for an outdoor table.

“A lot of times people want to have a cocktail party prior to their sit-down dinner,” she said.

The new area will feature couches and high-top tables, along with an additional fireplace, where diners and private parties can relax and socialize.

After several years without outdoor seating, Cooper’s Hawk opened its outdoor dining room this month, giving diners an additional seating option. Melanie Pierce, director of marketing and communications for Cooper’s Hawk, said the addition was in response to customer requests.

“It’s about giving customers what they want,” Pierce said.

Steve Singleton, manager of Eddie Merlot’s, said customers ask every day about the addition of an outdoor dining area.

“We’re in business to please our guests,” Singleton said, so plans are in the works for an outdoor area with a fireplace.

Eddie Merlot’s plans will be before the Plan Commission on May 21.

While the plans approved Monday will have to go before the Village Board before work can begin, Pollock said he sees no reason why the plans won’t get the special-use permits needed to proceed.

Special Valentine’s Day Menus at Some Burr Ridge Restaurants


By Sabrina Wu

Looking for someplace to take that special someone on Valentine’s Day to show him/ her how much you heart them?

In Burr Ridge cherub-like employees of two restaurants are lovingly putting out a special spread:

Cooper’s Hawk Winery  – On the menu is one large lobster tail and 3 oz steak medallions for $27.99. Regular menu options will also be available. Call for reservations.

Topaz Cafe is serving up a $65 four course dinner. The menu is available online. Call for reservations.

New Years Eve Celebrations In and Around Burr Ridge


By Sabrina Wu and Joe O’Donnell

New Year’s Eve for Procrastinators: If you’re a no-reservations, no-plans sort of person, there are still options for New Year’s Eve. Here’s the scoop on restaurants with open tables and ones taking walk-ins.

If you’re one of those last-minute people who won’t join the New Year’s Eve countdown until it gets to “Three!,” you’ll be happy to know there are still some options open to celebrate the big night.

In Burr Ridge

Dao Sushi and Thai—The Asian fusion restaurant will be selling a New Year’s Eve package for $50 a person, which includes two appetizers, open bar from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. and a champagne toast at midnight. Customers will still be able to order a regular dinner until 11 p.m., but no reservations for after 8:30 p.m. will be taken. New Year’s Eve package ticket holders are guaranteed a table, and walk-ins are welcome.

Eddie Merlot’s—Burr Ridge’s new beef and seafood restaurant will be serving its regular menu to a live band on New Year’s Eve from 8 p.m. to midnight. There is no cover charge to enter, and the restaurant is still taking reservations (as of the time of this publication.)

Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant—Cooper’s Hawk winery and restaurant has two specials running for New Year’s Eve. The first is a surf and turf meal for $34.99, which includes beef tenderloin medallions and a lobster tail. There also is a prime 10-ounce bone-in-rib filet special for $32.99. As of the time of this publication, only reservations before 3 p.m. are still available, but the restaurant will still accept walk-ins.

Ristorante Capri—The Italian restaurant is serving a six-course meal for $100, plus tax and tip, that includes an appetizer, soup, salad, pasta dish (two types,) meat and fish dish. There will be a dessert table with fresh fruit and coffee. The restaurant is only accepting reservations for 140 people. As of the time of this publication, 75 reservations have been made. There will be open seating at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., and the set menu will begin at 9 p.m. Live entertainment will be provided.

Topaz—The American contemporary restaurant will be offering a special, price-fixed menu for $65 a person. The meal will include an appetizer/starter, salad, entree and dessert. Customers will have four choices in each category— (five in the entree category.) Highlights include a grilled quail starter with buttermilk waffles, house scrambled sausage and bourbon syrup; an arugula salad with coffee-cured duck breast, orange balsamic and fried potatoes; a grilled 6-ounce filet entree with truffle potatoes, grilled asparagus and lobster hollandaise, and a lava cake dessert with hazelnut gelato, hazelnuts and strawberry sauce. (You can check out the full menu by clicking on the pdf to the right.)

Marriott Burr Ridge New Year’s Eve package—For $149 a night, the Burr Ridge hotel is offering guests overnight accommodations on New Year’s Eve with an extended check-out at 1 p.m. on New Year’s Day; breakfast for two adults at Ciazza, the hotel’s American restaurant; a bottle of Cooper’s Hawk “Blanc de Blanc” sparkling wine and a complimentary tasting for two at Cooper’s Hawk Winery. Reservations are still being accepted, and the deal is only available between now and Jan. 1, 2012. The package can be booked online using the promotional code EVE or by calling 1-800-228-9290.

Outside Burr Ridge (AKA Hinsdale and Clarendon Hills)

Maijean—On its final night of service before closing its doors Jan. 1, Maijean will serve a five-course New Year’s dinner Saturday night, complete with champagne, for $75 per person.

Zak’s Place—For $65, guests on New Year’s Eve will get a four-course meal, beginning with a soup/salad course that includes options like lobster bisque and duck salad.

Il Poggiolo—For the young (and young at heart), Il Poggiolo is holding a kids New Year’s celebration beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday and ending with a countdown at 7 p.m. A set menu, which has yet to be finalized, will be featured. The event will cost $35 for adults and $15 for kids.

After 7 p.m., the restaurant’s regular menu will be featured and the place will stay open through midnight, when a free champagne toast will be held.

Scapa—The restaurant’s full menu will be featured Saturday, complete with New Year’s Eve specials. There will be live music from Paint Life New and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. Snacks and party favors will be included, as well.

Nabuki—The Asian fusion restaurant will be serving specialty rolls and specialty drinks Saturday night. Food will be served from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., but the bar will stay open into the new year. A complimentary champagne toast will be held.

Redd Herring—Guests on Saturday can order off Redd Herring’s regular menu, which will feature ribeye and lobster specials beginning at 4 p.m. There will also be specials on bottles of champagne and the bar will stay open through the new year.

*Read more what these Hinsdale and Clarendon Hills restaurants have in store here.

Really outside Burr Ridge (AKA within reasonable driving/cabbing distance)

Tavern On La Grange was still accepting reservations as of Tuesday night. Revelers can opt for dinner plus open bar ($125) or open bar only ($100). The open bar will open at 9 p.m. Groove Dynasty performs at 9:30, along with DJ Rich Huerta. The dinner includes a bottle of champagne. Black tie is optional. For reservations, call 708-469-7750 speak with Jim Sr. or Email: jim@tavernonlagrange.com

Willowbrook Ballroom, 8900 S. Archer Ave. Willow Springs, 708-839-1000—For a classic New Year’s Eve, Willowbrook Ballroom has been ringing in new years since opening in 1921. A cocktail reception with a cash bar begins at 7 p.m., followed by dinner packages ranging from $85 to $120 per person, including dancing to the Teddy Lee Orchestra and a champagne toast at midnight. If you just want to dance, the dance package is $35 per person before Dec. 30 and $45 thereafter or at the door. Dancing goes from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. and the package includes party hats, horns, snacks, coffee, cookies, a giant countdown clock and thousands of balloons dropped at midnight.


Ring in the New Year at These Local Hot Spots


By Jessica Rosenberg

Got your party hat and list of resolutions to forget, that is, keep in 2011? If you haven’t made plans yet for Friday, these local bars and restaurants will have plenty to offer as we bid adieu to 2010. Cheers!

Topaz Café

Topaz Café, 780 Village Center Dr., is offering a New Year’s Eve prix fixe four-course meal. The courses include appetizers, soup or salad, an entrée and dessert. Drinks are separate. There are still a few reservations available, otherwise, stake out a seat at the bar. The kitchen will serve dinner until 10 p.m. and the bar is open until midnight.

Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant

The tasting room and restaurant at Cooper’s Hawk, 510 Village Center Dr., will be open until 10 p.m. and the bar will close around 11 p.m. Michael Beetley will provide live entertainment from 7 to 10 p.m.

Dao Sushi and Thai

Before your party gets underway, come in to Dao Sushi and Thai, 200 Burr Ridge Pkwy., for drinks and sushi. Dao will be open 4:30 to 11 p.m. Friday.

The Kerry Piper      

Open until 2 a.m. Saturday, The Kerry Piper, 7900 Joliet Rd., will have plenty of specials including deals on Goose Island beer and Bacardi drinks. The Dub Currents will hit the stage at 9 p.m.

Capri Ristorante

Live music by Nick Pontarelli begins at 9 p.m. at Capri Ristorante, 324 Burr Ridge Pkwy. Reservations are almost full for dinner which includes a dessert bar and champagne toast at midnight. There is room at the bar, which will open well after midnight for drinks and champagne.

Related Topics: Capri, Coopers Hawk, Events, Holiday, New Years Eve, and Topaz