By Ryan Noel, Editor
Jimmy’s Grill might offer the best patio seating in the area.
Located at 245 S. Washington Ave. in Naperville, Jimmy’s is a frequent stop for out-of-towners and for people looking for a place to hangout.
The atmosphere is what makes Jimmy’s such a hit—the food is good, but the experience is second-to-none. While the interior may seem to be a typical grill-style restaurant, it has a slightly upscale feel with modernized tables and its plain-yet-sophisticated walls.
But it’s the outdoor patio seating that really makes Jimmy’s a catch. Although spacing is inadequate, the patio makes it seem as if a neighborhood barbeque is taking place, not a sit down lunch or dinner. Situated on a busy street, the patio can get noisy at times, but conversations can still carry on with a slightly raised voice.
The food at Jimmy’s isn’t anything to die for, but it still fills up an empty stomach. With an American-style menu, some of the dishes include rib ($14 for a half slab), Poblano Jack burger ($11) and pork belly tacos ($12).
The ribs come out drenched in barbeque sauce and are accompanied by French fries, coleslaw and baked beans. The French fries may be a little bland, but that’s nothing a little salt and ketchup can’t help; baked beans complement the ribs very well.
The ribs were the obvious highlight of the platter. The meat pretty much falls off the bone, and the sauce is rich and has a little tangy kick; of course, wet nap were needed because the ribs are messy.
Another great selection is the Poblano Jack burger, which brings a different twist to the burger world with grilled Poblano peppers and Pepper Jack cheese. The burger is something any spicy food lover would enjoy. It isn’t huge, but along with a side of fries, the plate fills up almost any hungry person. Mine was slightly over-cooked—I ordered medium well and it was more well-—but it didn’t hamper the taste.
Then there’s the pork belly tacos. The name made me a little suspicious as to what would be on the plate before me. Usually when trying something new, scanning the menu takes a while, but I saw the pork belly tacos and that was it—I didn’t see that it came with apples on it. The apples, however, made the tacos even better. It gives a sweet aftertaste to the tacos and made them even more desirable.
Along with the apples, the near-perfection pork was tender and juicy, and the tomatillo sauce topped everything off. The pork belly tacos went from being my wild-card pick to my favorite dish, a definite must-try for first time diners at Jimmy’s.
Patio atmosphere aside, Jimmy’s is still a quality restaurant: good food, good service and good pricing. Throw in its unmatched outdoor patio seating and the downtown Naperville prestige, and it becomes a highly desirable food joint.
2. Potter’s Place
Yet another downtown Naperville gem, Potter’s Place is a nice restaurant to take friends to hangout and grab a bite to eat.
The patio seating is a close second to Jimmy’s, but it’s the food that ultimately places Potter’s behind Jimmy’s in our outdoor-seating comparison.
Featuring a Mexican-themed menu, none of the food is excellent, but it’s still above average.
Potter’s staple is its Christmas Tree Burrito ($12.95). Named for its red (tomatoes), green (guacamole) and white (sour cream) colors, it’s one of their most-ordered items.
The burrito is above-average, but for meat-lovers it can be a disappointment because the vegetables and other fillers dominate the meat.
Dessert at Potter’s isn’t too shabby either, with favorites such as fried ice cream and their Potter’s crispers (both $4.99).
Potter’s Place is a great runner-up for an outdoor eating experience and should be on any summer to-do list.
3. Tribella Bar and Grill
A great place to have a nice, sit-down Italian dinner on a warm, summer night is Tribella Bar and Grill.
This Batavia restaurant offers all the Italian classics, such as lightly breaded chicken parmesan ($16), Tuscan rib eye marinated in garlic ($27) and linguini alfredo topped with aged parmesan ($13). The dessert is a must-have also. They offer items like tiramisu and turtle cheesecake.
The indoor décor is upscale, but still homey, with accents such as wood panelling and dim lighting. There are many seating options indoors, but prime seating is the patio. Eating dinner outside in the screened-in patio is ideal for summer nights.
Compared to most restaurants, Tribella offers a decent-sized outdoor seating area. The environment feels like eating out on the patio at home, but since it’s screened in, there are no bugs, which is a huge plus.
4. Bien Trucha
Downtown Geneva is a popular destination in the summer, and Bien Trucha is the perfect Mexican restaurant to try.
It’s a small place to find, but the food is phenomenal. Their specialty is tacos, and they have a variety to choose from, such as pescado (beer-battered tilapia), arrachera (grilled steak), pollo (shredded chicken) and even pescadillas (shark). An order of four tacos runs $9.95-10.95.
Bien Trucha hand makes their own soft-taco shells that come to the table fresh and warm, and the menu includes appetizers, soups and salads.
One of Bien Trucha’s best assets is their outdoor seating; however, the downside is that there are only a couple of tables. The indoor seating is already cramped and in-demand, so be sure get there early if planning to sit outside. Another downside is that the tables aren’t capable of seating many people, but the food is so delicious that no one will be disappointed.
If no outside tables are available, still experience Bien Trucha, as it is one of Geneva’s finest Mexican restaurants.
When going out with the family this summer, try Tribella and ask for outdoor seating to ensure an Italian dinner in comfort.