If you live in the suburbs, chances are you've started to notice a few "city-quality" restaurants popping up in your town. That's the case in west suburban Glen Ellyn, where Fire+Wine (formerly Flour+Wine) offers sophisticated food in a lovely location.
The menu specializes in wood-fired pizza and small plates. During our visit, we marveled at the melt-in-your-mouth delicious zucchini fries and the creamy, garlicky arancini mozzarella, but other items sounded equally alluring. The pizzas focus on classic flavor profiles-we loved the contrast of arugula and prosciutto on our Parma Classic-although you can change it up with more unexpected combinations like Burrata+Pistachio or Pancetta+Organic Egg.
Each week, there's a separate "Chef's Playground" menu, designed to "excite and satisfy your inner foodie." If you like the sound of Shrimp+Lobster Risotto or California Peach Salad, be sure to ask your server about the menu. There are also gluten-free pasta and pizza options (add $2.50) and a surprisingly large kids' menu, if you just have to bring the tykes along.
If you still have room for dessert, the Nutella Calzone and Italian Doughnuts are perfect for sharing. As for drinks, you can't go wrong with the extensive wine list-it's in the restaurant's name, after all-but there is also a wide selection of beer and other drinks from the bar.
Perhaps already recognizing its natural fit for girls' night out, Fire+Wine has designated "Third Thursdays" the official ladies' night, with live music and 1/3-off bottles of wine.
Fire+Wine doesn't take reservations, but it does have a call-ahead list that can significantly cut down on long wait times.
To take full advantage of your date night sitter, head just across the train tracks to the Glen Art Theatre, which has been operating in downtown Glen Ellyn since the 1920s. The theater shows a mixture of art films and wide releases, so there's likely to be something to appeal to your taste. Plus, with tickets at $7, it's cheaper-and more charming-than seeing a movie at your local megaplex.
Both locations are easily accessible to the Glen Ellyn Metra station, so even city folks can get a taste of what the suburbs have to offer.
Elizabeth Diffin is the associate editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
See more of Elizabeth's stories here.