Naperville may have a small town feel, but did you know it’s the fifth largest city in Illinois? It’s no surprise, then, that this western suburb has a great restaurant scene with some fun new additions. Here are our favorite new taste treats in Naperville that will delight all ages.
The opening of Molly’s Cupcakes, their first suburban Chicago location, was big news around town, so it’s not shocking that they sold out of cupcakes in just a couple hours on opening day. Fortunately, supply is high now and the crowds are a little lighter. It’s still a popular place, but know that your patience will be rewarded with an amazing taste treat. The wait is worth it.
If you have little ones who have eyes bigger than their stomachs, opt for a mini molly size. And if you need a parental pick-me-up, check out their lattes and other coffee drinks. The shop itself is adorable, with fun swings and a large chalkboard on the wall displaying both the table of cupcake element as well as some legit math. “This is a good overview of my precalc class!” exclaimed my high school junior upon closer examination. Speaking of school, the store is named for the founder’s third grade teacher and a portion of proceeds benefit local schools.
30 W. Jefferson Ave., Naperville
Fat Rosie’s describes itself as a taco and tequila bar. Sounds fun, right? It is. And it’s surprisingly family friendly.
The kids’ menu features quesadillas and tacos with rice and beans as well as fish strips and chicken nuggets. Those who have teens with bottomless stomachs may want to investigate the El Patron Gordo burrito, which weighs in at a whopping three pounds. Eat it in under 12 minutes and it’s free.
For those with smaller appetites, there are ten different kinds of tacos that you can mix and match. (We had 3 different ones each and can say that all six were tasty.) The brightly-colored interior includes several nods to the original Fat Rosie—the beloved donkey of an agave farmer in Mexico for whom the restaurant is named. There is also a Fat Rosie’s in Frankfort.
47 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville
Hot pot is the name for the Mongolian-style tabletop cooking that takes place at this restaurant. A literal hot pot full of flavorful broth (regular and spicy, or some of each) is placed in the middle of the table. Thinly-sliced meats cook quickly in the broth and there are lots of vegetarian options, too, including greens, mushrooms and noodles.
The restaurant says it was a “forerunner to the modern fondue.” The act of cooking together around the table is fun and interactive. Parents of little ones will need to be responsible for the cooking and keeping kids safe, as the broth is hot. It’s doable but involves some parental vigilance. It’s a great way to introduce a new culture and kids appreciate the free soft-serve ice cream. Tweens and teens are big fans.
1170 Iroquois, Naperville
This farm to table restaurant in the old Heaven on Seven location is a great option for date night. The menu includes a grown-up version of mac and cheese that features blue cheese-pistachio crust. Entrees include unique takes on comfort food, including pheasant pot pie and 12-hour braised short ribs. Because items are locally sourced whenever possible, the menu may change. The cocktails also get rave reviews.
224 S. Main St., Naperville
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