Dueling Piano Bar Debuts

Appears in the December 2019 issue.

When it comes to piano bars, one is a lonely number: One piano. One singer. One microphone. One sorry sot at the bar, barely listening while he drinks one martini.

Contrast that with a new bar concept, now open in Rosemont. Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar (5540 Park Place, petesduelingpianobar.com) built its reputation with four locations in Texas featuring an explosion of sound and a menu full of specialty cocktails. Think two baby grand pianos, two teams of dueling pianists rotating sets throughout the night, and schooners of 52-ounce drinks with five straws for sharing. 

It’s a boisterous, high-energy musical experience in a 6,000-square-foot venue—plenty of room for the wait staff to sing and dance along with the audience. Did someone say bachelorette party?

As you sing along, soothe your vocal chords with the signature Lucky Duck schooner made with tropical punch vodka, blue curaçao, muddled lemon, and lemonade. Or try the Pineapple Express, a blend of black cherry vodka, coconut rum, and tropical juices and liqueurs.

Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., with shows starting at 8 p.m. Admission is $10/person on Fridays and Saturdays. Visitors must be 21 or over to enter; those between the ages of 18 to 20 may enter with a parent and a valid photo ID.—KA 

Photo courtesy Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar

Hey there, 2020

Out with the old, in with the new. Say farewell to 2019 at these suburban celebrations.

151 Kitchen|Bar
The second annual New Year’s Eve masquerade includes passed hors d’oervres, an open bar, grazing stations, desserts, a Champagne toast, a DJ, and party favors. $125/person. 151 North York Street. 151elmhurst.com

Abbington Distinctive Banquets
Welcome 2020 with hot and cold hors d’oeuvres—including a seafood bar—followed by a four- course dinner and open bar. Tickets include party favors, a balloon drop, and Champagne toast, plus a late-night buffet and sweet table. $140–$165. 3S002 IL Rte. 53. abbingtonbanquets.com

Doubletree by Hilton 
Gala packages include an opening reception with passed hors d’oeuvres, five-hour open bar featuring “Shaken . . . Not Stirred” martinis, five-course dinner with wine, and a Champagne toast at midnight. $289–$499. 7 p.m. 3003 Corporate West Drive. eventbrite.com

Mesón Sabika
Ring in the New Year Spanish style with tapas, filet, lobster, and dessert. Spanish guitar and flamenco dancer performers begin at 7 p.m. Reservations required. Mesón Sabika, 1025 Aurora Ave. mesonsabika.com

Santa Cielo
The two-hour dining experience includes a four-course tasting menu; party favors and a midnight toast are optional. Reservations required. Seatings at 5, 7, and 9:30 p.m. $70–$90. 123 Water St. stcielo.com

Enjoy live entertainment, a chef-inspired menu, and unlimited game play from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.  for up to six guests, plus party favors to go along with the glow-in-the-dark theme for the night. Upgrade to the VIP experience for exclusive access to a premium holiday dinner buffet and a bottle of bubbly to share with friends. $240–$420 for up to six guests. 3211 Odyssey Ct. topgolf.com

Maggiano’s Little Italy 
Enjoy Windy City Dueling Pianos, dancing, a three-course dinner, and a cash bar. $75/person. 8 p.m. 240 Oakbrook Center. maggianos.com

Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center 
The Through the Decades event features five hours of open bar, heavy hors d’oeuvres, party favors, swag bags, and music by DJs The Bad Boy of Radio, Mike Love of 106.3, and DJ Undercover Que. $90–$170. 8 p.m. 3500 Midwest Rd. oakbrookhillsresortchicago.com

The Drake Oak Brook
Three overnight packages are available which include an open bar, dancing, and party favors. Some packages include dinner, accommodations, and brunch on January 1. Music provided by DJs from X-Fade Entertainment and Remix Entertainment. $90–$550. 6:30 p.m. 2301 York Rd. thedrakeoakbrookhotel.com

New Year’s Eve Celebration
Ring in 2020 with a multi-course dinner at Lucille, a Champagne toast in a commemorative flute, and dancing with a live band until 1 a.m. $45–$70. Seatings at 3, 6, and 9 p.m. 100 Drury Lane. lucillerestaurant.com

Pheasant Run Resort
Packages including a three-course dinner, passed appetizers, dancing, drinks, live music, Champagne toast, and an optional overnight stay. $90–$500. 7 p.m. 4051 E. Main St. pheasantrun.com—KA

showy steak

The word tomahawk conjures up images of manly tools, but in these parts there is a long-handled item that is much more tasty. 

A tomahawk or cowboy-cut steak is a beef rib eye that has five or more inches of extra rib bone. The presentation lends itself to special occasions, like holiday dinner, and we found a couple of places to rustle up this fancy grub. 

Michael Jordan’s Restaurant has a weekday special sure to pull you out of the man cave. On tomahawk Tuesdays the Oak Brook steak house serves a 32-ounce prime tomahawk built for two (yes, you have to share). The beef is flavored with a porcini mushroom rub and served with balsamic ginger jus, two appetizers, two side dishes, and one dessert (if you still have room) for $99 (shown above).

A classic cowboy cut is also found at Eddie Merlot’s in Warrenville, where all steaks are wet-aged for a minimum of 21 days, says manager Ted Elliott. The holiday menu includes a bone-in, 32-ounce prime cut tomahawk—which can be split tableside—for $99.95. The special cut is sourced directly from the Chicago stockyards during the holidays, and is served a la carte with a variety of sides. If the meal doesn’t give you a warm, wintry feel, the ambiance—Eddie’s has over 150 festively decorated Christmas trees—surely will.—MD

Photo courtesy Michael Jordan’s Restaurant


Butternut squash pizza from True Food Kitchen

True Food Kitchen
People who really know food and health know Dr. Andrew Weil. Now open in Oakbrook Center, True Food Kitchen offers seasonal dishes and drinks rooted in Weil’s anti-inflammatory food pyramid. Think you can’t eat healthy and indulge yourself at the same time? Think again with butternut squash pizza (above), Thai coconut sea bass, and the Unbeetable Burger.
105 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook | 630.716.3056, truefoodkitchen.com/oakbrook

Pollyana Brewing Company
With its third Chicago-area taproom, in St. Charles, Pollyana brings its brewing expertise to the far west suburbs. Experiment with the seasonal lagers or brews made with local fruits and spices, or raise a glass of a Pollyana flagship like the Full Lemonty Golden Ale or Lexical Gap IPA.
106 S. Riverside Ave., St. Charles | 630.549.7372, pollyannabrewing.com

Photo courtesy True Food Kitchen