Gourmet Grill

Appears in the June 2021 issue.

Although the walk-up service and laid-back atmosphere at Knead: Urban Eatery (131 S. 1st St., St. Charles, 630.945.3148, kneadurbaneatery.com) could lead people to describe it as fast-casual, there is nothing quick about the creation of its signature dishes. “It’s all from scratch,” says owner Anthony Gargano, a serial restaurateur who also owns Osteria Bigolaro in downtown Geneva and the Burger Shop in St. Charles. “All the sauces and bread are homemade, and the meats are braised for 14 hours.”

Gargano, a classically trained chef who studied in Italy after Chicago’s Le Cordon Bleu, infuses international flavors into Knead’s signature handhelds. “I knew I wanted to something different,” says Gargano. “These sandwiches are entrées, and a lot of care goes into each order.” He says the Indian offering—a crispy chicken thigh slathered in makhana sauce, cilantro chutney, and pickles—is one of its top sellers.

Located in the former Isacco’s space, Knead is tucked into the riverside area of downtown St. Charles just south of Main St. “It’s a cool small spot that seats 22, with a small bar,” says Gargano, “but there are still things that will give you a feel that you’re in a restaurant.”

Photo courtesy Knead