Tap In Pub & Carvery—That’s A Gimme

June 2023 View more

N2013_11_01_004TABLEPhoto by Greg Shapps

From the basket-toting masses on the Springbrook driving range to the Titleist-stocked ponds of Tamarack, Naperville can rightly be described as a golf-loving town, making the idea of a golf-themed eatery something of a natural fit. Of course, “theme” can get you only so far down the fairway in the restaurant business, but fortunately the folks behind the Tap In Pub & Carvery have thought beyond the simple novelty of golf terminology and décor in putting together the latest addition to the growing CityGate complex on the city’s far northwest side. So while the flags, bags and memorabilia of the game are all certainly present to set a sporting tone for the place, as well as a few high-tech golf simulators coming soon, the real difference between par and birdie here lies in what’s on the plate, not on the walls, making this a worthwhile destination for golf aficionados and agnostics alike.

Separate Tees

N2013_11_01_078DININThe physical layout of the Tap In divides the handsome room between pub on the right and dining room on the left, even though the full food and drink menus are available throughout. Also present throughout are flat screens tuned into golf, as well as most any other competitive sport transmittable via satellite.

In the bar area and, in warmer months, on the adjacent patio, locals and out-of-towners mix and mingle over a range of specialty cocktails named for legendary golfers including several adult variations on the famed Arnold Palmer iced tea/lemonade combo, a wide array of craft beers on tap including local and seasonal favorites from the likes of Two Brothers and Solemn Oath, and $2 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon for that throwback municipal links feel. They also feast on some of the tempting appetizers, including a sneak preview version of the restaurant’s standing Saturday night special—a sampler of ribs in a deliciously rich and tangy sauce.

A Welcome Slice

N2013_11_01_006TABLEThe entrée ledger is split three ways, with a healthy selection of pizzas, an outstanding lineup of sandwiches, and a handful of main courses. The kids’ menu is straightforward, but in a nice play for both value and local interest, little duffers under five eat for only a buck—which is then earmarked to support either School District 203 or 204.

Given the prominence of the word “carvery” here, it was no surprise to find that most of the sandwiches and even some of the pizzas employ hand-carved turkey, roast beef, ham, pastrami or roast pork in their creation—an appealing slice indeed, even for a golfer. But playing up the hand-carved aspect of the process is no mere gimmick at the Tap In—the difference is impressive and well worth noting.

N2013_11_01_005TABLETake the Thanksgiving sliders, for instance, perhaps a tough sell in this month of poultry overload. But it’s here that having hand-carved turkey breast instead of pre-packaged slices makes all the difference in the appeal of the finished product—though the sage stuffing, cranberry relish and dense rolls certainly deserve their share of the credit as well. On the side are a basket of crisp cottage fries and a pickle jar boasting several varieties and flavors—a great complement for the sandwich trio, and a quirky, unique touch that seems destined to become the Tap In’s version of Augusta National’s famous $1.50 pimento cheeses. In a charming touch, the whole spread is served on its own individual-sized carving board.

So fear not, Naperville golfers, as autumn succumbs to winter and the once-full trees that have swatted down so many of your brilliant shots mock you in their leafless solitude—your golfing dreams, nightmares, and tall tales finally have a new off-season home.

Tap In Pub & Carvery
2155 CityGate Lane