Chicago is a food-lovers town, but don’t forget about the excellent options available in the Chicago suburbs. In Hinsdale, for instance, one of the newest and best suburban offerings has just opened to the public. Fuller House, Hinsdale’s first pub-style, family friendly restaurant, now offers classic cocktails, craft beer, an extensive bourbon program and upscale, American pub fare in the heart of downtown Hinsdale.
The rustic, 3,400 square foot space is stunning, featuring exposed brick, salvaged oak (from a barn that once housed a Kentucky Derby winner) and suspended, 400 year old beams sourced from a Chicago church. The large U-shaped bar, made of alder wood, seats 22 and features an intriguing draft beer system that stems from the ceiling. The decor also includes barrels from local distilleries, industrial Edison bulbs and restrooms with unique penny-covered floors.
I was recently invited to bring a friend and sample the offerings at Fuller House, starting with the extensive beverage menu. Fuller House’s beverage program features 21 bourbon and ryes, an impressive and changing array of craft beers on draft, and a small but intriguing wine list. They also have a superb craft cocktail menu, but the real star is the whiskey. Ask for your whiskey on the rocks and you will have your choice of hand-crafted ice in the shape of a globe, a cube, or a diamond. The crystal-clear ice is a perfect complement – both visually and for taste – to the artisan whiskeys.
The Fuller House menu is focused on what you might call “comfort food” and they do it very well. My guest and I had the pleasure of sampling a number of items, and all of them were uniformly excellent.
- The Buffalo Shrimp were perfectly cooked with just enough sauce to give a nice kick, but without overwhelming the flavor of the shrimp. The presentation of this dish, too, was superb.
- Don’t miss out on the Fried Pickles. I know that sounds like a boring, standard appetizer but Fuller House does it very well, and serves a nice, spicy remoulade sauce on the side for an added zip.
- What’s more comforting than grilled cheese? Brisket Grilled Cheese, of course! Add some tasty brisket to the already flavorful sandwich and it elevates the plain old grilled cheese to new levels. Try this one with the Parmesan Truffle Fries and you will thank me for the suggestion.
- Although we didn’t sample the Day & Night Burger, it looked unbelievable! It’s a half pound of meat with over easy egg, avocado, provolone, and bacon. This is definitely on my list for my next visit, paired of course with those truffle parmesan fries and a shot of artisan bourbon.
Fuller House also houses a wood-fired pizza oven that cooks a pizza in two minutes. The Neopolitan-style pizzas are cooked to order and include both traditional varieties (Margherita, Pepperoni & Ricotta) and more inventive “American” types (BBQ Chicken, Sausage & Carmelized Onion). We opted for the Pepperoni & Ricotta, a 10″ pie that comes cut into four pieces – perfect for sharing as an appetizer or part of a larger meal. The crust was not super thin, but was certainly not overpowering and doughy. Rather, it was light and crisp. The simple ingredients gave this one a fresh and satisfying flavor.
Although we were full, we had to at least sample some of the desserts:
- Chocolate Chip Salted Pretzel Cookie Skillet – What’s not to love? This is a decadent dessert, definitely one for sharing. The combination of the salted pretzel, caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream, and chocolate makes for a sublime (and filling) experience.
- Bourbon Banana Pudding Jar – I am not generally a fan of bananas, but this may have converted me. The combination is light yet densely flavorful. And who doesn’t love a little bourbon in their dessert?
- Strawberry Shortcake – Nothing fancy, but light and fluffy and delicious. While strawberries are still full of flavor, you should try this one.
Fuller House is open Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-12 a.m. You can reach them at (630) 537-1653 or [email protected]. For more information, visit their website or follow their social media conversations on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.