At Country House, burgers are king

Burgers are the mainstay at the Country House and its three locations in Clarendon Hills, Lisle and Geneva. In fact, its website is burgerone.com.

You can find Elk Burger, Buffalo Burger or the best seller Top Drawer Burger, a custom blend of ground brisket, short rib and whole chuck.

But the menu, which is similar at the three spots and includes daily specials, also lists some unusual dishes.

On the Big Plates menu, you can find Kentucky Bourbon Steak, Tournedos and a German Wurst Platter. Duck Tenders are on the appetizers menu. Other specialties include Pretzel-Crusted Walleye Pike featuring a tartar sauce mixed with Louisiana hot sauce.

"We're always looking for something to serve that's unique," said Dean Timson, part-owner and general manager of all three restaurants. "Even if it doesn't sell the best, people will talk about it and remember it. Like Duck Tenders. It's rare to find that on a menu."

"Inspiration comes from all over the place," said Timson of Western Springs.

The mini-burgers — three "baby burgers" served with cheese and choice of potato — are the best-selling appetizers. Burgers account for about 60 percent of sales, Timson said, adding that the Buffalo Burger is the second-best selling burger, bested by the Top Drawer.

"You can order a burger any way you want," said Timson, referring to recent weekly specials like the Bourbon Bacon Burger and Bronx Burger. His personal favorite is the Top Drawer on dark rye with Swiss cheese and grilled onions.

In the more than 40 years of Country House history — 20 years in Geneva — many on staff have been here for years, serving lots of regular customers.

On a recent Saturday night, server Renae Marshall of Elburn approached a table and said, "We're really fancy here at Country House." She then sprinkles salt on the cocktail napkins to keep them from sticking to the glasses and shares a hearty laugh.

At the next table, she learned that the elderly couple just moved to Geneva, and she pointed out places for them to visit. One of them was Ream's Meat Market in Elburn, which supplies some of the meats to Country House.

"Their meat is all so good!" she gushed at the next table. Regular customers ask for Marshall and other servers by name, asking to sit in their section.

The Country House philosophy — "something I'd want to embroider and put on the door," Timson mused — is "Come in for a good time, meet your neighbors, have a drink or a beer, come in and relax."

Pricing: Appetizers from $6.99 for Tender Fried Clams to Country Combo Platter for $12.99. Soups from $3.99 for cup of daily special to Baked French Onion for $4.99. Salad from $9.49 for Country House Chopped for $9.49 to Cashew Chicken Salad for $12.49. Sandwiches from $9.49 for Muffaletta to Hot Pastrami for $11.49. Dinners from $10.99 for Southwest Chicken Pasta to $14.99 for Pretzel-Crusted Walleye Pike. Burgers from $8.99 for Turkey Burger to $13.99 for Elk Burger. Big Plates from $9.49 for Southwest Chicken Wrap to $21.49 for Tournedos. Kids' menu from $3.99 for spaghetti with garlic bread to $5.99 for chicken tenders. Desserts from $4.95 for Key Lime Pie to $5.99 for Country House Brownie Delight.

Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. Bar open until 1 a.m.

The Country House is at 2095 S. Kirk Road, Geneva. There are also locations in Clarendon Hills and Lisle. Call 630-208-8181 or go to burgerone.com.

Shonda Talerico Dudlicek is a freelance writer.

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