Village organizers have been touting Hinsdale as the “culinary gem of the Western suburbs” with a growing restaurant scene of family friendly Italian fare, pub-style bites, brunch options and pizza, as well as fine dining and a neighborhood steakhouse.
And now in its fourth year, Hinsdale Restaurant Week returns May 13 to May 22, fully loaded to show off the town’s extensive breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert options.
“The restaurant scene in Hinsdale continues to thrive,” said Kathleen Gargano, Village Manager of Hinsdale. “The customer base for our restaurants extends beyond Hinsdale borders as word continues to spread of the wonderful food options available.”
Organizers said it was important to keep outdoor dining a big piece of the operation for some restaurants that had excess seating capacity from pivoting during the early days of the pandemic.
Restaurants with outdoor dining available include Café La Fortuna, new-to Hinsdale Garden Berry Cafe, IL Poggiolo, and Fuller House, which has outdoor heated tents.
Giuliano’s Ristorante won’t have their outdoor patio ready in time, but they do have a solid deal as part of restaurant week.
“Every year we’ve done something intricate, so we wanted to do something very simple this year,” said Cathy Weisz, who owns Giuliano’s Ristorante with her husband, Mickey Weisz. The pair is offering a free appetizer or ‘shared plate’ item to anyone who purchases two entrees. “It just seems to be better with less rules,” Weisz added.
The Italian spot has been a fixture in downtown Hinsdale since 1998 and celebrated their 24th anniversary this May. Weisz said it was important for them to let the “already full” menu shine.
Some of their most popular appetizers include charred carrots served with balsamic glaze, goat cheese and toasted almonds ($9.50), a flatbread with arugula, balsamic glaze and prosciutto ($12.50), and burrata cheese with an almond honey ham, crostini, chewy dates and prosciutto ($12).
New to the lineup this year is Sauced Pizzeria — formerly Baldinelli Pizza — on 114 S. Washington Street. Owner Greg White said they’re building on the 36-year legacy of Baldinelli with an updated menu and extensive drink additions launching in time for restaurant week.
White said he recommends the latest signature pizza — an artisan honey beer crust with a spicy marinara that’s already building a following. “Beyond pizza, we have some delicious new items: garlic knots, Italian egg rolls, caprese salad, a chicken sandwich called The Mother Clucker and to close it out gelato or homemade cheesecake with berry sauce,” he said.
Sauced Pizzeria is taking a “pick your own adventure” approach for restaurant week with two different dinner menus. Customers can take the “build your pasta” route or choose a 14-inch two topping pizza. Both dinner-for-two options are $45 and include the choice of an appetizer, two salads and a shareable dessert of either cheesecake or tiramisu.
Organizers said this year’s roster of 13 restaurants has something for everyone — from homestyle diners like Egg Harbor Cafe (now in a new location on 29 E. First Street) and downtown Parisian cafe, Toni Patisserie, to the popular contemporary sushi spot in Nabuki.
For those who want to stick with carryout, Altamura Pizza, located on 9 W. First Street is offering 10% off any of their pizzas during restaurant week.
Owner Carmela St. John continues to combine homemade recipes with locally-sourced specialty cheeses, meats and take-home-and-bake pizzas that are made using a stone-baked imported crust.
New to the menu are a couple variations of arancini, or fried Italian rice balls that are stuffed at Altamura with Bolognese meat, mozzarella and peas, or a vegetarian spinach and ricotta. ($2.95-$8.95 for singles; 4-pack and 9-pack also available.)
For a sweet fix, customers are encouraged to sink their teeth into a flaky puff pastry imported from Sicily that’s filled with Sicilian goat’s milk ricotta cheese and dusted with sugar.
St. John said the pastries come frozen “straight from Italy,” and customers can buy them frozen or fully baked. “I love the look on people’s faces when they take their first bite because honestly it’s not like anything you’ve tasted before,” she said. ($5.95 per pastry.)
Because they’re a take-home-and-bake shop, they’re not fully equipped to serve guests in-house, but can make arrangements on their few outdoor tables if customers call ahead, and if there’s availability.
St. John said she loves being exposed to a nonlocal clientele during restaurant week, who often find themselves coming back for more.
Tickets, passes or coupons are not necessary for restaurant week. Visit HinsdaleDining.com for restaurant week special menus and more information.