The Northwest Herald’s Best of the Fox Readers’ Choice Awards were announced at a great evening affair recently in Crystal Lake.
The awards honor the best of the best in McHenry County. It was the greatest turnout of votes in the history of the awards, making this year’s winners extra special.
The restaurant categories are what get my appetite going, and although I’ve been to almost every winning restaurant, there are new categories and new winners to explore.
Best Chicken Wings debuted this year, much to my pleasure. I can think of nothing better than an ice-cold beer and some great hot wings. Buffalo Wild Wings took the top honor here, followed by Wings Etc. and D.C. Cobb’s.
I’ve been to D.C. Cobb’s before, but I’ve never had their wings, so off I will go soon to compare and enjoy another great food quest to conquer. My favorite wings are at Wings Etc., but it might be because they have the coldest draft beer in town. I love that place.
Speaking of loving a place, Perry Moy has done it again in the Best Chinese category at Plum Garden in McHenry.
Now Perry has been there a long time, yet every time I go there, I am amazed how unique his fare is, especially his signature chef creations. I need to get up there soon because just thinking of his food makes me hungry.
He was followed by Breakers and Gourmet House, which I also would recommend.
And how about my buddy John Pilafas, owner of Benedict’s La Strata? He won awards in six categories — the most wins of any business in the county.
Talk about a superstar. If you haven’t been to his restaurant (there might be one or two of you in the county), you have to get there now! I’m not kidding.
I have breakfast several times a week with some guys from church, which I like to call “The Breakfast Club.” And it will be our pleasure to try all the different restaurants John tangled with to compare and discuss them.
In Fine Dining, 1776 Restaurant took the top honors, followed by Jameson’s Charhouse and Dunnhills Steaks, Chops and Seafood.
Three great restaurants; three great choices when I’m in the mood for a serious dinner. I’m so happy to have the choices, I’ll need to hit them all this week.
Congratulations to newcomer and one of the best Italian restaurants in the county Da Baffone Cucina Italiana on Main Street in Crystal Lake.
It is a pure pleasure to go in and have the owners, Camille and Dominick, take care of my family and me on a regular basis. Chef Sal can really put out some great authentic Italian food. (Try the pork chops for a surprise — they are awesome.)
The Best Italian Restaurant winner is Galati's Pizza and Pasta.
I love a great burger, and Tracks took top honors there. I’ve had their fish fry, and I love it. I’ll be back this week for a burger — bet on it.
Now that I’m thoroughly starved from writing this, I guess I should make my point. We are surrounded by a feast of fantastic restaurants in this county. We are so lucky. When someone tells me, “I don’t know where to go out to eat,” I can’t stop talking about the endless possibilities.
So get out of your comfort zone, and try some new restaurants or new dishes at your favorite restaurant. More than 330,000 voters can’t be wrong.
PS — a personal thank you to everyone who voted for me and helped us win Best Ribs and Best Barbecue in the county.
• David Faccone is the owner/chef of Crystal Lake Rib House and brings 30 years of experience in the restaurant business to McHenry County.