A craving for pizza under the stars pointed us in the direction of Aurelio’s of Geneva, home to one of the best patio dining experiences in town.
Ringed by columnar evergreens for a spacious and secluded green space, the patio has strings of lights for ambiance, an outdoor bar and frequent live music that’s the icing on the cake. The popular patio wraps around the west side of the building for overflow seating. And heaters comfortably extend the season.
We dropped in on a Thursday night and began our evening with a drink at the outdoor bar while waiting for one of the tables, each shaded by a bright red umbrella. A friend said he enjoyed the bartender’s take on a White Russian cocktail. Another noted that the local Two Brothers’ Batch 59 is among the beers on tap.
One of our fellow diners tried the fettuccine Alfredo with chicken, a rich, creamy dish that comes with salad or soup and fresh rolls for full orders. You can create your own entree by choosing your favorite pasta, optional protein and one of three homemade sauces: marinara, Alfredo or meat sauce, in half or full portions.
The refreshing dinner salad accompanying the entree featured crisp iceberg and romaine lettuces topped with tomato, cucumber, red onion, diced red peppers, and lots of herbed croutons for crunchy contrast.
The menu includes several Italian entrees as well as sandwiches, but the enduring claim to fame at Aurelio’s has always been the pizza.
A fellow diner ordered a thin-crust No. 24 special combination pie with marinated spinach and spices, to which he added Italian sausage and mushrooms.
“I enjoyed the plentiful, marinated spinach and how it really makes the pie,” he said.
Aurelio’s was founded in August 1959 in Homewood, Illinois, building a reputation for its thin-crust pizza and signature sauce.
I tried the gluten-free, personal-size pizza with green peppers, onion and mushrooms. The crust was excellent, and the vegetables popped with flavor, especially the long, curving ribbons of perfectly prepared green pepper. And that sauce – it’s thick and complex, a wonderful deep dive into tomato bliss. Next time, I’m ordering extra.
The restaurant’s interior offers an attractive bar and lounge separated from the family-friendly dining room with red-and-white-checkered table coverings and a seating choice of booths and tables. It also offers a party room for special occasions.
We lingered over our outdoor meal to enjoy a live duo featuring guitarist Matt Hines. A pure treat on a balmy summer’s evening.
Located at the corner of State and Fourth streets, the Aurelio’s restaurant celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. It grew into its beautiful space after years as a popular takeout establishment across the street.
• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at the Kane County Chronicle. The diner’s identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a review.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Aurelio’s of Geneva
WHERE: 330 W. State St. (Route 38), Geneva