Mystery Diner in North Aurora: Harner’s Bakery & Restaurant a longtime favorite

Harner's Bakery & Restaurant sits on the Fox River in North Aurora.

Harner’s Bakery & Restaurant in North Aurora is a Fox Valley favorite going strong for more than six decades.

The restaurant is on the Fox River, perched just off the southwest end of the bridge. And its satellite coffee and doughnut shop still calls the original Harner’s location at 935 W. Galena Blvd. in Aurora home.

A friendly staffer took our phone order for carryout, and we had to resist breaking into the famous pressure-fried (aka broasted) chicken, whose aroma tantalized us the whole ride home. Harner’s was started by the founding namesake couple in 1960, and over the years, their seven children have been part of the family business.

The signature, hand-battered and pressure-fired chicken at Harner's Bakery & Restaurant in North Aurora.

In a video for Chicago media on the restaurant website, Bob Harner said the restaurant still uses his parents’ special seasoning blend for the chicken which is marinated and hand-battered.

I ordered the half chicken, and loved every bite of the crispy, flavorful batter with its multitude of spices enhancing the juicy, moist meat.

A full rack of the barbecue back ribs at Harner's Bakery & Restaurant in North Aurora.

My fellow diner ordered the barbecue back ribs. The tasty full rack was tender and slathered in a lovely barbecue sauce, with an extra container sent home for good measure.

Sesame seed rolls and fresh-baked nut bread at Harner's Bakery & Restaurant in North Aurora.

Harner’s has a full bakery, and the breads accompanying our meals were a treat, from the sesame-seed-sprinkled rolls to wonderful squares of fresh-baked nut bread.

A tossed salad at Harner's Bakery & Restaurant in North Aurora.

A salad came with the takeout order of ribs, which were paired with a serving of squash with vinegar accents and a wild rice blend side.

Sides of a wild rice blend, corn, and squash at Harner's Bakery & Restaurant in North Aurora.

The satisfying mashed potatoes I selected lived up to the menu’s description as the real thing.

We knew the ribs would be a standout, given the eatery’s reputation for pig roasts on the menu the first Friday of every month. And if you dine in, dinners include the all-you-can-eat soup and salad bar.

Harner’s is open all day and evening, and features an extensive breakfast menu, along with a wide variety of sandwiches, burgers and entrees. Wine and beer are available. Daily specials for designated days of the week range from pot roast to chicken pot pie, prime rib and beer-batter perch. The restaurant currently is closed on Tuesdays.

Homemade cherry pie at Harner's Bakery & Restaurant in North Aurora.

We couldn’t resist a slice of cherry pie, just one of a half dozen options or so mentioned by the server on the phone. The crust was good and the filling had the perfect hint of tart cherry.

Famous homemade butter pecan coffeecake at Harner's Bakery & Restaurant in North Aurora.

For a treat the next morning, we ordered a slice of what Harner’s Bakery calls its “famous homemade butter pecan coffee cake.” It was an enjoyable incarnation of a classic, old-fashioned coffee cake, something Harner’s obviously has had lots of practice producing to the delight of its loyal patrons, who savor the comforting tastes of home.

• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at the Kane County Chronicle. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff when ordering or picking up the food. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a review.


WHAT: Harner’s Bakery & Restaurant

WHERE: 10 W. State St., North Aurora

PHONE: 630-892-4400