Mystery Diner: Woods Creek Tavern in Lake in the Hills serves up favorites

The NFL playoffs are here, and I know that one of the better places around to watch a game is Woods Creek Tavern in Lake in the Hills.

Thankfully, their unique small plates and main courses also are great to get as takeout as you view the game from home.

We ordered out on a recent weekday to reacquaint ourselves with the menu and see what translates well to carryout.

For openers, the Chicago Beef Eggroll ($12) is outstanding. The dish brings together all of the things you love about Chicago beef (beef, provolone, giardiniera) and puts them into easy-to-eat pocket portions with a horseradish dip to give it a little kick.

If that didn’t spice things up enough for us, the hot buffalo wings (8 for $13) certainly did. There was a good mix of wings and drums and plenty of sauce on each well-sized piece. It was a pretty good option to start things off.

From there, however, our main courses just got better.

I mean, they were seemingly standard fare with mac and cheese, a burger and a shrimp sandwich, but that tremendously undersells what’s in store.

The burger was actually the Italian Stallion ($14.50) half-pound burger with mozzarella, roasted tomato, pesto aioli and arugula, with the upgraded truffle fries ($2.50) on the side. Those fries were covered and had some kick themselves, and that was one of the juiciest burgers I’ve ever eaten.

The combination of the fresh-roasted tomato with the mozzarella and pesto aioli was exceptional. It’s one of 12 burger options on the menu.

My fellow diner who ordered the shrimp po’ boy sandwich ($14.90) was also pleased. And this is from someone with experience eating the real thing on the Gulf Coast.

The shrimp was fresh, the remoulade had a little bit of heat, and the tomatoes brought it all together on the hoagie roll. We all stole some of the tots from that diner’s plate. They are something that pretty much everyone can enjoy.

It’s one of eight sandwich offerings on the menu, from Nashville Hot Chicken ($13.50) to Not Your Mom’s Grilled Cheese ($10.90), featuring sourdough, Gruyere, smoked gouda and provolone.

Our final diner ordered the cheese and mac ($14.90) with the bacon upgrade ($2.50). Chicken and barbecue pork ($3.50) are also upgrade options. As the menu states, “one bite and you’ll understand why it’s not mac & cheese.”

Well, it definitely tasted good, and a big part of that is the mixture of multiple cheeses along with the quality of the pasta it was prepared with. It also was an absolutely huge portion. I snagged a serving, and there was still some left over for lunch the next day.

Woods Creek Tavern’s takeout certainly passed the test.

• The Mystery Diner is an employee at the Northwest Herald. 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 story.


WHAT: Woods Creek Tavern

WHERE: 251 N. Randall Road, Lake in the Hills

PHONE: 224-256-2063