The Scene

Crystal Lake, Geneva, Downers Grove restaurants honored with Wine Spectator awards

1776 Restaurant in Crystal Lake was one of four suburban eateries honored with 2024 Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards.

Suburban wine lovers have been given a dozen and a half good reasons to raise a glass following the announcement of the 2024 Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards.

Eighteen suburban eateries landed on the annual list that rewards restaurants whose wine lists offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers.

The awards, uncorked in 1981, are billed as the world’s only program focused exclusively on restaurant wine service. In all, 3,777 dining destinations from all 50 states and more than 75 countries were recognized at one of three levels: the Award of Excellence (2,150 winners), the Best of Award of Excellence (1,531) and the Grand Award (96).

Four suburban spots received the Best of Award of Excellence, which Wine Spectator says are restaurants that “are destinations for serious wine lovers, showing a deep commitment to wine, both in the cellar and through their service team.” Award recipients are:

1776 Restaurant in Crystal Lake

Parkers’ Restaurant and Bar in Downers Grove

The English Room in Lake Forest

The Tavern in Libertyville

It’s the second year in a row on the list for 1776. Wine and spirits director Erik Nordstrom said it is difficult for independent restaurants like theirs to compete against the corporate budgets of the national chains and the many high-profile dining destinations in Chicago.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “It’s nice to be recognized knowing the work that we put into making this [wine] list what it is.”

Nordstrom said at any given time their wine menu features between 400 and 500 bottles.

“But there’s probably close to 2,000 bottles hiding in every nook and cranny of this place that is temperature controlled,” he said. “Just a lot of liquid assets.”

Fourteen restaurant concepts, some with multiple suburban locations, received the Award of Excellence:

Cadence Kitchen & Co. in Downers Grove

Che Figata in Naperville

Eddie Merlot’s in Lincolnshire

Fogo de Chão locations in Rosemont, Naperville and Oak Brook

Mandrake in Geneva

Morton’s, The Steakhouse locations in Naperville, Northbrook, Rosemont and Schaumburg

Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille locations in Oak Brook, Schaumburg and Vernon Hills

Seasons 52 in Oak Brook and Schaumburg

Sullivan’s Steakhouse in Naperville

The Capital Grille in Lombard, Rosemont, Schaumburg and Skokie

The Foxtail in Downers Grove

The James in Geneva

The James in Geneva

Three Embers in Lincolnshire

Truluck’s in Rosemont

Fifty-nine Chicago restaurants were among the winners. Wine Spectator’s restaurant awards issue will be available to readers on July 9.