Editor's note: It appears Chapala Family Restaurant is closed. Yorkville Patch apologizes for the error.
You find yourself headed to a small, rural Illinois town whose name you’ve only ever seen on a tackle box to see some filming locations (maybe some action) for the new Superman movie. A few of Plano’s classic dining spots will be shut during filming, but that doesn’t mean you need to go hungry when you visit the .
Plano has a long history of Mexican immigration and, as you might expect, there are a large number of Mexican food establishments in town. However, the town also has a long history of seeing little-leaguers snatching a cone or malt after a baseball game.
The point being: Plano is hardly hungering for dining establishments. I’ve outlined my top five choices for eating in Plano so that you don't miss the good stuff.
TK’s Burgers and Ice Cream (303 W. South St., Plano)
TK’s is the classic post little-league venue. Seating is tight but ample indoors, but you’ll find plenty of people enjoying the classic picnic tables in front. TK’s serves a one-of-a-kind burger that’ll leave you more than satisfied, yet wanting more. The fries are hand-cut. The ice-cream is what most people come for.
TK’s serves both soft-serve and hard-pack ice creams and offers, well, a lot of choices. You certainly will not be wanting for menu options, as TK’s menu is larger than the largest large thing there ever was. I can’t find an appropriate metaphor. There’s a lobster dish on the menu. How’s that for extensive?
Torresmania (10 N. Center St., Plano – 15 steps north of the main set-pieces, on Main Street)
Torresmania has to be the top choice for Mexican dishes in Plano. The prices are ridiculously low, but you want to talk about freshness… When you walk in to the restaurant, you don’t smell cooked, greasy food – you smell… ingredients.
What can you expect from a tiny little restaurant like Torresmania? You can expect a guacamole of such high quality that Swiss watchmakers liken their timepieces to it. It’s creamy, rich, sweet and yet sprinkled with spice. Have some in any of the burrito offerings, is my advice. But, you can’t beat the 12 tacos for 10 dollars either.
A’s (1180 W Route 34, Plano)
No doubt many of you will prefer a classic style diner where Dad can get whatever he usually eats, Mom can get whatever she usually eats, and the kids can have pancakes. A’s is that place. The menu is exactly what you’d expect from any diner/pancake house. The dining room is bright, airy, and clean.
The quality of food, as with just about anywhere, depends on what you order. I usually go with the French Dip. I love Au Jus almost as I love saying Au Jus, and A’s does it the right way. The soups are also good, depending on what they’re serving that day. Beef Barley soup, yes. Cream of Harvey, no.
And who IS Harvey, anyway?
*-Author's Note: A's has never served a dish called Cream of Harvey. I can not be responsible for any hooey that may ensue.
Chapala Family Restaurant (400 E. South St., Plano)
Picture the classic diner you had in your mind after you read the above recommendation and swap the menu for Mexican cuisine. Chapala is a Mexican/family-diner. Food comes out of the kitchen plated as if you, the customer, worked for Zagat’s.
I wouldn’t venture to say Zagat’s would rank Chapala, but I would. I’m a sucker for guacamole, if you didn’t know and based on the guac alone, Chapala is worth a stop-by. There are no surprises on the menu, only rewards.
I’m used to doing , and I’m tempted to call a winner between Torresmania and Chapala.
Tastee Bite (7000 Burroughs Ave., Plano)
Located near the Wal-Mart (boy, this is really a Pulitzer-worthy article), Tastee Bite offers a hint of everything we’ve been over so far. The one thing that sets ‘The Bite’ apart, however, is it’s Mediterranean offerings. Specifically, the Gyros. But also the Beefs, which aren’t Mediterranean at all. But especially the Gyros.
I have regularly heard it said that a restaurant that “offers everything can’t possibly do anything good.” The signage says “Gyros, Beefs, Burgers, Tacos.” As varied as that sounds they do not do a Haggis, freeing them to do the gyros, beefs, burgers, and tacos well.
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So, if you’ve never been to Plano and you’re coming out to check out the Superman sights; you’ll need to calorie-up for your long drive back to Towanda. There’s no need to panic when you see what you’ll presume is the only diner in town (kitty-corner from the fake 7-11 set they’ve built) is closed. It’s definitely worth checking out one of the above given options for your gullet-stuffing needs.
In fact, stop by two of them.
Recent Superman news around the Web:
• The Chicago Tribune reported that Henry Cavill, who is portraying Superman/Clark Kent, was spotted at Naperville's Sullivan's Steakhouse on Wednesday.
• The IGN Movies Website posted set photographs purportedly taken by an Illinois fan.
• a Russell Crowe sighting at the Batavia Public Library and the actor's Tweets about exploring the area.
• The Kane County Chronicle wrote about the scene near shooting at Valley West Community Hospital in Sandwich on Monday. (Stephanie Sterling of Sugar Grove and Hazel McNelis of Yorkville were named in the first paragraph.)