diner

We can't let Guy Fieri have all of the fun, so we've taken matters into our own hands. Just thinking about this list gets our mouths watering. And don't even think about counting calories, sometimes you just gotta say what the heck! You can always exercise tomorrow.

Herm's Place
3406 Dempster Rd., Skokie, 847-675-3663
http://www.hermspalace.com/
Herm's Palace is a great place to watch a ball game, chat with friends, bring the team, and have a great meal. This family run business treats everyone like a member of their own family. The menu is varied but they are best known for their dogs, burgers and massive milk shakes. If you are feeling particularly indulgent, we suggest the grilled cheeseburger – yes, that is a burger sandwiched in between two grilled cheese sandwiches - insanity! Kids love playing the arcade games and adults love the really cool mural of Chicago celebs, plus the fact that they now serve beer and wine!

Wilmette Chuck Wagon
1120 Central Ave., Wilmette, 847-246-0120
http://www.chuckwagonusa.com/
If you blink you might walk right past it, but the Wilmette Chuck Wagon is worth the stop. This long-standing Wilmette staple is known for its gyro meat and especially the Niki special (thin cheeseburger topped with loads of gyro meat), as well as tasty sweet potato fries and friendly service. You may also want to consider take-out since seating is limited. Either way, after a meal from here, your heart might not thank you, but your taste buds certainly will!

Sarkis' Café
2632 Gross Point Rd., Evanston, 847-328-9703
http://www.cafesarkis.com/main.html
If you can ignore the sometimes questionable service, small space and teenage crowd, the food is well worth it. The menu consists of mostly breakfast food (served throughout the day) and the famous Loretta sandwiches (French bread topped with cheese, mayo, green peppers, tomatoes and onions filled with your choice of meat). They are also known for their delectable omelets (see Disaster Special), delicious coffee and hash browns, cheese optional. Cash only.

Little Island
2600 Crawford Ave., Evanston, 847-866-7670
http://littleislandevanston.com/
While many locals may refer to it as a hot dog stand, Little Island offers a lot more than just tasty red hots. Many rave about the burgers and there is no doubt that the cheese fries (fresh cut fries with the skin on and Merkts cheese) are the best around. Parking can be tricky since this hot dog "stand" is practically located in the middle of an intersection. It is a one man show and seating is limited but they do offer call ahead service for pickup. Outdoor seating when weather permits.

Superdawg Drive-In
333 S. Milwaukee Ave, Wheeling, 847-459-1900
Superdawg Locations Page
For those looking to skip the drive into the city and take a drive back in time, the Wheeling outpost of the infamous Original Superdawg is one of the last true drive-in restaurants around. This locale has more parking than its city counterpart and also has covered picnic tables overlooking a forest preserve. In addition to the retro-style vibe, the over-sized, classic Chicago Superdawgs are a true crowd pleaser. Just don't ask for ketchup. The Superchic also gets lots of raves not to mention the crispy Superfies and Super malts and shakes.

Charlie Beinlich's Food & Tap
290 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, 847-291-0420
http://www.charliebeinlichs.com/
Two words sum up the Charlie Beinlich's experience, old school! Known for their shrimp cocktail, hamburgers and cheeseburgers, Charlie Beinlich's is a no frills dive with a limited menu, and limited toppings for your burger (we're talking cheese, onions and bacon). They keep it simple but fresh and people continue to come back for more. A North Shore classic. Closed Sunday and Monday. Cash only.

Kevin's Place
808 N Waukegan Rd., Deerfield, 847-945-4577
http://www.kevins-place.com/
Kevin's Place is a small diner that serves up a huge menu and does not disappoint. Known more for its breakfast food, crowd favorites are the Triple Berry Crunch French Toast and KP's potatoes. Beyond the delicious food, owner Kevin and his super friendly staff is what truly makes this place special. Kevin's warm and engaging personality, especially his interaction with kids, keeps customers coming back for more. Open until 2 pm daily.

The Lantern
678 N Western Ave., Lake Forest, 847 367-5755
http://www.thelanternoflakeforest.com/
A casual, no frills tavern like atmosphere known for its free popcorn, homemade chips and a model train that travels around the ceiling. The Lantern advertises its burgers as the best in town and many would agree. Customers also love the cheese curds and fantastic beer specials.

Meier's Tavern
235 E Lake Avenue, Glenview, 847-724-0477
http://meierstavern.com/
Meier's has been serving up burgers and other comfort bar food on the North Shore since the 1930s. Locals love it for its nostalgic vibe as much of the décor has stayed the same. It's the perfect place to sit back and relax with a burger and beer (don't expect any craft beers or glass plates – everything is served on Styrofoam). Good simple food, at great prices and tater tots that can't be missed. Cash only.

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