I love the Food Network. I have apx 200 Chopped episodes saved on my TV. Cutthroat Kitchen is my jam. If I could ever remember to set my DVR I would be all over Next Food Network Star. It’s even a family affair. Every time I head over to my mother’s house we’re always watching a Restaurant Impossible episode after dinner. Possibly one of the best channels out there.
So when I went up to Downers Grove, IL (a suburb outside of Chicago) to visit my grandma for the weekend I was obviously crazy eager to try out The Lemon Tree Grocer, a grocery store/bistro that had been featured on Restaurant Impossible. For those who don’t know much about the show, Restaurant Impossible stars this huge ex-military guy Robert Irvine. And he goes into these failing restaurants (in the case of the Lemon Tree they had like $3M in debt) and revamps their menu, fixes their staff problems, brings in a decorator who gives the interior a face-life, and even acts as a psychologist as the owners often have marital issues or control issues or whatever. The catch? They only have 48 hours to transform these restaurants. It’s great.
The Lemon Tree Grocer is particularly special to me because it’s in Downtown Downers Grove. I’ve walked by it like million times! Every time I visit my grandma we always go to Egg Harbor on Sundays, which is right across the street from the Lemon Tree. So with a little coercing to break the semi-religious Egg Harbor brunch routine, I was able to get the family to switch brunch plans and end up at the Lemon Tree instead. *so excite*
What’s so fascinating about the Lemon Tree is that usually when Robert Irvine tries the food, he hates everything on the menu. But that was not the case on the show. He actually liked everything on the menu. And he admitted it himself, he was like “hm I think this has been the second time on the show that this has actually happened.” So obviously I was stoked to try out this fabulous menu!
We showed up for brunch around 11am (even in Chicago, the #BrunchKlub routine stands). The interior of the bistro was small, but adorable and pretty accurately depicted from the show. It was pretty slow at 11am, but every table was filled by the time we left around 12:30–which made me happy that they had good business! The food was decent, but the service was so slow. It was insane. I was starved by the time our food arrived like 45+ minutes after we ordered. Quite annoying.
I ordered the Truffled Mac and the Roasted Beet Salad (fennel, feta, pine nuts, vinaigrette). Pretty decent food for pretty decent prices. Below are pictures of what the other family ordered. It will be interesting to see in my subsequent visits to Downers Grove if it remains in business.