Whether you’re fretting about where to take that cutie you’ve been crushing on in chem for a casual coffee date or looking for a romantic anniversary dinner locale, we’ve got all the details here. We hope you enjoy reading about these date destinations as much as we enjoy writing about them, and that you’ll give some of them a taste.
So, in the spirit of this selection: Let’s Eat!
Restaurant: Walker Bros. Pancake House
Address: 153 Green Bay Road, Wilmette
Hours: 6:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Getting there: a 15 minute walk from Ryan Field, take the shuttle to and from the stadium; a 45 minute walk from Patten Gymnasium
Sarah’s father discovered this gem during his undergraduate studies as a Wildcat. When he found out that we were writing a restaurant column, Mr. Steinmeier (School of Business, ’69) suggested we review this phenomenal breakfast eatery and continue a tradition that is strong in the proverbial stomach of the Steinmeier clan. Walker Bros. is a bit of a trek from campus, but two generations of Wildcats find the walk to be both well worth the taste and an effective way to control the pancake belly.
Walker Bros. has a fantastic breakfast menu, and while we only tried two items on it, I have no doubt that the rest of the menu is equally spectacular. If you are eating at Walker Bros. for the first time, as I was, the best place to begin your exploration of its delicacies is the Apple Pancake. It is Walker Bros.’ flagship dish, a fantastic (and fantastically large) Dutch pancake embedded with thick apple slices and glazed in sugar and cinnamon. The pancake itself is sweet, spongy and comes out of the kitchen puffed up like a soufflé. This is a great dish to split with your date – Sarah and I did just that and I still have almost half of it in my fridge.
The service is friendly and frequent. Much of the waitstaff seems to have worked at Walker Bros. for a while, and they occasionally provide helpful advice on tackling some of the larger menu items, like the Apple Pancake, for example. Our waiter was sure to top off our water glasses when the Apple Pancake came out, saying that the cinnamon and sugar in the dish would make us thirsty.
As an admittedly nostalgic person, I found the atmosphere in Walker Bros. very appealing. It’s got a very turn-of-the-century, Golden Age feel to it, with gold-tiled ceilings, craftsman stained glass windows and chandeliers, heavy wooden tables and leather-lined booths. To an old soul like me, it is a dreamland of a bygone era.
Date Factor (5/5)
I haven’t said much about its merit as a date location yet (only because Walker Bros. has so much to offer and left me with such a great impression), but I think this is a great spot to take a date, and I certainly would again. The food is great, splitting is an easy option and the friendly staff and cheerful atmosphere will probably put you and your date in a great mood. What’s more, the trip up to Walker Bros. (be it by shuttle, train, bike or foot) is a great chance to get in some conversation and bonding time before you eat, because if you’re anything like me, you won’t want to talk much when your food gets the table.
This is not my first time at the Apple Pancake rodeo. Walker Bros. has kept me coming back time and time again for much more than just the dish that makes them famous. I am an Eggs Benedict fanatic, and Walker Bros.’ very traditional take on this dish completely satisfies my stringent requirements. Two halves of an English muffin, two slices of ham, two poached eggs, and high-quality hollandaise sauce makes this dish a prime split. Given the side option of more pancakes or fruit, I naturally (and health-consciously, looking at the rest of my meal) chose the fruit. I was pleasantly surprised with the refreshing and fresh start to my meal. Having had many other items on the Walker Bros. menu, I can affirm that the deliciousness does not end at these two items. The only bad thing about this breakfast house is the somewhat bitter coffee that will increase your bill by $2.50.
Walker Bros. has a unique service system designed to provide patrons with incredibly quick and satisfying service even during peak hours. After being seated, a drink waiter will deliver water, juice and coffee (of which I don’t recommend partaking) to your table in a matter of seconds. The primary waiter will take orders and deliver food, which emerges from a succulent-smelling kitchen in record time. The lengthiest part of a Walker Bros. experience can easily be waiting for your table.
Reminiscent of an 1890s parlor, this pancake house has a classic Americana feel. Oak table tops and chairs bring an air of class to an otherwise humble concept. The hallmark stained glass has been an integral part of Walker Bros. since my father’s days on campus. Even the scallop-edged dishware delivers a feeling of upscale dining without the high prices. Good food and a great atmosphere combine to immerse patrons in a wonderful start to the day.
Date Factor (5/5)
Walker Bros. is a prime location to take your date for a filling and delicious meal. Because waits on weekend mornings can be lengthy, I would strongly recommend Walker Bros. as a breakfast-for-dinner or weekday brunch location. This month’s special offers 25% off an Apple Pancake, so it’s the perfect time to save some money and fill your and your date’s bellies with a plate of breakfast paradise. Reasonable prices and fabulous recipes have made this my family’s favorite eatery in the area, and they are sure to make your date (and his wallet) happy as well. Keep it in mind for parents' weekend, too!
While we feel a slight pang of guilt at giving one of our first restaurants all five star ratings, Walker Bros. really knocked it out of the park. It’s a bit off the beaten path, but Walker Bros. is both a Steinmeier and Wildcat tradition for good reason, so next time you and your date have the morning off, hike, bike or ride together to Wilmette. Our guess is that half the fun will be in getting there, and we’re quite certain that the other half can be found somewhere inside a colossal Apple Pancake.
If you’ve had an experience at Walker Bros. or if you have any questions/suggestions for future date spots, leave us a comment below.