Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Dining Out Gene By: Lisa Parro

Lisa Parro is a Public Relations Specialist that is a proud new parent of a baby boy. When she can find a babysitter she loves getting together with her good friends over a delicious meal. She's always looking for new restaurants to try with her friends and turns to Check, Please! as her source for interesting restaurants around town.  

I still think about the goat cheese spinach dip. The fish tacos haunt my dreams. I pine for the three-layer chocolate cake with the longing of an addict. If I would’ve known that was to be my last meal out in a restaurant, I would have slowly savored every bite. I would have snuck another sip of my husband’s beer. But little did I know my son would be born less than 36 hours later, which means my husband and I no longer spend our Friday and Saturday nights exploring new restaurants or relaxing in the comfort of our favorite haunts but instead take turns soothing our newborn while waiting for the pizza delivery guy or grabbing takeout from the local barbecue joint. We’re parents now, our lives turned upside-down with all the joy and craziness that accompanies this new stage in life. 

But now that David Michael is one month old, we wonder if it’s time to introduce him to our shared love of dining out. We refuse to be the red-faced couple hopelessly rocking the screaming baby while clamoring for the check just as dinner is served. Therefore the timing must be perfect; he will have to be fed, changed, and well on his way to dreamland when we embark on our maiden voyage. And we’ll likely take him somewhere close and familiar – likely Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora, where we enjoyed our last meal those four weeks ago. 

Two Brothers Roundhouse is easily our favorite restaurant, and not just because it’s less than two miles from our house. When we moved to Aurora seven years ago, the Roundhouse – which opened as Walter Payton’s Roundhouse in 1996 – was easily the top restaurant in town. Situated in an 1850s limestone trainyard (the name reflects the building’s original use as a spot for locomotives to turn around), the Roundhouse was a microbrewery that housed a multi-level restaurant, bar, comedy club, cigar bar, outdoor entertainment space, banquet facility and a museum honoring Payton. The Payton family eventually disassociated from the facility, signaling the beginning of the end of the restaurant’s glory days. A series of management debacles that led to a bankruptcy filing – coupled with the ensuing decline in the quality of the food and beer – caused my husband and I to scout out a new favorite restaurant about a year ago. 

That’s when we discovered the Two Brothers Tap House, a no-frills restaurant attached to the Two Brothers brewery tucked away in an industrial complex in Warrenville. Despite having no signs advertising the hard-to-find building, the place was packed every weekend – a testament to the quality and variety of the beers and the locally grown, largely organic dinner offerings. So when we heard rumblings earlier this year that Two Brothers was interested in purchasing the Roundhouse, it was like learning our two best friends were getting married. 

We were among the first customers when the newly christened Two Brothers Roundhouse opened this summer. Like the Warrenville location, the Aurora restaurant also features delicious food made with sustainable ingredients and complex, expertly crafted beer. It’s once again packed with patrons every time we visit. The dinner menu includes a wide selection of small plates, including pork belly tacos, skirt steak tacos, vegetarian empanada, chili relleno, and spare rib risotto – all of which I can highly recommend. The only dishes I don’t care for are the marrow toast, which was too greasy for my taste, and the beer carpaccio, which featured too many onions. For dinner entrees, you can’t go wrong with the Roundhouse burger (made from organic beef with a generous helping of adobo sauce), the aforementioned fish tacos, applewood smoked ribs, or the daily fish special. 

Soon, our newly expanded family will return to the Roundhouse. It will be the first step in introducing David Michael to our lifelong love of restaurants. Perhaps he’s already inherited the dining out gene, which my husband got from his parents; I apparently absorbed it through marriage. If so, it won’t be long until he’s inviting us to check out his top spot. I just hope he offers to pick up the check. 

Two Brothers Roundhouse
205 N. Broadway
Aurora, IL 60505
(630) 264-BREW (2739)


  1. Pretty hard to enjoy the place when if your not a lover of Craft Beers. They don't have a Full Bar of named Brand Mixers. That once Cozy bar to your right as you first enter is now chopped down and made on the cheap. The menu that use to cater to all ethnic taste is now a third of the size of the former incarnation. The Entertainment go to place that was once the Roundhouse is a no longer creative and seems to be booking like the person working this task has no idea what they are doing.

  2. Sorry, but no. Warrenville rocks food-wise; Roundhouse cannot compare. Beer is the only constant. (Great regardless of locale). If they cloned the Warrenville menu and perhaps added to it given the larger size of the Roundhouse, well it would be a start.

  3. The Roundhouse is still in its infancy. Two Brothers only took over in June 2011. My bartender was very helpful and pointed out his favorite menu items which where delicious! I must say the nachos are a huge portion so make sure you're hungry. Even though they don't carry Miller or Bud, they have a great selection of beers and they will find one that suits you. Cocktail choices are limited to basics but hey, it's owned by a brewery, what do you expect. I've always enjoyed this place and will bring friends and family when I can.


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