Upscale American fare, specialty flatbreads and a beautiful outdoor patio ideal for al fresco dining
Pinstripes may indeed have a prime location on the grounds of the posh Oakbrook Center, but the restaurant doesn’t serve average “mall fare.” In fact, it’s an epicenter for fun and food, with something for everyone.
With soaring ceilings complete with timber beams, a see-through wine cellar and an open kitchen, you’d think scoring a booth or table inside this two-story venue is as good as it gets. But in the summer months, the gigantic outdoor patio cannot be beat. Here, ample covered seating allows for relaxed al fresco dining.
Pair the summer breeze with a drink from Pinstripe’s full bar, nestled in the middle of this modern lodge-like restaurant. Beer, wine and cocktails are all available to complement the menu, which is brimming with variety.
Meals start with a complimentary basket of warm bread and pesto dip. Add a bowl of soup (the menu changes daily) or one of many tasty appetizers, such as the hummus and avocado platter served with pita and veggies, or the hearty tenderloin sliders.
Signature menu items are called out with an asterisk, which drew me to try the chopped salad. The white balsamic dressing was light yet flavorful. But it was the mound of soft, fresh burrata cheese on top that sold me on ordering this one again in the future.
Pinstripes is known for its flatbreads and pizzas, which are cooked in a wood-burning pizza oven. Diners may choose a classic margherita or barbeque chicken pizza, or opt for a roasted vegetable or prosciutto fig flatbread, among others.
Entrées include a mix of sandwiches, pastas, and chef specialties. Choosing is difficult, but the friendly waitstaff is there to assist and provide recommendations. I went with a chicken club sandwich topped with slabs of crispy bacon. For a small upcharge, I was able to substitute the side salad that it comes with for french fries with house-made ketchup.
For larger plate meals, gnocchi with ahi tuna is one of the most popular dishes. Among the chef specialties, the melt-in-your-mouth short rib can’t be missed, if only for the side of garlic mashed potatoes with which it is served.
In the unlikely event that there will be room for dessert, Pinstripes has multiple options for those with a sweet tooth. Topping the list for me was the caramelized cheesecake, which has the texture of a creamy cheesecake but with the crunchy, sweet top of a crème brûlée. Carrot cake and homemade s’mores are other favorites.
For some fun before or after dinner, Pinstripes offers both bocce and bowling. Don’t worry, tumbling pins cannot be heard from the dining area, though on a Friday or Saturday night, the buzzing dining room takes on a life of its own.
Chicken & Avocado Club Flatbread and Italian Jambalaya
Appetizers: $11 – $16
Entrées: $21 – $32
Flatbreads: $15 – $17
M: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. ; T – Th: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. ; F : 11 a.m. – 1 a.m.; S 10 a.m. – 1 a.m.; Sun: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. Extras
Sat/Sun brunch; outdoor fire pit private parties