Babcock’s Grove House
Re-imagined Midwest fare in historic Lombard building
Babs Blue Cheese Burger
Approaching Babcock’s Grove House in downtown Lombard for dinner, one gets a sense that this a welcoming establishment. For one thing, the eatery is housed in a circa-1858 limestone building, set on a street corner. Strands of white lights strung in nearby trees signal the coziness that portends. Once inside, if the friendly staff doesn’taffirm the vibe, the word “Welcome” is spelled out in plain sight above the bar and under an old-time decorative tin ceiling.
Along with the homey atmosphere — throwback filament lights, a chalkboard menu and a dining room that fits just 50 guests — the restaurant celebrates the history of the building as a hotel back in 1858 and of Lombard, the town from which the owners hail. Framed vintage photos and quirkily written bios of some early residents adorn the walls, honoring Lombardians like Adeline Fleege, the village’s first Lilac Princess, crowned in 1930.
The menu follows through on both the comfort factor and nods to history. Nothing says comfort food like ale-battered cheese curds, a chicken schnitzel dinner, blue cheese sriracha meatloaf and gruyère mac and cheese skillet. This is hearty Midwestern fare with a dose of culinary inventiveness, something that’s also evident in menu items like carrot-cumin soup, spring pesto grilled cheese, a toasted chicken apple brie sandwich and slow-roasted, stout-infused pulled pork sliders, to name a few.
Burgers come highly recommended, with good reason. The classic cheese burger is juicy and savory, as are the bacon beer cheese burger, horseradish burger, the blue cheese burger and the gouda BBQ burger. All are formed with fresh Angus ground chuck.
While there are ample dishes for discerning carnivores, Babcock’s Grove House serves up several vegetarian offerings. Non-meat eaters can get in on the burger fun with a smashed potato burger, made with a mashed potato patty combined with sharp cheddar and griddled on a toasted brioche bun. Another option is the smoky-sweet potato bean burger, topped with roasted garlic sauce and avocado and served on a sprouted wheat bun. The menu also calls out gluten free items such as a buffalo chicken quinoa bowl and spicy chicken wedge salad.
Lombard’s history shows up on the menu. One can order a Lilac Princess for dessert, a sweet treat made with grape soda and Oberweis vanilla bean ice cream capped with fresh whipped cream.
Babcock’s Grove House is a good place to grab a drink, either at the bar that seats a dozen or at a service table. There’s a variety of “mostly local” brews on tap and by the bottle, as well as a wine list spanning light-bodied whites, crisp, full-bodied whites, medium to full-bodied reds, bold reds and an assortment of “limited time only” bottles. An array of craft bottled sodas is also available.
Another thing that makes this place unique is its hybrid concept, with quick counter service for lunch and relaxed full service for dinner.
101 W St. Charles Rd,
Specialty burgers; ale-battered cheese curds; sriracha meatloaf
Appetizers: $5 - $8
Entrées: $12 - $14
Burgers: $9 - $12
Tue - Thur: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Fri - Sat: 11a.m. – 10 p.m.
Fresh-made daily menu; full bar; craft beer list; no TVs or WiFi