Pierce Tavern

With the hashtag #whiskeymademedoit, restaurateurs Sam and Patricia Vlahos recently opened Pierce Tavern at 5135 Main St., in Downers Grove (630 869-5333). The eatery is billed as a neighborhood hideout and promises the best in bourbon, beer and burgers. 

Named in honor of the town’s founder, Pierce Downer — just as sister-restaurant Fuller House in Hinsdale pays homage to Ben Fuller  — the tavern prides itself on food made "the way Pierce would have wanted." That means always-fresh ingredients and many comfort-food favorites. The rotating daily soup menu, for instance, includes a wood-fired French onion crock; the brisket grilled cheese comes with a bourbon barbeque dip; and burger lovers can opt for a side of hand-cut fries topped with buffalo sauce and crumbled blue cheese. 

Of course, the wood-fired oven is also put to good use in preparing pizzas — everything from a must-have margherita to the imaginative Sunny Side Up 13, with egg, nueske bacon, scallions, black pepper, mozzarella, provolone, garlic and evoo (an olive oil dressing).

Laying claim to Downers Grove’s history as a farm settlement, Pierce Tavern is located in a newly renovated 1890s-era building that once housed the town’s bank, post office and library. And the Vlahos brother-sister duo are determined that their friendly neighborhood pub will continue to be at the heart of this western suburb. 

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