Barrel Crossing Tap & Grill is at 260 Green Bay Road Highwood. Call 847-748-8695
by Tina Johansson
You know you are on the right side of the railroad tracks, when it comes to food and drinks from Barrel Crossing Tap & Grill in Highwood.
Recently the place located within walking distance of the Highwood Metra station has been revamped and its menu upgraded. But the eatery and bar at the corner of Highwood Street and Green Bay Road where it’s been for 4 ½ years, is still owned and operated by chef Mark Alan Grimes.
Previously the restaurant was part of a group of nine eateries called Tap House Grill. “I’ve always been sole owner. And now that I’ve separated from the tap houses, I wanted to separate from the name and be more creative in the kitchen,” said Grimes, a resident of Lincolnshire. “I wanted to go in a different direction.”
The owner who has three decades of experience in the culinary industry, including five stints as executive chef, raised the bar at Barrel Crossing Tap & Grill. He offers farm fresh food from the Midwest; among them seasonal produce, herbs, breads and libations from local purveyors in Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan.
The 90-item menu was tweaked, and 30 of them were removed, while a few others were added. “The decrease allows us to focus more on food quality,” said Grimes of his “creative concept” dining.
The gastro-pub/eclectic American fare offered here includes items like cheese curds from a Wisconsin dairy and Pretzels from a German company in Milwaukee, where Grimes formerly lived.
Some of the inviting dishes are handmade Slovakian sausage; classic fried chicken with a kick—it comes with jalapeño gravy; ribs laced with a bourbon BBQ sauce; and the already popular Hot Mess featuring fried chicken, house-made mac & cheese waffles, honey butter, jalapeño sausage gravy, and pomegranate maple syrup.
There are soups, salads, sandwiches, flatbreads, appetizers and bar snacks as well as desserts including the favored House Made Snickers Bar with chocolate, caramel and nougat.
“With the food, we really went back to our roots and what we wanted to do from the start,” said Grimes.
A dozen bourbons were added to the menu, along with the more than 28 craft beers. Flights of both bourbon and beer is a popular option offered.
Restaurant manager is Sandra Grimes, the owner’s wife. The couple’s teenage daughter Isabelle Rogers also works at the place as a hostess.
The remodel which included knocking down a few walls, brought the seating up 10 percent to 170. There is also more room in the back for parties and banquets. Jim Lenzioni of Chicago, a friend of the owner, was the architect for the project.
Featuring a warm palette of brick and wood, there are new floors and a gas fireplace area with comfy chairs, the perfect spot to relax with a beverage. Additional TV’s, new window treatments and light fixtures add to the atmosphere.
“People are loving the new look and the food,” said Grimes.
Barrel Crossing Tap & Grill will be ringing in the New Year with both family and adult celebrations on New Year’s Eve.
Go to http://www.barrelcrossing.com/events/details/4c829544-faeb-41e2-ab26-a57000f76000 for details or call 847-748-8695 or 847-748-8695 to book your table.