Aurora, Batavia, Big Rock, Hinckley, Montgomery, North Aurora, Plano, Sandwich, Sugar Grove and Yorkville are the 10 communities comprising the Aurora Area. Mayors or city officials of these communities took part in judging a monthly competition in nine food categories. These include the best steak, seafood, pizza, ethnic, burger, soup, dessert, BBQ and veggie/vegan dishes offered in our restaurants. Restaurants in the listed communities were invited to participate. The dish had to be a regular menu item.
- Chef Steve Langlois, Hyatt Lodge on McDonald Campus was a judge for best burger.
- Chef Gale Gand, Hall of Fame Chicago Chef and Food Network star was a judge for best dessert.
- World Food Championships certified Judge Debbie Donato was a judge for best seafood.
- Senator Linda Holmes (a self-declared “foodie”) was a judge for best BBQ.
- Chef Scott Fischer who prepared the wrap party food for Dancing with the Stars and founder of Fisch & Chips “brown butter” cookies was a judge for the best veggie/vegan.
Congratulations to all of our winners:
BEST STEAK- Fairbanks Steakhouse in the Hollywood Casino Aurora for their Petite Lauren filet with lobster.
BEST PIZZA- Raimondo’s Pizza & Pub in North Aurora for their Godfather.
1st runner up- Pal Joey’s in Batavia. 2nd runner up- Aliano’s Ristorante in Batavia.
BEST ETHNIC- Raimondo’s Pizza & Pub in North Aurora for their Osso Bucca.
1st runner up- Taco Madre in Montgomery. 2nd runner up- Salsa Verde in Yorkville.
BEST BURGER- Bull Moose Bar & Grille in Sandwich for their Carmel Apple Burger.
1st runner up- Countyline Pub & Grill in Sandwich. 2nd runner up - The Foundry in Aurora.
BEST SOUP- Gaetano’s Batavia for their Gumbo Mambo Italiano.
1st runner up- The Foundry in Aurora. 2nd runner up- Roadhouse Country Bar & Grill in Yorkville.
BEST DESSERT- Gaetano’s Batavia for their Millefoglie alla crema.
1st runner up- Brenda’s Frozen Custard in Sandwich. 2nd runner up- Bull Moose Bar & Grille, Sandwich.
BEST SEAFOOD- Aliano’s Ristorante in Batavia for their Seafood Risotto.
1st runner up- Mai-Quesi in Aurora. 2nd runner up- Raimondo’s Pizza & Pub in North Aurora.
BEST BBQ- South Moon BBQ in Hinckley for their Ribs with mac & cheese and baked beans.
1st runner up- Rowdy’s in Yorkville. 2nd runner up- Thomas’ Barbeque in Aurora.
BEST VEGGIE/VEGAN- Gaetano’s Batavia for their Fiori di zucca.
1st runner up- Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora. 2nd runner up- Rowdy’s in Yorkville.
Thanks also to Barley Fork Yorkville, Gonzo’s Pizzeria Sandwich, Midtown Pub Aurora, Naf Naf Grill Aurora, Oak Street Restaurant & Bar North Aurora, O’Mango Aurora, Pinheadz Bar & Grill Yorkville, Spizzico To Go Aurora, The Chocolate Shoppe Yorkville and ZOUP Aurora for participating. Your food was enjoyed by all of the spectators and you are all winners in our book!
Finally a very special thanks goes to our partners Lauren Robin and Eric Fine of the Illinois Restaurant Association. From the beginning, they helped plan the events, they coordinated the contestants and they officiated the judging process with professionalism and credibility.
The CULINARY CHAMPIONS along with the 1st & 2nd runners-up will be highlighted in our 2016 Travel Guide and featured in a new travel itinerary that will be used to attract out-of-town visitors to enjoy our BEST restaurants!
For more information about the Aurora Area Culinary Champions, go to: http://www.enjoyaurora.com/culinary-champions.cfm