Best Bites: Love that chicken from Popeye’s

If you thought Black Friday traffic was congested along Illinois route 50 near Northfield Square mall, trust me, it was nothing compared to the bottleneck on Kennedy Drive in Bradley this week. Only one event could cause this logjam — the opening of Popeye’s Chicken & Biscuits.

Traffic was lined up at least eight cars deep on Kennedy Drive. People couldn’t get into the parking lot and parked where they could. Apparently, this town had a hankerin’ for Popeye’s! Even days later, cars were lined up around the building.

Popeye’s manager, Melissa Rogers, said the restaurant is still very busy but everything will settle down soon. Be patient, readers: You will get your chicken.

Popeye’s Chicken & Biscuits is located at 545 S. Kennedy Drive, Bradley. Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Call 815-802-8040.

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Several weeks ago, I asked readers for restaurant recommendations for a romantic Christmas meal. I received just one response. Brian Simeur, of Bourbonnais, suggested a restaurant that is not local, but it will appeal to many of the people who visit Chicago to shop or enjoy the Christmas decorations.

Brian wrote: “My wife and I have gone to Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Chicago a few times during the holidays, and we enjoy the Dickens-style carolers who walk from table to table to sing your favorite Christmas carol by request. The old McCormick Mansion is a beautiful place, and the food is just as spectacular. If you love prime rib, this place is the best. After our meal, we head over to Ghirardelli’s for a hot chocolate — and a free square of chocolate — and take a stroll down Michigan Avenue to see the lights.”

Thanks, Brian, for your recommendation. My husband proposed to me under the Christmas tree at the former Marshall Fields store in Chicago many years ago.

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Pam Mills, of Kankakee, wanted to share her experience at Tucci’s: “I took my mom [to Tucci's], and we had breakfast. I had the Italian Frittata Peasant and Mom had the one with green peppers and Italian sausage. This is hands down the best breakfast I have ever had in my life. The atmosphere is so nice there in the morning. It makes you feel like you are in Chicago. I spoke with the owner, Joe Armenise, and told him how wonderful everything was. He said he wanted to have his breakfast items reasonably priced — and believe me, they were. … I am definitely going back for more.”

Tucci’s is located at 1560 N. Illinois route 50, Bourbonnais, near Northfield Square mall. Call 815-929-1875, check out www.tuccisitalian.com or follow Tucci’s on Facebook.

Hours are Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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When you’re in Momence, make it a point to stop by Pearson’s Bordertown Bakery. It offers beautiful pastries, rolls, breads, cookies and more. If you need to buy a hostess gift or cookies for school or church, they have them. I sampled the almond pastry while I was there. It was very flaky and is filled with a rich almond paste and crunchy almonds. A delicate icing was drizzled on top.

Pearson’s is located at 111 N. Dixie Highway, Momence. Hours are Monday from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Tuesday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is closed Sunday. Call 815-450-6017.

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The Bennett-Curtis House in Grant Park will be open from 2 to 8 p.m. Christmas Eve. A full dinner menu will be available all day. A seven-course New Year’s Eve dinner package will feature a specialty drink to accompany each course. There also will be party favors, a DJ, dancing and, of course, a New Year’s Eve toast.

The restaurant also will serve a New Year’s Day brunch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Included will be fresh fruits, pastries, a breakfast station, juice, cereal and made-to-order omelets. Reservations are required.

The Bennett-Curtis House, which is beautifully decorated — inside and out — for the holidays, is located at 302 W. Taylor Street, Grant Park. Call 815-465-2288.

Best Bites appears every Friday in The Daily Journal. Tinker Parker can be reached at 815-802-5101, at bestbites@daily-journal.com, or follow her on Facebook at Facebook.com/TDJBestBites.

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