Best Bites: Looking for lighter fare?

Published in The Daily Journal Jan. 25, 2013

Several local eateries are offering delicious food with lower calories.

Applebee’s offers a wide variety of menu items that are 550 calories and below. They also are Weight Watchers endorsed. Items include grilled chipotle-lime shrimp and black bean corn salsa tossed with lime juice and chopped cilantro and served with steamed vegetables over rice. Delicious and just eight points. For 13 points, there’s sautéed blackened shrimp with tomatoes, onions and basil served over rice with lemon cream sauce and Parmesan cheese. If you like chicken, Applebee’s has grilled chicken breast with Portobello mushrooms and onions in a red wine sauce with Parmesan cheese served over sautéed zucchini, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, red onions and crispy red potatoes. For fewer than 550 calories, it’s wonderful.

Applebee’s is at 1040 N. Kinzie Ave., Bradley. Phone 815-936-0571.


Olive Garden Italian Restaurant offers a nice variety of low-calorie Italian dishes. I enjoyed the Venetian Apricot Chicken. My server, Ray, said “It is one the healthiest and most delicious dishes we have,” and he’s right. It was wonderful.

The grilled chicken breast was prepared in an apricot citrus sauce, with broccoli, asparagus and diced tomatoes on the side. The chicken was moist and the apricot sauce was not overly sweet; just nicely balance. The entire meal was only 575 calories.

Kelly Markland, of Grant Park, ordered the Lasagna Primavera with grilled chicken. The dish has beautifully hand-folded lasagna filled with zucchini, squash and bell peppers, topped with a tomato-basil sauce, grilled chicken and a creamy Parmesan drizzle, all under 575 calories.

Olive Garden Italian Restaurant is at 2048 N. State Route 50, Bourbonnais. Call 815-802-0204.


Create your own healthy choice meal at Red Lobster with their Lighthouse selections. Try the half portion wood-grilled fresh salmon for only 290 calories. Add broccoli, green beans or a vegetable medley for fewer than 40 calories per serving.

The rock lobster tail is only 210 calories (without butter, of course) just add vegetables to make it a complete meal.

Red Lobster is at 1604 N. State Route 50, Bradley. Phone 815-932-0090.


Besides being known for their Jack Daniel’s grilled steaks and ribs, TGI Friday’s has the Right Portion, Right Price – Big Flavor selection on their menu; all are under 750 calories.

Their Dragonfire Salmon is a delicious choice for seafood. The salmon fillet is grilled and glazed with a Kung Pao sauce, served with pineapple pico de gallo, mandarin oranges, ginger-lime slaw and steamed broccoli. It’s deliciously spicy, too.

Try Friday’s new barbecued chicken flatbread — pulled chicken in a chipotle barbecue sauce and baked with Monterey Jack cheese, cheddar, cilantro and hand-cut red peppers and red onion. Yep, fewer than 750 calories, even with the cheese.

Just watch for the “RPRP” in the menu to save those calories.

T.G.I Friday’s is located at W. 1503 N. State Route 50, Bourbonnais. Call 815-929-1760


Several readers wanted to know if Club Irwin is still open. Yes! Owners John and Linda Naese now serve barbecued ribs and prime rib that has been smoked on the grill Friday and Saturday nights.

Watch for their weekend and daily specials, too. Their hamburgers are wonderful, and with Lent quickly approaching, they will be serving many fish specials.

Club Irwin is at 4460 Main St., Kankakee, off Illinois route 17. Call 815- 936-9980.


The On Deck Bar and Grill at 6070 E. Route 17, Kankakee, will soon be known as El Rio Tex-Mex Grill. Owner Lydia Witkowski said it will have a new Tex-Mex menu and will keep us informed.


Beef O’Brady’s now is serving weekend breakfast beginning at 7 a.m. There are traditional breakfast menu items plus a few surprises, including beignets, a light pastry dough fried until it puffs and then sprinkled with powdered sugar and served warm. Owner Maria Verkler said their souffleé pancakes are a big hit, too.

We’ll have more details next week.

Beef O’Brady’s is at 547 Main St. NW, Bourbonnais. Call 815-929-9800.


If you are having a Super Bowl special Feb. 3, send your information to so we can let folks know.


Take advantage of the coupons in Let’s Eat Out, our online restaurant directory and coupons portal. Go to for printable coupons, menus and special offers.

Best Bites appears every Friday in The Daily Journal. Tinker Parker can be reached at 815-802-5101, at, or follow her on Facebook at

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