Best Bites: Food and circuses at Traxx

Published in The Daily Journal Feb. 22, 2013

Traxx Sports Bar & Grill in Grant Park is a neighborhood pub serving some amazing pub food. I went Saturday night for pizza and it was wonderful — excellent sauce and crisp crust.

Dinner specials at Traxx aren’t what you would expect to find on most tavern menus. The whiskey chicken sounds incredible. On Sunday, there is a special on tacos. On Tuesday night, dine in and get 40 percent off a thin crust pizza.

Owners Mike and Lori Locasio and Rich and Patty Dulin offer just about anything you can think of. Larry Nona, of Kankakee, recommends Patty’s soup.

And, if you like shuffleboard, Traxx is the place to be. There’s a beautiful shuffleboard table and even an old-fashioned chalkboard for scorekeeping. We stayed and played for several hours after eating.

Go — it’s worth the trip. A very friendly pub, great staff and wonderful food.

Traxx Sports Bar & Grill is at 400 S. Main St., Grant Park (next to the railroad tracks). Hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is closed Monday. Call 815-465-2000 for more information.


I’m very flattered when readers call and ask for recommendations, and I’m always willing to assist.

I like to ask questions and give several choices because every local restaurant has its unique menu and specialties.

Recently Barbara, from Manteno, called looking for a place she could take her son for lunch. I directed her to several restaurants in the area where they would be meeting, and they decided on Mayberry Junction in Manteno.

Barbara said the potato soup there was very good, and the Italian beef sandwich was wonderful.

Mayberry has some great food. It is well-known for broasted chicken — crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside — and homemade soups. There’s a new selection every day. The staff also is very friendly, always talking with customers, making jokes and asking about their families.

Mayberry Junction is at 390 N. Locust St., Manteno. It is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Call 815-468-3811.


Karen, of Bourbonnais, sent me a recommendation for Raphaelo’s Steaks, Seafood, Pasta & Banquet Rooms in Manteno.

“Please try Raphaelo’s (formerly Tuscany) in Manteno. It is family run and the waitresses are seasoned and knowledgeable. We have booked parties there over the last few years, and enjoy Friday night suppers there sometimes. The folks there are so accommodating. The family who owns and operates the restaurant is very friendly and wants their customers to enjoy the experience and the food. Also there is a senior discount on certain nights.”

Raphaelo’s Steaks, Seafood, Pasta & Banquet Rooms in Manteno is at 315 N. Locust Street. Call 815-468-9810. (Comcast customers call 815-468-9848.)


Big Fish Bar & Grille in Wilmington has an all-you-can-eat fish fry every Friday until March 29. For $12.95 per person, guests can dine on premium, beer-battered whitefish served with tartar sauce, roasted, red skin potatoes, coleslaw and hushpuppies.

The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is closed Monday. For more specials and menu items, check out

Big Fish Bar & Grille is at 27425 S. Will Road, Wilmington. Call 815-476-9331.


Beef O’Brady’s now is open at 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday for the ultimate weekend breakfast. There are the traditional breakfast items, but the restaurant also is serving some very unique dishes, like the western burrito, filled with scrambled eggs, country sausage, onion, green pepper, cheese and salsa, or the souffle pancakes and sourdough French toast that are made from scratch and very popular with guests. Or try the delicate beignets — a light pastry dough fried until it puffs and then sprinkled with powdered sugar and served warm — or stone ground grits that will keep your tummy warm on these cold mornings.

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

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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