Allgauer's presents its signature USDA Prime Aged, mesquite grilled filet
mignon with mashed potatoes and roasted garlic sauce served with fresh
asparagus.

Allgauer's presents its signature USDA Prime Aged, mesquite grilled filet mignon with mashed potatoes and roasted garlic sauce served with fresh asparagus. (May 16, 2012)

Food and drink in DuPage is an excursion that takes you from old-time favorites and new finds to the ethnic and exotic. In the "old-time" category, the county can trace its roots to establishments that opened in the early part of last century and beyond that are still welcoming customers today.

Built in 1843, York Tavern, located in Oak Brook/Hinsdale's historic corridor on York Road, is believed to be the oldest continuously operating privately owned restaurant DuPage. Recent renovations maintained this historical treasure's authenticity and it is still a popular spot to enjoy a cold one and some hearty fare.

In 1862, Joseph R. McChesney opened a grocery and dry goods store in Glen Ellyn, McChesney Grocery. In 1913, Oscar Miller added a meat market next door to McChesney's. Descendant Charlie McChesney joined forces with Miller in 1920 to form McChesney and Miller Inc. The much-loved grocery known today as McChesney & Miller, offers everything from gourmet meat cuts to matzo ball mix.

In 1934, a field house with two gas pumps flanking its entrance opened for business on a two-lane dirt road known today as North Avenue. For years it served folks who stopped in to grab a quick bite, sip a cold beverage, and fill up their car. Ki's Steakhouse still serves food and drink at its North Avenue location in Glendale Heights, but the gas pumps are long gone.

Mack's Golden Pheasant in Elmhurst is the "newcomer" of the group, first opened by Frank and Mae Mack as a tavern in the late 1930s and then expanding into a full service restaurant in 1948. Also located on North Avenue, it has the distinction of being the oldest continuously family-owned restaurant in DuPage County, run today by Frank's grandson and his family.

Since these pioneering days, DuPage County has grown into an eclectic mix of choices to please any budget or preference. From a burger and beer to seafood and fine wine to sushi and sake, name your pleasure and you'll find it sprinkled among the many towns that make up the county.

In addition, eating and drinking corridors — replete with Chicago restaurants' suburban outlets —have sprung up in downtown Naperville, Oakbrook Center, and on Butterfield Road from Oakbrook Terrace to Downers Grove.

Walk Naperville's streets and come across such city sites as Catch 35, Francesca's, Heaven on Seven, and Hugo's Frog Bar. Drive to Oakbrook Center and its environs and find a number of popular spots like Ditka's, Cheesecake Factory, Gibsons and several Lettuce Entertain You establishments including Wildfire, Maggiano's, Reef Club, Antico Posto and Mon Ami Gabi.

The Yorktown Center and Butterfield Road dining corridor has seen an explosion of places in the last five years. You'll recognize high profile favorites like McCormick and Schmick's and Harry Caray's, in addition to Capital Grille, Kona Grill, RA Sushi Bar, D.O.C. Wine Bar and Brio Italian Tuscan Grille.

Amid all the high-power, high-profile places there's still room in DuPage for the small business owner with a big dream, those who started with one and then grew to several successful locations. Egg Harbor first opened in Hinsdale in 1985 and grew to six DuPage locations, as well as several in surrounding counties. Wok'n Fire started with a small place in downtown Elmhurst, expanded to Addison, Wheaton and most recently Burr Ridge, as well as to St. Charlesjust over the border in Kane County.

In fact, visit any town in DuPage and you will see establishments of all sizes, shapes and varieties open and ready to bid you welcome. All you need do is walk in the door.