The Vine – Wine & Martini Bar
101 Center St., Grayslake, IL; (847) 543-0900

I’m already forgetting which night we went to The Vine…Sunday, I think? I’d thought it would be about time Tony actually saw downtown Grayslake (I’d had Nancy drive me by just so I could find out where it was on Thursday). It’s a really small but fairly quaint little area with an itty bitty main street (called Center St.) lined with a spattering of shops and restaurants. Drive through it and you pretty much dead-end at the lake and a bunch of big old houses.

Anyway, we thought we’d try out The Vine. It’s actually pretty new, from what I understand. It was opened by a group of friends/residents of the area who thought that Grayslake needed something a tad more upscale than the Dog & Suds (a dive drive-up we’ve gotta try sometime). So they opened up a wine/martini bar with more-or-less tapas-style serving plates.

The Vine was actually a really pleasant surprise. It was nicely decorated inside with some cool architectural details (exposed brick, large fireplace, trendy lights). And while it looks pretty upscale, most people inside were pretty casual and dressed down. They have a fair amount of tables and two cozy leather couches flanking the fireplace.

While the wine and martini menus aren’t incredibly extensive (but big enough), they had some good choices and the prices weren’t too bad (esp. on the wine). We each had a martini (hey, it’d been a loooonnnng day unloading and unpacking). I tried a Butterfinger-ish one and Tony had the Snickers. Both were yummy and very dangerous. I could drink a pitcher of those things and never know what had hit me…until I hit the floor.

Then we had a glass of wine each with our dinner (malbec for me, some blend for Tony). We each ordered their burger flight. Yes, you read that right. They have a gourmet burger flight. You choose 3 different styles to try on mini-Angus burgers. The only odd thing — they have just 5 choices. So we wound up getting one twice (the bacon avocado one). They are served with either fries (really good), fruit (too much pineapple), or something else (some kind of salad? I forget already). All of them were excellent. I’m not sure if my favorite was the one with a rich raspberry sauce or the one with the portabello mushrooms. And we also ordered a plate of their roasted red potatoes with a fondue cheese sauce. Also very yum. Next time I’ll try and save room for dessert.

We’ll definitely be back, especially since their website seems to indicate they hold different events (like wine tastings, or bands). Oh, and they also have free Wi-Fi (for paying customers, of course). Completely non-smoking.

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