When I think of Parkside Pub in Huntley, I think about the Turkey Testicle Festival, which has been going on since 1983.
That might be a big reason people know them, but the reality is that Parkside has a lot more to offer.
On a recent early Saturday evening, we drove to downtown Huntley and checked it out. We parked in the back, entered in the side door and took one of the tables near the back. The front of the restaurant, which was re-done inside after the Super Bowl recently, it a large U-shaped bar.
The first part of the order was easy. They had some of Leinekugel's seasonal Snowdrift Vanilla Porter ($3) on tap and on special, so that's the direction I was headed. My fellow diner, meanwhile, picked one of my favorites from Crystal Lake Brewing, the Fox Rocker ($5), which is an amber ale that always pleases.
We also started out with the voodoo shrimp appetizer ($10). The menu says its famous and we found out why.
The shrimp came drenched in Parklside's creamy and spicy sauce that was outstanding with the brews we had ordered. It just fit perfectly.
The toughest decision of the night was the main course. There are burgers, sandwiches, salads, wraps and some seafood options.
We both were feeling the sandwich menu and ultimatedly I went with the pot roast sandwich ($10) while my fellow diner picked the philly steak sandwich ($10).
Both came with cole slaw on the side while he ordered the chunky crinkle fries and I went for the tater tots.
What was clear immediately was that the portions were huge. These were sandwiches we could split and bring home for a second meal for lunch the next day. That's actually what both of us did, by the way.
As for the sandwiches, the philly steak was dripping with cheese and a bit salty, which might have been from having the cheese cooked with it. That helped the next day as well.
Every cole slaw is different, but this was a pretty good version. And I rarely go wrong with tots and this was no exception.
The pot roast sandwich, meanwhile, was smothered in pepper jack cheese and what really put it over the top was the warm gravy on the side to dip the sandwich in. Kinda of like a french dip, only with a thicker dip option that was really good. I might have dipped a few tots in as well.
This had me longing for spring and summer, which Parkside can open up its patio and the downtown will become even more lively than this rainy Saturday afternoon. That would only add to the level of fun and the festive environment.
• The Mystery Diner is an employee at the Northwest Herald. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits a restaurant and then reports on the experience. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a review.