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Mystery Diner

Mystery Diner: Ellyn's Italian beef egg rolls spice up cozy neighborhood bar

GLEN ELLYN – Sometimes you just need to find a place to relax and unwind.

When a busy start to my work week made a Tuesday feel like a Thursday, I found myself experiencing just one of those times.

I had heard good things about Ellyn's Tap & Grill in Glen Ellyn and knew people who frequented the restaurant and bar as a neighborhood favorite, so I decided to give it a shot.

Ellyn's, which has a large – and beautiful – wooden bar at its center, was pretty hopping for a Tuesday evening, and the business attracted a mix of patrons, from families with young children to friends catching up to couples out on dates. There was no shortage of TV screens either, for sports fans who wanted to watch the Cubs game.

While I was a little disappointed to discover we missed Wednesday night trivia by one day and a weekend brunch Bloody Mary bar by a few more, I was ready to sit back, relax and start my meal with some of Chicago's best – Ellyn's Italian beef egg rolls.

The egg rolls, which also are served at Ellyn's sister establishments, Warren's Ale House in Wheaton and Lavergne's Tavern in Berwyn, were featured on WGN's "Chicago's Best" in January.

They certainly are worthy of the word "best."

I'm typically not much of an egg roll fan – my go-to Chinese takeout appetizer is crab rangoon – but I guess all I needed was to fill the crispy, flaky dough with juicy, flavorful beef and giardinara. The cup of juice for dipping, filled with tiny bits of beef, added an extra kick to the dish.

For my entree, I decided to go with some classic bar food, the Reuben sandwich and fries.

The sandwich featured lightly buttered bread, tender corned beef and generous toppings of Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing and sauerkraut – the main attraction for my German blood.

My companion ordered the half-slab of barbecue ribs and tater tots. The half-slab was generous to say the least, but the real star of the meal was the tater tots, which came out covered in melted cheese. I instantly regretted my decision to order the fries when I beheld their cheesy beauty. Luckily, my companion was feeling generous and let me try one of the tots.

Between the egg rolls and our entrees, we were too full for dessert, but both the salted caramel cheesecake and funnel cake sundae sounded tempting, as did many of the creative cocktails on the menu.

Next time I come, though, I have my eye on that Bloody Mary bar, for a little taste of a Chicago brunch favorite in the suburbs. Hopefully brunch comes with tater tots.

The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at Suburban Life Media. The diner’s identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. Only positive dining experiences will result in published reviews.

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If you go

What: Ellyn's Tap & Grill

Where: 940 Roosevelt Road, Glen Ellyn

Info: ellyns.com

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