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Food & Drink

RBK American Grill in Downers Grove focuses on farm freshness

DOWNERS GROVE – Plenty of restaurants boast of fresh ingredients, but RBK American Grill in Downers Grove takes the claim very seriously.

“We have our own garden,” chef and owner Robert Butterfield said.

The garden is adjacent to the restaurant, 994 Warren Ave., in the heart of downtown Downers Grove, and supplies the eatery with tomatoes, lettuce, fresh herbs and fennel.

"When you grow your own it has a lot more impact [on the food],” said Butterfield, a veteran of the restaurant and catering industries.

The restaurant also uses vegetables grown at Good Worx, a nonprofit organization that runs a community farm in Darien.

“We’re their only restaurant partner,” said Butterfield, who also owns a catering business in Wilmette.

The focus of freshness goes beyond sourcing locally for produce.

“Everything is made here,” Butterfield said. “Everything is made from scratch. You’ve got to control the quality.”

RBK American Grill opened about two years ago and serves American cuisine that is influenced by Italian, Asian, French and Spanish cooking, he said.

There’s a variety of selections on the menu to meet every patron’s tastes. Hamburgers, Nashville fried chicken, shrimp tacos, short ribs and lobster rolls are just some of the more popular choices. A selection of steaks, fish and chops also are available.

“There’s a lot of options,” said Butterfield, who worked for Four Seasons Hotels and Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises before opening RBK American Grill. He’s also served as a consultant to new restaurants.

Other entrees rotate on and off the menu depending on the season, Butterfield said.

RBK American Grill fits nicely in the overall restaurant scene in downtown Downers Grove, he said.

“We’re not in competition with anyone,” he said, adding he’d like to see more eateries join him in the business district.

The restaurant can accommodate 65 diners, with seating for an additional 25 on two outdoor patios. A bar seats 10 and serves 40 wines, as well as craft cocktails and beers.

The grill is only open for dinner, but a lunch menu is in the near future, Butterfield said.

Butterfield employs a less-is-more approach to the restaurant’s motif.

“It’s kind of sleek,” he said. “There’s not a whole lot of decor on purpose.”

Two black and silver outdoor signs identify the restaurant, which occupies property on the northwest corner of Warren Avenue and Main Street. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer nice views of the bustling business district. Red lighting is used to subtly enhance the decor.

“Our core support is Downers Grove,” said Butterfield, who has relied on word of mouth to promote the bistro.


If you go

What: RBK American Grill

Where: 994 Warren Ave., Downers Grove


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