Lunch specials are homemade and large at Toby’s in North Chicago
By Tina Johansson Special to The News-Sun September 20, 2012 6:52PM
North Chicago, IL 9/13/12 Toby's Tavern and Grill in North Chicago features Mexican food on Thursdays. Tavern owner Pat Handy pours a drink from a shaker. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
Toby’s Tavern & Grill
1930 Green Bay Road
“Lunch Box” features spots across Lake County where one can do lunch — indoors or out. It appears Fridays in “Weekend.” We invite readers to recommend their favorite lunch places by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
NORTH CHICAGO — If it’s a healthy appetite for lunch or dinner you have, Toby’s Tavern & Grill is the place to go.
Varied daily lunch specials dish out homemade goodness and generous portions Monday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For $6.99, you can literally leave with a full belly and a doggie bag
Among the homemade comfort foods on the daily special menu are meatloaf, stir fry, chicken wings, chopped steak, and spaghetti and meatballs as well as others. On Tuesdays, it’s liver and onions.
Choose two from a long list of side dishes (at least seven), as well as a cup of homemade soup which is included. Sides include everything from “Toby’s famous spaghetti,” to cole slaw, mixed vegetables, potato wedges or french fries.
“We’ve had the lunch specials for three or four months and people seem to really like it. We give good-size portions, and it’s great for seniors on a fixed income, or those folks watching their budget,” said Pat Handy, manager and one of the owners.
In fact, a group of retirees come to the place nearly every day, enjoying lunch and a beer, said Handy.
On Thursday, the menu goes south of the border with a variety of authentic Mexican dishes, including tacos, quesadillas, burritos, and its deep-fried counterpart, chimichangas.
And don’t forget the Friday fish fry from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Catfish or cod is offered, as well as a combination of both. Two side dishes are also part of the meal which costs $9.95.
There are daily drink specials, too, and a variety of domestic and imported beers.
“I would say our Long Island iced tea and our martinis are our most popular mixed drinks,” said bartender Vicky Farias.
A popular Country Cooking Buffet is offered Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. for $12.99, including beverage and dessert.
Among the Southern-steeped staples are fried chicken, baked chicken, okra and sweet potatoes. Check out the peach cobbler and cake for dessert, and the lemonade or sweet tea to wet your whistle.
“This buffet is our best seller,” said Handy.
Just in time for football season, Handy has recently added several new flat-screen televisions to the place, including two 70-inch models in the back of the restaurant.
Live music is offered on Saturday nights and there is stepping and line dancing on Thursday evenings.
The owner has her sights set on completion of an outdoor patio she plans to open next spring.
The iconic Toby’s seats about 100 and has been a family-owned business for Handy and her relatives for the past seven years, but “It’s been around for as long as I can remember,” she said.