Who doesn’t relish the feel of a refreshing summer breeze, basking in warm sunlight or sitting under the glow of starlight as they dine outdoors? After being cooped up for much of the winter, it’s no surprise that diners in Sycamore are clamoring for al fresco options.
Restaurants are heeding the demand with patios and other outdoor seating. One of those restaurants is Tom & Jerry’s, which has been operating in Sycamore for more than 40 years. Known as the King of the Gyros, the restaurant offers homemade Italian beef sandwiches, all beef Chicago red hot dogs, homemade soups, garden fresh salads, baby back ribs, fried chicken and wings.
All menu items can be enjoyed on the restaurant’s fenced outdoor patio with seating for about 75 to 80 people. The cheerful patio is dotted with blue umbrellas for those who want some shade and is decorated with planters overflowing with colorful flowers that add a burst of natural beauty. The restaurant offers quick service, and the patio is open throughout the year.
“Customers are free to sit wherever they like,” said Sarah Meyer, general manager. “We don’t ever officially open or close the patio and our furniture is out there year-round.” ’
Customers can enjoy “BBQ on the Patio” Thursdays from 5 to 7:30 p.m. all summer long. This popular event features Tom & Jerry’s award-winning barbecue rib dinners, along with pork chop sandwiches and marinated chicken quarters.
“It’s attracted quite a loyal following each week, and year in and year out, for that matter,” Meyer said.
The mouth-watering ribs are a popular attraction. In 2015, Tom & Jerry’s won an award for Best Ribs at the inaugural Sycamore Ribs, Rhythm and Brews Festival.
Another place with lovely outdoor dining is P.J.’s Courthouse Tavern where rustic brick walls, a large wooden bar, original woodwork and vintage photos of Sycamore on the interior give an historic ambiance and make diners feel truly a part of the city.
P.J.’s lays claim to being part of a long-standing and well-loved history in Sycamore. It is housed in a former dry good store that was built in 1871. In fact, Sycamore’s first public library was located on the second floor of the restaurant in 1892.
The restaurant is owned by Paul Schwartz and his brother, John. As warmer weather approaches, the patio becomes a hot spot. It has 11 tables and seats 42. Diners crave the chance to dine outdoors and relax with friends and family while listening to music.
“People from the Midwest, after a long winter, long for nice weather and love to be outside,” Paul Schwartz said. “We pipe in some nice relaxing music, and there is no better place to enjoy a house-made sangria or a Moscow Mule.”
In addition to those tasty drinks, the restaurant offers the finest in domestic and imported beers, spirits and mixers. It has a state-of-the-art draft beer system that keeps the brews at a cool 34 degrees. Sipping one of those beers on the patio is a perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day.
The extensive menu features a variety of sandwiches, salads, soups, burgers, char-broiled chicken, wraps and appetizers.
For those who like to dine while enjoying music, P.J.’s offers live acoustic music from 7 to 10 p.m. on Thursdays throughout the summer.
Another place that is well known for outdoor dining is nestled in the heart of downtown Sycamore. MVP’s Sports Bar provides diners with an outdoor oasis of rum buckets, cold beer and fresh food.
MVP’s is home to DeKalb County’s only rooftop bar, and while diners may not be on the beach they can gaze at the restaurant’s unique, hand-painted, Caribbean-themed murals and feel like they are.
There is also plenty to entertain diners at MVP’s. It features three full-service bars: a sports bar with flat screen TVs, video gaming and weekend DJs; a large covered beer garden with a fire pit, flat-screen TVs and a bags area; and, of course, the rooftop cocktail and dining area complete with a Tiki bar, palm trees and more flat-screen TVs.
MVP’s serves a variety of food to satisfy any craving from burgers to fish tacos to homemade warm Cajun potato salad. The restaurant uses fresh ingredients sourced locally.
Taxco Restaurant Too, a family-owned and operated restaurant that was established in 1992, also offers outdoor dining. Its sidewalk is lined with flower-filled planters and five tables that seat 14. There is plenty to enjoy besides the fresh air and tasty Mexican cuisine at Taxco. It serves 400 different types of tequilas. Noting its fresh, hand-made tortillas, tasty tacos and burritos bursting with flavor, numerous publications have rated the Mexican food at Taxco as among the best in the area.
Sycamore Places to Eat
MVP Sports Bar
124 S. California St.
Tom & Jerry’s of Sycamore
1670 DeKalb Ave.
PJ’s Courthouse Tavern
202 W. State St.
Taxco Restaurant Too
223 W. State St.
332 W. State St.
204 Somonauk St.