The Brook Restaurant and Bar’s Peoria Avenue location started out as the Brook Theater in 1945. Today, it maintains its Art Deco exterior, but inside, it’s all about down-to-earth comfort food served in gigantic portions. Plan to arrive early if you don’t want to wait for a seat, settle back in a comfy booth, and mull over your choices of burgers, sandwiches, soups and salads.
The bacon cheddar burger ($9.95) is a half-pound of meat with bacon, cheese, mustard, pickles, red onion, lettuce and tomato. It was, as expected, enormous and flavorful, but the creamy shell pasta mac and cheese we’d ordered on the side at the urging of our server was extraordinary. We asked if there was a secret trick or ingredient that makes it so good. Our waitress just smiled and said, “It’s pretty simple. They mix up the sauces by hand. That’s it.” No clue what goes into that magic sauce; sometimes it’s better not to know and just enjoy. The cheddar fries ($9.50) are likewise legendary. The fresh-cut seasoned potatoes with melted cheddar come with ranch dressing. (Need more fat? Add bacon bits!)
Dessert? If you are still hungry after a half-pound burger and a heaping helping of mac ‘n cheese, there’s always chocolate decadence cake, cheesecake and apple crisp to consider ($5.95 each).