Dead End Bar & Grill quietly offers quality pub food – Shaw Local


Compared to some of the more prominent restaurant rows along the Fox River, like McHenry or Algonquin, The Dead End Bar & Grill is rather modest. Located along the waterway in Fox River Grove, it lives up to its name on a dead end street.

If you’ve hit a dead end in your search for hidden culinary gems, The Dead End might just be the place.

The dining room is quite small with about half a dozen tables and high trays each, and a prominent bar taking up much of the room. Multiple TV screens, video poker machines, and electronic darts line the walls. On a Saturday night the bar was packed, but not uncomfortable.

While the menu is standard, with an offering of pub fare such as sandwiches, wings, and pizza, the food itself is what separates the establishment from similar venues. The dishes are homemade from the recipes of the founders of the tavern.

The thin crust pizza, in particular, can rival some of the best around. I was intrigued by the Italian Beef Pizza ($15 for a 12 inch).

He did not disappoint. The Dead End doesn’t skimp on ingredients; in particular, the pizza was loaded with hot giardiniera. I thought the pizza sauce was top notch: not too sweet with a little spiciness, and a generous amount was added to the pie. Often my complaint with thin crust pizzas is that the edge pieces are too lean in toppings.

For a thin crust pizza, I found the crust to be nicely crispy but not dry.

The hot wings were also notable; the kitchen crew fry them very crispy so they almost look like popcorn chicken or jalapeño peppers. The wings are super spicy and had a nice crunch. For those who prefer their wings covered in sauce, extra hot or buffalo sauce is available, and the wings come with ranch or blue cheese.

I ordered the BBQ Beef ($12) to try a variety. The fries were tasty and traditional. The sandwich was plentiful and the beef of good quality. The BBQ sauce was quite sweet, but I thought it was a nice contrast to the pizza and wings.

The bar also offers an attractive selection of beers and cocktails. And an outdoor seating area is just waiting for warmer temperatures.

According to his website, The Dead End location was a seaside resort in the 1920s. The current owner’s parents, Dan and Yukiko Frantz, bought the bar in 1990 and added the menu a few years later. The restaurant notes that it uses homemade recipes for pizza, chili, and other dishes. Most of the proceeds are Dan’s, according to a Chicago television report.

All in all, a place well worth seeking out if you’re craving pub favorites or craving mouth-watering pizza.

Fries and a BBQ beef sandwich at Dead End Bar & Grill.

• The Mystery Diner is an employee of the Northwest Herald. The identity of the diner is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits a restaurant and then reports on the experience. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not post a story.

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The unassuming entrance to Dead End Bar & Grill, as well as the signage.


WHAT: The dead end bar and grill

OR: 98 Northwest Highway, Fox River Grove

CALL: 847-639-2535



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