There’s nothing better than going to Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg on a rainy Saturday afternoon…
Nope, that’s absolutely a lie. I can’t think of anything worse than Woodfield Mall on a Saturday afternoon, the place is a madhouse. Wall to wall people who have no clue where they are going with no intention of buying anything. I would rate it right up there with going to IKEA on a weekend, which also happens to be right near the mall ironically. I’m starting to think that Schaumburg, in general, is my personal hell.
But within the fiery pits of hades there is one shining light… or at least there was on this fateful day, and that was City Works restaurant.
Saturday at Build-a-Bear
The only reason we went to the mall in the first place was so that my daughter could go to Build-a-Bear for her birthday. Her birthday was a few weeks earlier, but this was the first weekend we were available to meet up with my daughter’s god father, and our good friend’s, so they could treat her to a teddy bear.
We met at the mall around 4PM and fought our way through the crowds to get to Build-a-Bear. The Build-a-Bear experience was actually pretty painless, except for the fact that the line was about 20 people deep when we got there, and about zero people deep as soon as we were done… which always seems to happen.
The staff, and everyone working there were very friendly and helpful, which made the experience great for the kids, and tolerable for the adults. And after spending $130 on stuffed bears and outfits and accessories, we were out of there in about an hour I think.
Once we were done with building the bears, we decided just to walk around the mall a little bit before trying to find somewhere to eat dinner.
And what are the odds that we run into our other good friends and their daughter walking through the mall… I mean seriously, the mall is huge, it’s not really a mall that any of us go to on a regular basis, or have been to in years, and yet we all happen to be there on the same day, at the same time, and happen to walk by each other in the same area of the mall… what a coincidence.
And with that happy accident, our dinner party grew by 3… so now to figure out where to eat.
City Works Eatery and Pour House Schaumburg
We had actually passed by City Works Eatery and Pour House on our way to the mall as it’s on Golf Rd. just north of the mall. We weren’t really considering checking it out though until we called Westwood Tavern and the wait for 9 people was about an hour… which wasn’t going to fly with 3 hungry kids.
So with Westwood out of the picture we decided to call City Works to see what they could do for us, and to our surprise they said there was no wait, so the decision was made.
Once we arrived at City Works, and took advantage of the free valet, we were informed that while there was no wait, the table they were going to give us was a 10 person high top in the bar area.
Normally this would have been fine, but we had a baby, a 4 year old and a 19 month old with us… It’s no problem for the 4 year old to sit in a normal chair, but the baby just hangs out in her carrier still and the 19 month old needs a high chair or a booster seat of some kind, and with the higher chairs, we weren’t sure it was going to work.
Thankfully, City Works knows what they are doing and had everything covered. The booster seat they brought out for my son was the exact same one he uses at home which secures around the back and bottom of the chair, which meant that the fact that the chair was a higher chair made no difference. He wasn’t going anywhere.
Unfortunately though, this meant that the baby had to hang out on the ground in her carrier, but she was a trooper and didn’t make a peep the entire time we were there.
Appetizers and Drinks
As we sat down we were immediately greeted by Brian, our friendly server, however, having just settled in and having no time to look over the menu, we weren’t sure what we wanted to drink, or eat. So we sent him off to tend to other tables while we glanced over the menu.
When he came back around we were all set for appetizers, drinks and the kids food (Kraft mac’ n cheese), however I think we confused him when we told him we wanted to put in the kids food as well, because he took the kids order and then disappeared again, without taking our order for apps and drinks. Not a huge deal, but it took him a while to come back, by which point we all knew what we wanted to eat for our entrees anyways, so we just ordered everything at once.
As far as the drinks go, I have no clue what everyone else ordered, but I ordered a simple Tito’s Vodka and Soda. When Brian asked if I wanted a tall or a short glass, I opted for the short glass because I would rather not drink almost an entire glass of soda water for a typical mixed drink… I wasn’t aware that this was going to cause me to get drunk after two sips.
Although I was told the drink was not a double pour, it was probably the strongest Vodka Soda I’ve ever had, next to the one I had a Bob Chinn’s a few years ago (which I apparently never wrote about).
I normally don’t like to send anything back, but I had to have him take the drink back and just pour it into a taller glass and add some soda water. There was absolutely no way I was going to be able to drink that drink, let alone drive my family home afterwards. And actually, in the end I barely even finished half the drink by the end of our dinner anyways. It was just a little too much.
What wasn’t a little too much though were the cheese curds we ordered for our appetizer. They were delicious.
Filled with white cheddar cheese and battered with cornmeal… mmmmmm, I wish I had a plate of them in front of me right now.
I’m not super picky when it comes to cheese curds. Sometimes I like the thicker battered crust, sometimes I like them a little more light and fluffy, but more often than not I don’t care since they are always delicious. It’s kinda like mozzarella sticks, even the worst mozzarella sticks are still amazing.
The cheese curds themselves were absolutely amazing, we devoured two orders of them at the table, but I wasn’t a fan of the dipping sauce. I’m a simple guy, therefore when I order breaded fried cheese I prefer just to dip them in normal red marinara, not smoked tomato coulis…
There’s no need to get fancy when it comes to cheese curds, the cheese does all the talking.
Entrees – Burgers, Tacos, Beet Salads and More
Since we put in our food order at the same time as the appetizers and drinks, it wasn’t too long before our entrees started coming out… or most of them at least.
For some reason everything came out except for my cheeseburger and one of our salads. We actually had like three people come up and ask if everything came out ok and we informed them that we were still missing food, so one by one they each went back to check on the food.
It took about another 5 minutes for the last two entrees to come out, but it wasn’t that big of a deal.
Since our party was pretty big this time, and the table was pretty long, I’m really not sure what everyone ordered so I can’t even comment on it. Normally I’ll mention what everyone got and if they had any complaints about it, but in this case I really have no clue what else was ordered outside of my wife’s food and the salad that Nick ordered… and I don’t even know what kind of salad it was, so that’s not helpful.
With that being said though, let’s focus on the most important meal of the night… my meal… a cheeseburger.
Are you surprised?
The Bacon Cheeseburger at City Works comes with house-smoked candied thick-cut bacon, aged Vermont white and yellow cheddar cheeses, shredded iceberg lettuce, vine-ripened tomato and red onion.
I opted to remove the tomato and the onion, but for some reason I had them leave on the lettuce, which I never do… I probably should have had them take it off.
If it were just a larger piece of lettuce draped over the burger, I probably could have dealt with it, but it was shredded lettuce under the burger patty, which became very wilty and non-crunchy as the burger juices leaked out and down on to the bun.
I also realized that I’m not a fan of thick-cut bacon.
I’m more of a thin and crunchy person when it comes to my bacon, so the thick-cut bacon just wasn’t doing it for me… it’s basically the opposite of what I like when it comes to bacon. And I should have realized this, since this isn’t the first time I’ve had thick-cut bacon… I just saw candied bacon and my mouth started immediately watering.
So unappealing thick-cut bacon, and weird wilty shredded lettuce aside, I thought the burger was actually very good. The meat was nice and juicy and the cheeses were awesome. I’d definitely order this again, but I’d ditch the bacon and lettuce, in addition to the onions and tomatoes, and just go with my normal, plain, cheese and meat.
As for the other food at the table that I know was ordered. My wife got the fish tacos (pictured at top), which she really enjoyed. And the beet salad, which she’s had a taste for ever since we went to RPM Italian a couple months ago.
And based on the lack of complaining coming from the other end of the table, I’m assuming that everyone else enjoyed their food as well.
So if you’re looking for somewhere to eat in Schaumburg that isn’t in the mall and isn’t Westwood Tavern (I honestly don’t know what else is around there… oh, or Olive Garden, which is across the street), then City Works is a solid choice.
The atmosphere was cool, lots of TV’s in the bar area if you want to catch a game. Solid food and drinks, good service despite a few minor hiccups, and overall a great place to eat.
And I don’t want anyone to think that I was disappointed with the service from Brian, because he was actually very good. The restaurant itself was pretty crowded shortly after we got there, so I totally understand that there were a few hiccups.
I mean, Brian actually took our ticket to the valet himself so they could start getting our car before we started getting everyone all bundled up, so that was nice. And it definitely wasn’t his fault that the valet guys gave us the key fob for someone else’s car, not realizing that our key fob was sitting in the center console. I definitely almost drove away with someone else’s keys… that could have been bad.