When I was little, there was a restaurant in town that everyone when to. You would find every age from newborns on their first trip out of the house on up to 90-year-old grandmothers celebrating their milestone birthdays. The food was excellent, the service was friendly and you always saw someone you knew. I finally found a restaurant with a similar feel in the north Chicago ‘burbs, and I was thrilled to take my son on a date there the other week!
Max and Benny’s is a full service 280 seat restaurant and deli located on Waukegan Rd. in Northbrook. The sheer size of the dining menu assures that there is something for everyone- from comforting classics like Roast Turkey Dinner to deli delights like the Max and Benny’s Reuben to Chicken Pesto Salad to Matzo Ball Soup. And as for the kid’s menu- staples like Mac n’ Cheese and Chicken Fingers are available, as well as Silver Dollar Pancakes and Mini Pizza Bagels.
Since Max and Benny’s has a deli right smack in the lobby, I decided to go with the Reuben. (Secret obsession of mine- every time I dine and there is a Reuben on the menu, I MUST try it). I have had Reubens at dozens of restaurants, and….I declare this one the official winner! For me, the sign of an excellent Reuben is grilled bread, a towering stack of thinly sliced corned beef, juicy sauerkraut, melted swiss and the right amount of 1000 Island Dressing (theirs comes on the side- perfect). It also came with a deli pickle and cole slaw to make this one of the best dinners I have had the pleasure of consuming. Amazing.
Oh, and did I mention that their beer selection is massive? I was able to get my favorite IPA to accompany my little slice of deli heaven.
Max and Benny’s truly loves having families join them. Have you even been to a restaurant where you feel like your children are almost an intrusion? You won’t get that feeling here. Our waitress Mariana chatted to my son like he was a regular, and listened patiently as he changed his mind (5 times) about what he wanted to order.
Here is what makes Max and Benny’s an amazing family spot to grab a meal:
- Bread basket full of fresh-baked goodies is delivered to your table when you sit down. Any mom whose children are “starving” knows what a bonus it is to have immediate food.
- Kids cups are plastic, have lids and can go with you when you leave
- Huge, comfy booths where you can trap wandering children
- TVs are present, but not the main focus of the dining area
- Kids menu features food that kids WANT to eat, includes a drink, and gives a variety of sides (fries/fruit). It also includes dessert, which our waitress kindly asked on the sly if my son would like.
- Kids menu is in the form of an activity book and comes with crayons- coloring, connect the dots, word search and more keep your kiddos entertained.
- I didn’t get one evil eye when my son decided to camp out under the table and pretend to be Superman when weaving through the tables on his way to the bathroom. I got smiles instead.
Bryson loved his meal, as well as his massive dish of ice cream that I decided to finish off for him.
On our way out, we grabbed one of the impressively decorated cookies for his 2 year old sister. I was blown away by the detail on their cookies- from Minnie Mouse to BB8 to Cubs Jerseys to Barack & Michelle! You can even request to have your child’s portrait drawn on a cake or cookies. They can make ANYthing- I know where I am headed for Bryson’s birthday desserts this year!
A sincere thank you to Max and Benny’s for having us. This restaurant was named after the owners’ children, and has developed a legacy of quality food, a welcoming atmosphere and unique treats over the 30 years it has been in business. We can’t WAIT to come back!