About

A note from a local “passenger” who embarked for this great ride 14 years ago:

This restaurant does not have to be as good as it is.

In the great food cities of America — New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Seattle — it could more than hold its own.

The fact that it consistently delivers outstanding American dining in a town of under 9,000 speaks to a dedication and special quality that transcend location.

Just moments from the Metra stop in historic Riverside, Illinois, The Chew Chew Restaurant began in 1996 a block away as The Chew Chew Café, named for its close proximity to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe line that rattled the dining room with each passing train.

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Owner and Executive Chef Scott Zimmer, who has amassed 30 years of life experience working for many local and national restaurant groups, has engineered a bit of a hospitality trifecta:

A two-level space with vintage décor that is a destination unto itself, a loyal staff that exudes service, teamwork, and professionalism, and food customers and critics both love.

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The Chew Chew averages 4.5 stars from Open Table, Urban Spoon, and Trip Advisor.

It was recognized as “Best of Chicago” by Chicago Magazine, and featured on ABC-TV.

Recently, it was featured on WTTW’s Emmy award-winning show, Check Please!

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This year, The Chew Chew received the Diner’s Choice Award from Open Table and ranked in the Top 10 of Chicago’s “Neighborhood Gems,” including 13 weeks at #1.

A trip to The Chew Chew from Chicago’s Union Station takes less time than it does from Wrigley Field to U.S. Cellular Field.

And yet you’ll be transported to a timeless place.

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No wonder The Chew Chew welcomes through its door over 50,000 people each year.

If you can, get a booth, decorated with original paintings by Chicago artist Bonnie Lecat, that will make you feel like you’re in a dining car on a train across America.

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Order a craft beer, a quartino of wine, or a classic cocktail (Chugga Chugga), and get ready to dine first class amidst the sights, smells, and sounds of The Chew Chew.

All aboard.

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OWNER/EXECUTIVE CHEF SCOTT ZIMMER

As a young teenager, Scott dreamed of opening a restaurant and he achieved this dream at age 27, with the original opening of the Chew Chew Café.

In his 30-year career, Scott has worked in every food and beverage capacity imaginable: dishwasher, line cook, bartender, server, host, DJ, dining room manager, general manager, kitchen manager, and chef.

He graduated at the top of his class in 1992 from the University of Illinois in Restaurant Management, where he also received the College’s Outstanding Junior Award while serving as President of the Hospitality Management Association.

As an industry leader and consultant, Zimmer has steered the success of many Chicago eateries with an ability to analyze food and beverage menus, service, hospitality, restaurant design, profitability, purchasing, and production.

Scott credits Danny Meyer (Union Square Café) and Judy Rodgers (Zuni Café) for heavily influencing his service and food philosophies.   He manages with honor, discipline, consistency, communication, courage, wisdom, compassion, flexibility, love, humility, confidence, and a passion for work and excellence.

Scott is happily married to his wife Diane and together they are raising two young daughters — Agatha and Dagny Lu.

The Chew Chew is able to provide such a pleasurable dining experience to over 50,000 visitors each year thanks to its dedicated and tireless kitchen and service staff.

To witness them in action is to fully appreciate the teamwork and precision it takes to get hot dishes and cold drinks to customers in our four separate dining areas.

More important, what’s also evident is that they love what they do.

Which is why The Chew Chew gets such high ratings not just for food but also service.

And why we love our staff like family.

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At the Chew Chew, we strive to bring together warm, intelligent and caring people who enjoy preparing food and serving guests. If you are interested in employment, please visit us in person during business hours to complete a front-of-house or back-of-house application.  Applications are available at our host stand.

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THE CHEW CHEW DONATION POLICY.

The Chew Chew is proud of the philanthropic work we do within our community.  On an ongoing basis, we support a variety of charitable and educational organizations in the Chicago-land area.

Due to the frequency and size of donation requests we receive, it has become necessary to modify our policies regarding charitable donations.

Each month we are flooded with requests from deserving groups, which makes the selection process very difficult. Unfortunately, it is impossible for a business of our size to participate every time we are asked. The Chew Chew policy is to select 10 organizations each month from the requests we receive. These organizations will receive a Chew Chew Gift Card valid for food or beverage purchases in the restaurant. Amounts will vary depending on the receiving organization and amount of requests we receive.

To be considered for a Gift Card donation, please submit the following information on your organization’s letterhead:

  • Purpose of donation, i.e. type of event (auction, golf outing, school fundraiser, etc.)
  • Date of event and deadline for item to be received
  • Organization’s Mission and Goals
  • Explain what the funds being raised will be used for
  • Tax Identification Letter

Please submit your request email to scottzimmer1@sbcglobal.net, fax to 708-447-8715 or send via US Mail to The Chew Chew, 33 East Burlington, Riverside, IL 60546. Please allow two weeks for consideration.

Thank you very much and we wish you success in your fund raising efforts.