Saturday, April 21, 2007

The big red Weber Grill in Schaumburg, Il

I spent the better part of last week on the road for work observing focus groups of women talking about cooking and meal planning. During most of these sessions, we were treated to delivered boxes of food from local suburban casual dining dives and disasters like PF Chang's and Bennigan's. During a session in Schaumberg, Illinois (about 30 minutes outside of Chicago) we were able to slip out of the research facility for an actual sit-down lunch. Drawn by the 10% discount offered on our hotel keys and the fact that it was across the street, we opted for the Weber Grill Restaurant - an outgrowth of the infamous back-yard primal cooking appliance company we all know and have encountered.

This place took the grill idea over the top. The front lawn was graced with a 15 foot high red grill greeting the passing traffic. Inside, the light fixtures were made of grill covers and every opportunity to refer to Weber's heritage was taken. For lunch, I opted for the Pulled Pork/BBQ Chicken combo plate with my pork served North Carolina style (seasoned with a spiced vinegar sauce vs. the Midwest style that relies on tomato based sauces).

The chicken was tasty enough and the pork had more than sufficient flavor, but the texture left much to be desired. I kept encountering what tasted to be little pellets of fat and the meat was tenderized to the point of near-butter making it barely distinguishable from the fat globules. Looking at the other dishes, I have to imagine there is more to this place than what I encountered. Given they have 3 Chicago-area locations and are expanding to Indianapolis soon, it's only a matter time before I find myself in the Weber Grill again sometime soon, so I'll have to give them another chance to prove themselves as other than the another suburban chain restaurant.

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