Best Restaurant (Suburbs) - 2011
The Hanger Room
Forget the baked potato and iceberg wedge. The Hanger Room in tiny Willernie is turning the idea of a small-town steak house on its head. First and foremost, the Hanger Room is the first restaurant in the state to dry-age its own steaks on the premises. The process makes the beef's flavor more concentrated and intense. Had Meg Ryan been eating one of the 42-day-aged rib eyes during the diner scene in When Harry Met Sally..., her famous outburst most certainly would not have been fake. Secondly, owner Nick Miller (one of the founders of Happy Gnome, who now runs Buster's on 28th) hired chef Leonard Anderson, a W.A. Frost alum, to head the kitchen, so the rest of the contemporary American fare is handled just as carefully. The Hanger Room is also blessedly versatile. It's actually two rooms—one for more formal dining, the other a classy bar—so diners can eat the same menu in two different environments, depending on their mood. But no matter if you're tucked into a booth or perched on a barstool pairing one of the 50 tap beers and an order of the duck tenders, or enjoying a multicourse tasting menu at a linen-topped table, you'll be wishing you lived a little closer to the Hanger Room.