Blackthorn Grille: An Irish Pub in Lake Villa, Illinois

Blackthorn Grille is an Irish Pub styled restaurant and bar in Lake Villa, Illinois, in the Chain of Lakes region, about 24 miles northwest of the City of Chicago.

Blackthorn Grille is a locally owned restaurant that has a community atmosphere and regular customers. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner daily. During the weekend they also serve breakfast.

The restaurant has a woody, pub-like ambiance. The room is large and fairly open, so diners are seated in same room as the people in the large bar. There is a small dining area, partitioned off with a clear panel, so the bar is still visible. In this area is a large mural of the Irish countryside, which is predominately green. The mural is a refreshing focal point in the room.

Blackthorn Grille is an Irish pub named for the Blackthorn tree, or bush. The Blackthorn is a tree found throughout the British Isles that dwells on the edge of woods and hedgerows. The tree has white flowers and small plum-like fruits that are often used to make jam or flavor liquor, such as sloe gin. The branches can be used to make shillelaghs and walking sticks.

The Blackthorn is also believed to have magical and healing properties. Some people believe that it protects against evil, negativity and old wounds. The owners of Blackthorn thought it would be an appropriate name for a gathering place in Lake Villa.

The menu offers appetizers, salads, sandwiches, Irish specialties, pub food, chicken and pizza. The prices are moderate. Sandwiches run $8-$10. Irish Favorites and Chef’s Specialties run $13 – $17.They offer a Kid’s Menu, with meals for $5.95. There is a full bar, which offers a nightly drink special.

On a recent visit, we were seated in the partitioned area, near the mural. Even though we could see the bar, the partition muffled the noise.

I tried one of the Irish Favorites, the Sheppard’s Pie. My dining companion ordered the Fish & Chips. We ordered the drink special of the night, which happened to be Irish beer.

The Sheppard Pie ($13.95) was made of a tender beef in a brown gravy, with carrots, green peas, corn and onions. The dish was topped with mashed potatoes and cheese. The comfort food dish tasted good, but the gravy was a little heavy, so I probably would not order it again. I have tried other dishes in the restaurant. My favorite choice would be the Friday Fish Fry special. The Reuben sandwich, which I have not tried, has been highly recommended.

My companion ordered the he Fish & Chips ($13.95) , which was made of Icelandic cod, fried in a beer batter. The fried fish had a crispy coating and was served with French fries and Cole slaw.

The specialties of the house, in addition to the Irish specialties, appear to be pizza and broasted chicken, dishes I have yet to try.

Blackthorn has a comfortable, casual atmosphere and good pub food. The restaurant offers karaoke on Wednesday nights and occasionally features live entertainment. They also offer food and drink specials regularly.

Blackthorn Grille is located at 10 West Grand Avenue in Lake Villa, Illinois 60046. Lake Villa is in the Chain of Lakes region, in the far northwest suburbs of Chicago.

The building is a one story building on the Grand Avenue (Rt. 132) and Main Street in Lake Villa. There is limited parking in the small parking lot in front of the building and the parking lot is frequently full during the evening, particularly when they are have special events. There is a gravel parking lot across the street and some street parking nearby. There is only one handicapped parking space in front of the building, so accessible parking is limited.