The Country House - Clarendon Hills
Casual dining in a rustic atmosphere has made The Country House Restaurants
a west suburban favorite for more than 40 years. We are a great spot for a
quick business lunch, a relaxed dinner, or just to have a cocktail with your
neighbor. We are best known for our highly recommended "Country
Burger" a hearty half pound served on dark rye. It was recently voted "Chicago's
Favorite Burger" by the readers of The Chicago Tribune.
In addition our menu also features hickory smoked ribs, char-broiled steaks,
fresh salads, pastas, and daily specials - all in a friendly neighborhood setting. There is also a full service bar where you can enjoy your favorite beer, a martini,
or a glass of wine by the fireplace. We are open 7 days a week for lunch, dinner,
or a late night meal.
In 1922, Emil Kobal decided to build his dream: a country roadhouse where
locals could gather for conversation, a cold beer, and a sandwich. He bought a
small piece of property on a dirt road (55th street) in what is now Clarendon
Hills. He built a two-story frame building and called it The Country House.
The first floor housed a tavern and small grocery store. Kobal and his family
made their home on the second floor. On the grounds to the east of the building,
Kobal designed a park like setting amongst tall pines, black walnut and oak
trees. He filled it with picnic tables, gazebos, and a barbecue pit and invited
guests to gather for a meal or a leisurely game of horseshoes.
During Prohibition, The Country House remained open as a grocery store and
restaurant. Its been said that the regulars could still get a drink of their choice in
those dry times.
In 1930, the small stone house adjacent to the main building was added. It
provided space for a variety of activities throughout the years. For example, it
served as a fireworks store, gas station, and barbecue stand amongst other
The Country House did well through good times and bad and in 1957 Mr. Kobal
decided to retire to a warmer climate. He sold the business to Richard
Montanelli. a decorated World War II bomber pilot. Mr. Montanelli, who
already had a successful custom suit and tailor shop in Chicago, bought the
Country House for his mother so she could have a business of her own. Several
years later, Mrs. Montanelli's health began to decline and this forced Mr.
Montanelli to oversee not only his prominent tailor shop, but also the tavern.
Balancing both businesses successfully became difficult and the Country House
fell into ill-repair and needed attention.
In 1974 long-time area resident, David Regnery. purchased The Country House.
After a quick clean up. The Country House opened in the summer and it quickly
became a popular spot for college students and the crowds from the Santa Fe
Speedway. In the fall, the restaurant was closed for a major renovation. The
following summer of 1975 the restaurant re-opened in its present form with a
new menu featuring the soon to be famous Country Burger.
Early in the reopening there were accounts of paranormal events which always involved
the appearance of a young women. These sightings have persisted through the years and have been reported by employees, vendors and customers- see ghost stories for video presentations of these inexplicable happenings.
In 1985, after ten years of successful operation in Clarendon Hills, a second
Country House was opened in Lisle in the College Square shopping center and
in 2015 moved to a larger building in the Green Trail Shopping Mall. Attempting
to duplicate the atmosphere and feel of the original Country House proved to be difficult in a shopping center. However, by copying many of the details of the original building's interior, Country House of Lisle achieved the comfortable tavern feel of its predecessor.
In 1996 the Country House moved to the country when a third location was
selected in Geneva, Illinois. Located on the Illinois Prairie Path in the Fox River
Valley, the new Country House also mimics the design of the original but on a
larger scale with a spacious Cedar deck overlooking a beautifully landscaped
pond. While featuring the acclaimed Country Burger, the expanded Geneva
menu still focuses on casual dining with casual pricing.
David Regnery died prematurely in 2009 but his brothers and sister acquired control to operate the restaurants in the tradition he established.
The Country House has seen over seventy-five years of continued business, yet
remains true to Kobal's original concept of a neighborhood roadhouse where
friends can meet for good conversation, a cold drink, and a tasty meal.