There are about a million reasons why I love living in Lake Forest and right at the top of that list is when locals see an opportunity to make our city better…and then make it happen!
Husband and wife duo and restauranteurs Cecilia Lanyon and Dominic Zumpano have been at the helm of one of Lake Forest’s favorite eateries—The Gallery—for the last three years. And while their customers feel like family, they noticed that something was missing. “Our guests don’t bring their kids when they come to The Gallery,” Cecilia explains. “While the vibe of our restaurant is casual and fun-loving, the dining experience is a little more refined. Dominic and I realized there was a real opportunity for a restaurant nearby geared at families.” And with that, The Peanut Gallery was born.
The Peanut Gallery, located on North Western Avenue in Westwood Center, is a fast-casual “diner” with burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and ice cream. “We have a menu that is very kid-friendly, but we hope that adults will think of us as a dessert destination, too,” Cecilia says. “We’ve worked hard to bring back all of those treats that make us nostalgic for our own childhoods.”
In addition to two signature burgers (the Shaolin is shown above with cheddar, carmelized onions, mushrooms, and black garlic aioli), the menu offers a build-your-own burger, countless chicken sandwiches (shown below), grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, and fries with your choice of toppings.
And if what they’re cooking up on the grill isn’t enough to tempt you, The Peanut Gallery’s desserts most certainly will. From cones and dishes to shakes and malts, Cecilia and Dominic are sourcing their ice cream from Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, a beloved Wisconsin ice cream maker out of Madison. The Peanut Gallery won me over with the fact that they have peanut butter as a topping. No ice cream sundae should ever be without this!
In addition to offering “family friendly food,” Cecilia and Dominic want to create a family friendly space. Not only will The Peanut Gallery host art shows with student work from local schools, they’re encouraging their young guests to draw on their walls when they visit. “This is a gallery after all,” says Cecilia. “As long as everyone keeps it clean,” Cecilia says with a smile, “we want kids to come here and leave their mark.”
The Peanut Gallery is located at 950 N. Western Avenue, Suite 208, Lake Forest, thepeanutgallerylf.com. It is open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to dine in or carry out. The Peanut Gallery will be closed the first week of January and then reopen and will serve both lunch and dinner.