Operating partners Kristopher Gillis and AlyseMarie Warren (also head chef), keep the menu at The Saddle Room, in Hoffman Estates, constantly evolving.

The Saddle Room: A Sure Bet

Discover a Hoffman Estates restaurant where local and seasonal cuisine prevail, where the ambience feels like a “downtown restaurant in the suburubs,” and the OTB room keeps things exciting.

Operating partners Kristopher Gillis and AlyseMarie Warren (also head chef), keep the menu at The Saddle Room, in Hoffman Estates, constantly evolving.

An eclectic menu of inventive cuisine is the main attraction for diners at The Saddle Room, 2559 Pratum Ave., in Hoffman Estates, but it’s not the only draw at this “downtown restaurant in the suburbs.”

That’s because it’s also home to The Track Room, an off-track betting facility that operates on the premises. The Saddle Room and Track Room maintain separate identities, though both are tastefully decorated with wall-mounted saddles, horse-related images and leather booths.

Diners at both rooms can order from the same diverse menu, which has been created by operating partner and chef AlyseMarie Warren. On the dinner menu, steakhouse staples such as rib-eyes steaks and burgers team up with pastas, oven-fired flatbreads and unique creations such as the popular lobster corn dog appetizer, prepared with house-made lobster and shrimp sausage, a cornmeal batter and berry-Merlot ketchup.

“It’s the kind of fare that appeals to foodies and chefs alike,” says operating partner Kristopher Gillis, a chef by trade who studied at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. Gillis is on the management team of Gastronomy Rooms Inc., which owns the Saddle Room/Track Room, The News Room in Minneapolis and The Turf Room in North Aurora.

Popular dinner entrees include the thyme-and-sea salt-marinated duck breast and the roasted double-cut lamb chops. Customers also enjoy a wide selection of steaks.

Burgers command attention with the lunchtime crowd, particularly the build-your-own half-pound American Wagyu beef version. For a little extra, diners can customize their sandwich with additional toppings: cheeses such as cheddar, Swiss, provolone, blue, Gouda or Brie, and enhancements such as oven-dried tomato, portobello cap, avocado, aioli pesto or chipotle mayonnaise.

The menu does undergo periodic refreshing. “Because we’re not tied to a specific printed menu, we have plenty of flexibility to update our offerings as things become seasonally available,” says Gillis.

The restaurant, which opened in November 2012, is family friendly and offers a children’s menu, but it also makes quiet areas available for businesspeople and couples in search of a date-night dinner.

The Sunday brunch features a prime rib carving station, made-to-order waffles, omelets and a cold-foods line with breakfast bread, fruit, cheese and salads. Look for two appetizers and two entrees on the hot side.

The bar’s rotating craft beer selection focuses on local microbrewers such as Tighthead Brewing Co. of Mundelein, Solemn Oath Brewing of Naperville and Penrose Brewing of Geneva. On the cocktail side, Gillis says mixologists aim to do as much in-house as possible, preparing fresh-squeezed juices and making syrups from scratch.

Though the wine menu is focused on American producers in areas like California, Oregon, Washington and upstate New York, it includes a 400-bottle collection of international wines, including 15 to 18 vintages – both white and red – available by the glass.

The Track Room operates in a separate space and boasts five video games of chance, 40 TVs for watching live races and, according to Gillis, a nonstop day of wagering and racing.

The Saddle Room seats about 300, with an outdoor patio that seats 200. It’s open Mon.-Wed. from 11 a.m. to midnight, Thu.-Fri. from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Sun. from noon to 10 p.m.