815 ChopHouse: A Promising New Restaurant

The managers of this new Crystal Lake restaurant are hitting the ground running. Find out how this restaurant lives up to its ‘good drinks, good food and good service’ mantra.

The steak and lobster tail dish at 815 ChopHouse is a fan favorite and a weekly special on Thursdays. (Linda M. Barrett Productions photo)

Managers of 815 ChopHouse, 394 W. Virginia St., Crystal Lake, have hit the ground running since opening their new restaurant in late May – less than two months after the previous tenant, M Supper Club, called it quits.

Co-owners Doug Jackson and Alex Glimaldi say they are working overtime to assure customers a dining experience that’s first-class without being stuffy.

“Good drinks, good food and good service” is their mantra, says Glimaldi, a seasoned head chef. “The idea is to make each customer feel welcome and enjoy an affordable, appetizing meal.”

815 ChopHouse offers a diverse menu led by prime-certified Angus steaks and chops. Diners will find such cuts as top sirloin, ribeye, filet mignon, porterhouse and rib pork chops. Among available add-ons are crusts, compound butters and sauces. Soup or house salad are included, as are two side dishes.

Seafood parmesan risotto ranks as the most popular entree; the dish brings together scallops, shrimp, lobster, roasted tomato, asparagus and garlic.

Other noteworthy favorites are shrimp DeJonghe, pecan-crusted walleye and crab-stuffed salmon.

Lunch service, initiated in early August, features a bountiful assortment of salads, small plates and burgers. Jackson says the immediate goal is to build momentum.

Diners can expect to spend an average of $20 to $40 per person, excluding alcohol. Bargain-hunters will find three discounted specials: steak and lobster tail on Thursdays, fish fry on Fridays, and prime rib on Saturdays.

A staff of 12 keeps the venue’s busy kitchen bustling.

The horseshoe-shaped bar dispenses traditional cocktails such as specialty martinis and Bourbon Old-Fashioneds, while also crafting a few original mixtures. There’s a wide selection of whiskeys, bourbons and scotches to complement.

The cellar is stocked with a tidy mix of domestic and imported red and white wines, sold by bottle or glass. “We are consulting with sommeliers on how to heighten the caliber and depth of our wine holdings,” Jackson notes.

Beer fans can choose from more than 20 bottled or canned brews plus a half-dozen drafts, including two from local favorite Crystal Lake Brewing.

815 ChopHouse seats 160, but that number rises by 30 when a seasonal patio is opened for warmer weather.

Customers can book a private-party room that accommodates 40 and has functioned as a site for a wedding rehearsal dinner parties and retirement send-offs.

Another draw: Free live entertainment, typically guitar-playing vocalists, is on the agenda every Thursday through Saturday.

Expect some subtle changes as the management team settles in. Jackson says the team is working with sound mitigation experts to dampen noise and improve the ease of conversation between diners.

Plans are also in the works for a rewards program that can show how steady customers’ patronage is valued. Managers say they’re also hoping to create a presence in off-site catering for special events and arranged pickup of large orders.

For now, the focus will be on doing what the team does well – and doing it consistently, Glimaldi says.

815 ChopHouse is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations are accepted.