BRAIDWOOD — There’s nothing greater than taking a road trip, especially during this COVID pandemic.

Our summers are spent taking road trips. First, for the sheer enjoyment of spending quality time together, enjoying the scenic views and finally, food.

I’ve had two major spine surgeries last year, and for me, these short road trips are like a vacation. One benefit I found after the surgeries — physical therapy. The therapy was great, but I found a new friend, John, who likes food. And, the therapists Alexis and Jason both love food. Most of the therapy sessions center around places to eat. Thanks to Alexis’ recommendation Dave and I drove to Braidwood to try a retro ‘50s-style drive-in, Polk-a-Dot.

Outside are life-size statues of Elvis, Marilyn, James Dean, Betty Boop, the Blues Brothers, and Superman. Inside, the décor took me back to those old malt shops complete with jukebox selector boxes. I could image girls wearing poodle skirts and bobby socks; boys with slick back hair or crew cut wearing letterman jackets and waitresses with crisp white apron and hat. Of course, a young couple sitting in a booth choosing their favorite song on the jukebox selector and drinking one malted with two straws. Oh, the memories!

Like all restaurants these days, things are a bit different because of safety regulations. The drive-in section for cars was for prepaid customers — curbside pick-up. Guests were provided picnic tables for outdoor dining, and there is limited indoor dining.

We ordered our food at the window. Dave ordered the double bacon cheeseburger basket that came with fries and coleslaw. The coleslaw was fabulous, and the fries were hot, crisp, and delicious. I really wanted their pork tenderloin, but they were out, so I had a juicy cheeseburger fresh off the grill and not dry. We both ordered shakes, another of their specialties.

Other items on the menu: chili cheeseburger, hoagies, Italian beef, pizza, burger, chicken, and chicken nuggets. For hot dog lovers, there is a variety — chili dog, cheese dog, chili cheese, polish sausage corn dog, or mini corn dogs. Baskets come complete with fries and coleslaw.

There are a variety of sides to order besides fries: cheese fries, chili cheese fries, cheese bites, and even mashed potatoes and gravy. The fried veggies like cauliflower, mushrooms, and onion rings looked delicious; make sure you order one of their dipping sauces.

For dinner, they offer several dinners: fish, shrimp, and fried chicken, which comes with fries, coleslaw, and roll; or substitute mashed potatoes and gravy.

There’s a menu just for kids, too (10 and under). Sandwiches come with fries, drink, and a duck. Most kids were ordering the hot dog or mini corn dogs.

Hot and humid weather is the perfect time to enjoy one of their ice cream delights. Choose a twisted cone with sprinkles, a malt or shake, or one of their fantastic sundaes, all served with whipped cream and sprinkles. Alexis said these are wonderful.

Kids of all ages will love the artic swirls with different candies and other sweets. Some unique blends are the grasshopper, banana split, Hawaiian, and chocolate-covered cherries.

Polk-a-dot is located at 222 N. Front St., Braidwood, and open Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m until 9 p.m. Call 815-458-3377.

The drive to Braidwood is scenic and relaxing. There are a few parks nearby as well if you want to take the kids on a picnic.

I recommend Polk-a-Dot Drive-in for the food, fun ambiance, and excellent staff!


Calling all wizards and witches! Grab your wand and cape because it’s time to celebrate Harry Potter’s birthday. I’m a Harry Potter fan, notjust a fan, but a geek, and on July 31, we’ll all be celebrating.

The Bennett-Curtis House will be celebrating the 22nd anniversary of “The Boy Who Lived” during their summer wizard themed dinner event.

The event held on multiple dates and times will be both inside and outside and begins with a house sorting. Are you a Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, or Gryffindor?

Guests will engage in games, enjoy a variety of drinks like pumpkin juice then enter into Station 9 ¾ for a trip to the great hall for a fabulous dinner. Seating is limited. Please make reservations early. Be sure to check out their website page for more information on the event, as well as event photos. Find it all at

Study your Harry Potter trivia and get ready for an evening of fun and good food. Of course, The Bennett-Curtis will observe all safety guidelines. Please check their website for more information on COVID.

The Bennett-Curtis House is located at 302 W. Taylor St., Grant Park. Call 815-465-2288.

When you’re ready to leave your house, just wave your wand and yell ‘apparition’! This will magically transport you to your destination. Well, maybe it’s best just to drive there.

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