The lobby utilizes old aircraft seats for the waiting area--and the entire restaurant is decorated with airplanes and airport memorabilia. It's a bright, fun, lively atmosphere for families.
Pilot Pete's is a Busy Place. We arrived shortly after the restaurant opened for lunch and were immediately seated. There was a slight wait by the time we left. Some of that wait may have been due to special requests for those "window seats"--but, most of the tables in other areas of the restaurant were filled.
How was the food?
We love to venture out to "local" favorites when we travel--so we also tend to ask about menu favorites as well. Before we arrived, we knew that we wanted to order the Lobster Nachos and the Chicken Strips. The menu was much larger than we expected--and there was certainly something for everyone and nearly every taste offered.
The First Class Lobster Nachos
The lobster nachos arrived. Homemade tortilla chips topped with a lobster meat mixture, colby jack cheese, and jalapenos--served with guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo. True to usual form, our anti-seafood middle daughter had no interest in trying them--but, the husband and youngest daughter really liked them. I had so looked forward to trying them--but, I just really didn't like the taste of the lobster mix.
Chicken Noodle Soup
The middle one ordered a Caesar Salad and the soup of the day--which happened to be Chicken Noodle Soup. She liked the broth--and ate everything except the carrots!
Somehow, I didn't get a picture of the salad. It was a huge portion. She actually took half of it back to the hotel and ate it for dinner!
The Buffalo Chicken Melt
This sandwich was huge! I also found myself taking half of it "home" for dinner! When it arrived with very light ranch dressing and wasn't "dripping" with Buffalo sauce--I was afraid it would be dry. I was absolutely wrong. This was one of the best Buffalo chicken sandwiches I've had in a very long time--and it wasn't too sloppy to eat!
The Firecracker Shrimp Tacos
My husband ordered these tacos stuffed with fried shrimp, a spicy/sweet sauce, lettuce, avocado, and pico de gallo. He even had to share a bite or two with the youngest daughter (his seafood loving partner in crime). The shrimp tacos were a hit with them both.
The Chicken Fingers
The youngest daughter always has to test the "hyped-up" dishes. Pilot Pete's is reported to have the best chicken fingers in the world. She has eaten a lot of chicken strips--from a lot of places--and she had to agree that the ones at Pilot Pete's may just actually be the best ever. The portion size was huge! She also took at least half of her lunch back to the hotel for dinner!
Is Pilot Pete's Family Friendly? This is probably the most family friendly restaurant with a bar that we have ever visited. The atmosphere inside is bright and lively--and watching the planes land and depart is fun no matter your age. The restaurant does have children's menus--and the kid's meals even include a scoop of ice cream. Having said that it's family friendly--it's also grown up friendly. You don't need to take the kids to "fit in". There is a full bar and a laid back casual atmosphere for adult diners too.
Would I recommend Pilot Pete's in Schaumburg, Illinois? The atmosphere is great for families. The food is a little pricey--but, the portion sizes are huge. We could have easily shared a couple of entrees between the four of us. Our lunch leftovers doubled as dinner that day. The service was a little slow. Our server seemed have tables in multiple sections of the restaurant--so it took a bit of time to get refills and carryout boxes and to pay--but, she was very friendly. I would recommend Pilot Pete's to families who enjoy "bar" or pub food. It was a nice lunch with good food, large portions and a fun atmosphere. We would certainly return.
If you go...
It's worth waiting for a window seat.
The portions are large--so those with smaller appetites should plan to share or request a to-go box!
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Disclosure: We were not compensated for this review. We simply found a family friendly restaurant we enjoyed and wanted to share it with our readers. All opinions are our own.