Get in Line at Tom and Eddie’s

Don’t let them fool you. Tom Dentice and Eddie Renzi aren’t really retired.

Burger Meisters
Well, technically the two ex-McDonald’s management honchos have left the company that taught them everything they know. But once they opened Tom & Eddie’s, their dream specialty burger place, they’re back in the restaurant biz … and how.

The new Deerfield store is the third in what I’m sure will be an empire, with a fourth in Vernon Hills to open in late summer (the others are in Geneva and Lombard). And from the sunny orange umbrellas on the outdoor tables to the comfortable, brightly decorated interior and graphics, everything about this place spells success.

Although there is no table service per se—meaning no server to take your order—the service is friendly and efficient, from the order-takers at the counter to the runners who bring your food to the table. The very high-tech “Key Call Locator System” is pretty cool, too. And if you want to add to your order (like the shake you saw at the next table?), just press the service button.

Cooked to Order
Everything is cooked fresh to order, and the ingredients are all top-notch, which helps to justify the burger prices. Each sandwich (burgers, hot dogs, chicken) also comes with a side: your choice of French fries, sweet potato fries, fresh potato chips, haystack onions or a side salad.

My take on the sides? The sweets are terrific, as are the onions, and the side salad is impressively fresh and colorful. Potato chips were a little too greasy, and the fries weren’t hot and could use more seasoning.

The burgers, sourced from a humanely raised, 100% Angus ranch in Montana, are lean and a teensy bit on the dry side, which is happily masked by the delicious combos that they’ve put together.

It’s All About the Burgers

Loved the Ampersand ($9.99), layered thickly with smoked Gouda cheese, tangy BBQ sauce, Nueske’s smoky bacon, crispy haystack onions and a fried egg. The Baby Bella and Swiss ($9.49), is topped with grilled cremini mushrooms, Swiss cheese and roasted garlic aioli—just filled with umami.

The Town & Country ($9.79) is a hand-formed turkey burger that could use a little oomph. Even the crumbled feta didn’t help enough. Maybe if they hadn’t forgotten the oven-roasted tomatoes …

I’m a big fan of the Islander ($9.99) tuna burger. It’s sushi-grade ground tuna with spicy wasabi mayo and crushed wasabi peas, creamy avocado slices and crispy wontons, all on a sesame-seed bun. Yummalicious.

Didn’t get a chance to try the chicken sandwiches, but the Chicken Capri ($9.49)— essentially a caprese salad on top of a grilled chix breast on a ciabatta roll—sounded delish. We did manage to cram down a Windy City Jamaican hot dog ($5.99), the split, grilled all-beef dog hidden under a happy mountain of onions, tomatoes, Jamaican relish, vinegary sport peppers, “Puckered Pickles” and mustard.

Milkshake Revelation
A word to the wise: Do not, I repeat, do not miss the Strawberry Milkshake, which is a thing of beauty. How many places make it with Haagen-Dazs vanilla, fresh strawberries and vanilla syrup? It was to die for and worth every calorie. I don’t even want to know.

As tasty as the food is, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how Tom & Eddie’s is already giving back to the community. They donated 10% of net sales from their grand opening week—a check for $6,700—to the Deerfield Education Foundation, and they plan to partner with them on other events. Now that’s putting your money where your mouth is, and that generosity will generate a lot of good will. It already has.

3-and-a-half out of five stars

Tom & Eddie’s
740 N. Waukegan Rd. (next to Whole Foods)