Most historic buildings don't allow food or drinks. But burgers and beer are the draw at Oak Brook's York Tavern, one of DuPage County's oldest structures, with roots dating back to 1843 (it's located on Salt Creek right near the historic Graue Mill and Museum). Despite some opposition from local historical preservationists, the tiny tavern got a minor makeover in 2007. The bathrooms and kitchen were brought up to code, the entrance was improved, the rickety wooden floors were replaced with tile and the parking lot was paved.
The owners did appease some preservationists by working to keep certain historical aspects of the building. The tavern maintains its original charm and character and still looks like a small, red farmhouse. If there's any additional space, it isn't too noticeable; the bar still has the same claustrophobic feel. The tables are so cramped you may have to do some rearranging to get from the front door to the bar. With a few new flat screens, the TVs were also part of the upgrade. Though it's pretty quiet most of the time, the lunch and after-work crowds can sometimes turn the bar into a standing-room-only environment.
The menu also underwent some changes. It used to be a bar where patrons could choose between a burger and a cheeseburger. The options are still rather limited, but the tavern now offers several fried appetizers ($5-$8), salads ($4-$10) and a few more meal choices like the prime rib sandwich ($8) and an Italian sub ($6). But the notoriously good $5 burgers are still where it's at.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Jim Collins