Yorkville has really struck the jackpot when it comes to independent eating establishments and its newest addition, Grace Coffee and Wine, is another hit.
I visited Grace recently, having heard much from coworkers and friends about its offerings. Located just west of Route 47 off Countryside Parkway, Grace features a wide open atmosphere with simple decor. To the left are elevated, bar-style tables along with a walk-up area to order food and drinks. In the middle is a wine bar, and to the right there is additional seating, including cozy couches next to a fireplace, and a separate room for a private gathering.
Grace offers several meal options, depending on the time of day: breakfast, lunch, dinner, charcuterie boards and small plates. For beverages, Grace serves coffee and tea all day long and offers beer, wine and cocktails from its bar.
At my visit, the service at the walk-up order area went fast, and I was able to order quickly. Upon the recommendation of the cashier, I ordered two meals from the small plates category, the Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps and the Baked Mac 'n' Cheese with Buffalo Chicken. I paired my meal with a glass of sparkling peach moscato – and a special thank you to the employee at the bar who let me take a photograph of the bottle, because that was a delicious wine that I need to buy for myself.
When ordering, customers are given a small, wooden number placard to place on their table for their food to be delivered. By the time that I had placed my coat and belongings at my table, and ordered my glass of wine, my meal had arrived at my table, a promptness not seen at many establishments.
The Thai chicken was an interesting choice, featuring a sweet and slightly spicy marinade that paired well with the crunchy and creamy Asian coleslaw. As the dish was intended to be a lettuce wrap, I tried making a few, and it was simple to do, with the lettuce serving as a healthy and crisp wrapper to my meal. However, the chicken and slaw could be enjoyed just as easily in separate portions. I think the dish was meant to serve as an appetizer, something to be shared among multiple diners, but it was easily something I could have had by itself.
I also ordered the baked mac 'n' cheese, which could come with either roasted barbecue pork or buffalo chicken. I chose the chicken, a departure for me, as I'm not usually a buffalo fan. But I would order this again, and again. The thick and creamy mac 'n' cheese paired perfectly with the chicken – both hot and cooked perfectly. The chicken was doused in buffalo sauce, but not enough to overwhelm the dish. The spicy sauce mixed with the creamy cheese to make a delicious meal that I greatly enjoyed.
I treated myself to a dessert afterwards, choosing a unicorn cupcake from the bakery options at Grace. The cupcake was light and fluffy, cooked perfectly, and the frosting was thick and perfect. It was exactly my favorite kind of cupcake. And it looked like a unicorn. Who doesn't love unicorns?
While I ate, I took a moment to observe the relaxed atmosphere, noting employees making sure that tables were promptly cleared and cleaned. I saw businessmen chatting, people dining alone, friends conversing and families enjoying a meal. The environment of Grace, paired with quality food and drinks, is sure to lead to a lasting impact on Yorkville.
• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at the Record Newspapers. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits a restaurant and then reports on the experience. The Mystery Diner is not intended to be a restaurant critic, but does highlight the parts of a dining experience that he/she can recommend.