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Positive News, Stories, & Rockford Buzz Polls

Our goal is to shed light on the Rockford IL's rich history, vibrant culture, and bright future. From local events and attractions to restaurant reviews and positive movements, this website has got you covered. Take part in our polls and have your voice heard, and stay informed with our articles written by us. Join us in celebrating everything that makes Rockford IL the incredible place that it is.

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Spicy Dishes at El Pueblo Restaurant

Spicy Dishes at El Pueblo Restaurant

El Pueblo Restaurant, located at 1527 Broadway, Rockford, IL 61104, is serving up fresh authentic Mexican cuisine that comes to your table hot and fresh. We headed over for an amazing dinner and to try one of the spiciest items on the menu. Keep reading to see if we survived the heat!Before we get to the hot takes, we have to talk about the margaritas. We tried the classic lime and mango margaritas and these bad boys will keep you coming back for more. These were light and refreshing while packing a punch! The mango was sweet and delicious and the classic lime is a crowd pleaser.Next up, we tried the flautas, filled with chicken, topped with sour cream and cheese, and served with rice and refried beans. This classic dish was simple perfection and served a satisfying crunch. The shredded chicken had a great flavor, and this mild dish is perfect for the whole family.  We finished off with the Diabla Shrimp, a spicy shrimp dish served with tortillas, rice, and beans. When they say spicy... they mean spicy. This dish is not for the faint of heart and will make you sweat. If you love heat, this is the dish for you! The heat builds on itself with each bite and the flavor is a testament to the authentic flavors. If you think you are up to the challenge, bring on the heat!Next time you are craving a great margarita and authentic Mexican cuisine, head over to El Pueblo and explore their menu. See you there, Rockford!

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Alchemy at Aldeen

Alchemy at Aldeen

Alchemy at Aldeen on 1902 Reid Farm Rd, Rockford, IL 61107, is fine dining with a beautiful view of the golf course. We ventured out to enjoy the view and the menu!First off, shout out to the amazing staff. We had the best service and a wonderful experience. We dove right into dinner with the Filet Sliders, served with your choice of side and a garlic aioli, these generous filets were served on a sweet bread that blended the flavors perfectly. Prepared to a medium temp, these are a great spin on the classic slider elevating the flavor and experience. The fries came out crisp and hot, topped with parmesan cheese.  Next up, the Parmesan Chicken Tower. A tower indeed, they stand two large chicken breasts on top of each other with marinara, mozzarella, and fresh basil and serve it on top of the cheesiest alfredo pasta you've ever tried. This generous serving is perfect for taking home, or making sure you don't leave hungry. Pair it with a glass of your favorite wine or a specialty cocktail to complete the experience.  Be sure to check out there amazing dessert menu to end your night with a touch of sweet. Enjoy the smooth ambiance, beautiful views, and delicious menu at Alchemy at Aldeen. See you there, Rockford!

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Pasta Flight and No Mercy at The Pomodoro

Pasta Flight and No Mercy at The Pomodoro

The Pomodoro at 6500 E Riverside Blvd, Loves Park, IL 61111, has an amazing menu waiting for you to discover your new favorite. We headed out to give it a try!  First off, we had to start with Mozzarella Pomodoro, two jumbo pieces of fresh, breaded handcut mozzarella deep fried and served with marinara. When they say jumbo, they mean it! This shareable appetizer is for cheese lovers everywhere. They even top the cheese with more cheese! What else could you ask for? A generous serving of sauce ensures everyone can dip to their heart's content.After that, we dove right into their Pasta Flight. Select any 3 of their specialty pastas to create your own experience. This is the perfect go to for you if you can never decide which pasta you want. We tried the Eight Finger Cavatelli, Short Rib Pasta, and Gnocchi Alfredo. The Eight Finger is a house specialty: handrolled cavatelli- made fresh everyday; ricotta, provolone, parmesan, breadcrumbs, all in vodka sauce. This is a doughy pasta with an indulgent texture you can't experience anywhere else! The Short Rib pasta is penne, 8-hour braised short rib, red wine, beef broth, and parmesan that makes a savory pasta that can warm you straight to the soul. There is a generous portion of meat and the pasta is prepared perfectly. The Gnocchi is stuffed with Ricotta, pan-fried, and served in house alfredo with parmesan. Biting into these releases the ricotta in a pleasantly melty delight. Never having to commit to a single pasta again is a life changer!We couldn't leave without trying the No Mercy pizza. Edge to edge pepperoni, stacked 2-3 deep with fresh mozzarella. This pizza has so much pepperoni it comes off a bit spicy, but pepperoni lovers will rejoice over the flavor. New York style slices are foldable and delicious!Stop out to The Pomodoro for your next lunch or dinner! You can't go wrong with a great menu, awesome staff, and full bar. See you there, Rockford! 

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Diner Classics at Doc's Diner

Diner Classics at Doc's Diner

Doc's Diner, located at 6499 N 2nd St, Loves Park, IL 61111, is your local neighborhood diner that serves up your classic favorites. The atmosphere is a fun collection of automobiles and memorabilia from decades past, and the staff is friendly.We had to start with the classic biscuits and gravy, and when they say gravy... they mean it. Two biscuits were swimming in delicious sausage gravy, with chunks of sausage in every bite. Each bite was tasty and we understand why this is a diner classic. Served with bacon or sausage, you won't leave hungry.Next up, classic eggs and hash. The hash was prepared crispy, which is my favorite way to enjoy hash. The eggs were buttery and cooked to your liking. This classic breakfast is served with a pancake to add a little sweet to your savory.  You can't go wrong with the classic diner experience at Doc's Diner. And with childhood favorites like Mickey Mouse Pancakes, this is quickly going to be your new family favorite. See you there, Rockford!

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Dock Side Dining at Prairie Street Brewing Co.

Dock Side Dining at Prairie Street Brewing Co.

Prairie Street Brewing Co., located at 200 Prairie St, Rockford, IL 61107, is about to kick off patio season as warmer days make an appearance. We headed down to try some pub favorites and enjoy the bustling atmosphere in the taproom.We started off with the Not So Irish Eggrolls: house-made corned beef brisket & sauerkraut, swiss & white cheddar cheese, rolled in a crispy wonton, and served with thousand island dressing. Four crispy rolls come out hot and packed with corned beef. The cheese is melty and delicious. All the flavors melt together perfectly for a delicious starter that is perfect for sharing or keeping all to yourself! My favorite part is that these were a clean eat. You do not have to battle tons of grease when enjoying these tasty rolls.Next up, we enjoyed the Nashville Hot: southern-style buttermilk fried chicken, chili oil, honey aioli, dill pickle, and iceberg lettuce, with a golden split-top bun. While this is also available mild, the spice level is pretty low and most palates can enjoy this delicious chicken sandwich with a subtle kick. The generous chicken breast is cooked to juicy perfection and leaves you satisfied and full. We opted to upgrade to sweet potato fries, and were not disappointed! Crisp outside and soft inside, this delicately sweet side was a perfect pairing with the Nashville Hot.Whether you like to dine dock side or indoors, Prairie Street Brewing Co. is serving up delicious meals to satisfy your whole group. Pair it with one of their brews for the perfect summer experience. See you there, Rockford!

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Traditional Thai Flavors at Sister's Thai

Traditional Thai Flavors at Sister's Thai

Sister's Thai is a downtown staple located at 514 E State St, Rockford, IL 61104. The authentic Thai cuisine is out of this world and worth exploring during your next trip downtown. We visited for dinner and stayed for the atmosphere.We started with their Crab Rangoon: deep fried won-ton stuffed with imitation crab meat, cream cheese & green onions. These savory appetizers are served with a sweet and sour sauce and come out piping hot and fresh. Made by hand, each one is unique and stuffed full. This is a perfect shareable for two.Next we tried Pad Thai: stir fried thin rice noodles with ground peanuts, green onions, bean sprouts & eggs in their delicious homemade sauce. You can choose to add of beef, chicken, shrimp, tofu, pork or veggies to your Pad Thai as well. This Thai classic is perfect for beginners just starting to test their international palate, but also a beloved dish by all. The mild flavors with the homemade peanut sauce really blend together nicely. Rice noodles can be tricky, but the team at Sister’s Thai prepare them perfectly. No overly sticky, or mushy noodles here! Love Pad Thai but want a kick? Ask them to make it spicy!We also tried their authentic Nam Kow: ground pork sausage with crispy deep fried rice, mixed in Thai house spices, served with lettuce cup garnish on the side. Squeeze your lime over the heaping pile of rice and sausage, and then load up your lettuce cups for a delicious trip through the flavors of Thailand. The generous portion and intricate flavors of the Thai spices make this an incredibly satisfying dish, making this a popular menu item over the years.Next time you want to explore classic Thai dishes, head downtown to Sister's Thai. The service is fast and friendly, the food is delicious, and the atmosphere is cozy. See you there, Rockford!

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Welcome Vanakkam India!

Welcome Vanakkam India!

Vanakkam India has opened at 1620 N Bell School Rd, Rockford, IL 61107. With classic flavors from the heart of India, you can travel the world with every bite. Keep reading for all the spicy details!You cannot have Indian food without Naan, and Vanakkam has four types for you to choose from. We tried the Garlic & Cilantro flavor and it was amazing! Buttery flavors really come through along with the classic toasty flavor from the clay oven. Find your favorite flavor and enjoy!Next up was their Lamb Tikka Masala, pieces of lamb cooked in creamy onion tomato sauce flavored with spices. We ordered a medium spice level and it definitely had a kick! The sauce is creamy and flavorful. The lamb is mild and fun deviation from the usual chicken. Served with cumin rice this is a delicious meal that won't leave you hungry.We also ordered their House Special Chicken Curry, a special home style chicken curry made of chef's secret recipe. I don't know what in it, and I don't care... this curry was fantastic! The medium spice certainly wakes up your sinus system, in the best way. The flavors were out of this world. This is not a cream-based sauce, so it has a lighter texture. The chicken pieces were generous and the chicken was tender and delicious. This is a house favorite for sure!Because we simply couldn't stop, we also had to try their Chicken Tekka Kabob, boneless chicken cubes marinated with ginger, garlic, herbs, yogurt, and spices skewered and roasted in the clay oven. The flavor of this chicken was delicious and the fresh salad was a perfect addition to our meal. This is perfect for fans of a milder flavor and was a hit for the kids.  If you find yourself on the east end of town and want a meal that will let you explore the world, try Vanakkam India. See you there, Rockford!

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Bop Bop Korean BBQ & Rice Bowl has a Storefront!

Bop Bop Korean BBQ & Rice Bowl has a Storefront!

Bop Bop Korean BBQ & Rice Bowl is now more than a food truck! They opened up inside City Market at 116 N Madison St Market, Rockford, IL 61107. Order at the counter and be served table side with fresh Korean BBQ favorites.  First, we had to try their Potato Korean Hot Dog. No meat in this dog, it's solid mozzarella cheese deep fried in potato-laden batter. Served fresh out of the fryer, the cheese pull is Instagram worthy and cheese lovers will find their new holy grail. Eat it plain or top it with ketchup, Gochujang Sauce, or hot cheetos dust to make it your own. Go head to head with your friends for longest cheese pull!Next up, the Galbi Rice Bowl, marinated short ribs. These short ribs are the hero you didn't know you needed. The flavor is out of this world and the portion is generous. The ribs are on the bone, making this a fun finger food if you like. The sauce they are marinated in is slightly sweet and completely delicious.  Next we tried the Bulgogi and Chicken Combination Rice Bowl. Bulgogi is a thinly sliced marinated ribeye. The sauce is savory and the meat is tender and juicy. You can choose a mild soy garlic sauce or spicy Gochujang Sauce. I went with soy garlic and its flavor is stunning. The chicken is tender and delicious. Paired together, this combo is filling and makes a fun dinner with lots of flavor.Rice bowls come with rice, japchae noodles (Korean sweet potato noodles), lettuce and yum yum dressing. The noodles are prepared perfectly, not sticky or chewy. The salad is fresh and the yum yum dressing is light and fresh with a hint of ginger.  You can't go wrong at Bop Bop Korean BBQ and Rice Bowl. They have fun specialty drinks to explore and the service was attentive and incredibly friendly. We can't wait to stop by again for Korean BBQ!

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Happy Early 115th Birthday to the Rockford Park District!

Happy Early 115th Birthday to the Rockford Park District!

Did you know the Rockford Park District is older than sliced bread?   On March 29, 1909, Rockford voters banded together and approved the creation of the Rockford Park District. In the 17 Rockford districts, 1,234 voted to approve the park plan and only 798 opposed it. It passed in 14 of the 17 districts.  Thanks to those far-thinking voters, we now have one of the top park districts in the United States. It has won the National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Parks and Recreation three times.  It’s a little too cold to enjoy the golf courses and pools right now, but there are so many other amazing RPD attractions. A few of my favorites are Carlson Ice Arena, the UW Health Sports Factory, Levings Park, Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, and Lockwood Park.  Happy Early Birthday to the Rockford Park District! May your 115th birthday be better than sliced bread! 

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The GOAT Pub and Grill is Now Open!

The GOAT Pub and Grill is Now Open!

You've seen the posts from your friends, but maybe haven't tried The GOAT Pub and Grill at 1428 N Main St, Rockford, IL 61103 for yourself. We couldn't stop drooling over the pictures on their socials and had to try it for ourselves.We started with the Ultimate Crispy Chicken sandwich: crispy chicken topped with shredded cabbage, pickled red onions, dill pickle, and drizzled with garlic aioli and hot honey. Wow, talk about the worlds of sweet and savory colliding together in the best way. This massive sandwich is hand made with love, and comes with a 20 minute prep time. It is well worth the wait for this culinary concoction. If you love pickles, this sandwich is for you. It is loaded with pickles and all the other components. This sandwich is making sure you go home full and satisfied. Pick your side from house fries, house chips, or carrots and celery to finish off your perfect basket.Next up, the Steak and Cheese: Guinness marinated ribeye topped with grilled onions, mushrooms, provolone & beer cheese. Served with your choice of horseradish or garlic aioli. I opted for the garlic aioli, and have no regrets. It. Was. Amazing. I would add this aioli to all of my food if I could. The ribeye was chopped, making this an easy sandwich to eat. The flavors all come together deliciously, and it is an absolutely amazing steak sandwich. The Guiness adds a hint of flavor, but doesn't overpower it. This is a real winner, and at a portion size that allows you to finish it and feel good about it, you can't go wrong.With such a strong start, we can't wait to return and try the rest of the menu at The GOAT. See you there, Rockford!

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Pizza Free Review of Woodfire Pizza

Pizza Free Review of Woodfire Pizza

Did you know that Woodfire Brick Oven Pizza at 408 E State St, Rockford, IL 61104 serves more than just pizza?! I know, this was news to us too. I mean we KNEW... but always had a hard time turning down their amazing pizza for another option. But we finally flipped that menu and explored a whole new world.Welcome to the pizza free review of Woodfire Pizza! We had to start with an appetizer, and went all in with their Calamari. What I love about their Calamari is the perfect breading layer. It's the goldilocks of perfection. It's light enough to let the flavor of the seafood shine, but thick enough to give you that light crisp. Served with Woodfire's famous red sauce, you get that little nod to their classic flavors with this appetizer.For the entree, we tried the Ox Tail Gnocchi. Thick cut potato gnocchi sits front and center in a dish surrounded by ox tail in a thick gravy style sauce. This is the ultimate savory dish and perfect for the meat and potato fan in your group. It feels decadent with every bite, and is the perfect warm your soul dish.Ok, ok, I know I said this was a pizza free review but I couldn't, and I mean could not, leave Woodfire without a pizza. The perfect compromise is the S'mores dessert pizza: classic dough topped with chocolate, marshmallows, whipped cream, and graham cracker dust. This absolutely flew off the table. A huge crowd pleaser, this is a fun way to end your meal that the whole group will love to indulge in.Whether you order pizza, pasta, salad, or just dessert (we approve), you simply cannot go wrong with Woodfire Pizza. See you there, Rockford!

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Weekend Brunch at Screw City Tavern

Weekend Brunch at Screw City Tavern

Did you know that Screw City Tavern on 4412 Manchester Dr, Rockford, IL 61109, serves brunch every weekend? We headed out on a Sunday to give it a try!First off, let's talk about this Chicken and Waffles. Emphasis on the chicken, these huge cuts of perfectly fried chicken tenderloins pair beautifully with sugar crusted mini waffles for the sweet and savory brunch of your dreams. Served with maple syrup and dusted with powdered sugar, this pretty presentation is packed with flavor and hunger busting protein. The chicken had that crisp fried finish while being juicy through and through.Next up, your classic french toast and sausage. This sweet treat is 4 pieces of thick, battered french toast, dusted in powdered sugar. The sausage links had great flavor, and the french toast was grilled to perfection. This smaller dish is perfect for smaller appetites or kids.Not a fan of the sweet flavors of brunch? No problem! They have classic favorites like biscuits and gravy. Buttermilk biscuits are smothered in sausage gravy and served with hashbrowns. You can add 2 eggs your way to satisfy an even bigger appetite. The gravy has that classic taste that just hits the spot after a long week, and you can't go wrong with hashbrowns.With a full line up of morning themed drinks from the bar (bloody mary anyone?) you can truly indulge in your best brunch self. Rally the group and head on down to Screw City Tavern for their weekend brunch. See you there, Rockford!

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Dinner at Garrett's Restaurant and Bar

Dinner at Garrett's Restaurant and Bar

Garrett’s Restaurant and Bar at 1631 N Bell School Rd, Rockford, IL 61107 is a great place to enjoy lunch or dinner and watch or play a little on the range during the warmer months. With a menu that has a little bit of everything, your whole group is guaranteed a great meal.First of all, look at that gorgeous side salad. No sad salads here. Beyond a beautiful presentation, the fresh veggies were full of flavor and overflowing on the plate. We started with the Ultimate “Mac” & Cheese, because with a name like that, why wouldn’t we? Triple cream brie, Wisconsin cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan are melted into a rich sauce and tossed with fresh cavatappi. All of that is then baked until bubbly with panko breadcrumbs. You can also add grilled chicken or sautéed shrimp to add some protein. This is an amazingly creamy sauce that will win your heart immediately, and with brie involved you know this is going to feel rich and decadent. This massive serving will fulfill your Mac and cheese dreams, and warm your soul. There is no such thing as too much cheese.Next up, the Grilled Beast Burger. This is Garrett’s half pound, exotic blend of Waygu beef, New Zealand elk, wild boar and American bison. Served on a multigrain bun with mayo, fresh tomato, lettuce and red onion. This burger was deliciously unique. It is loaded with bold and rich flavors. The Grilled Beast Burger is a fun twist on an American classic. Served with house chips or fries, this is a great and filling option for the meat lovers out there.Whether you are looking for lunch or dinner, Garrett’s Restaurant and Bar is a great option on Rockford’s east end. From classics to exotics, they’ve got what it takes to feed a crowd. See you there, Rockford!

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Chop House Classics at Tavern on Clark

Chop House Classics at Tavern on Clark

Tavern on Clark at 755 Clark Dr, Rockford, IL 61107, is a bit off the beaten path, but should be on your main stops for lunch or dinner! Read on to hear about our experience.In the middle of a midwestern winter, you simply cannot beat a baked French Onion soup. Served in a personal crock, this soup is loaded with onions, bread, and cheese. It's a delicious, soul-warming start to your meal. You can always opt for a side salad or their soup of the day as well!Next up, their Bourbon Glazed Pork Chop: a 12oz bone-in pork chop with a bourbon demi-glaze, asparagus, and a rice medley. This pork chop is cooked to a chef-recommended medium, and is tender and juicy. The bourbon flavor shines, with a slight sweetness. The presentation and flavor are just beautiful.We also had the Salmon Oscar: fresh Atlantic salmon topped with crab meat and shrimp, covered in bearnaise sauce, asparagus, and parmesan roasted potatoes. Seafood lovers rejoice, this is loaded with your favorites. The salmon is prepared perfectly and is generously topped with crab and shrimp. The bearnaise sauce is slightly sweet and creamy and beautifully compliments the salmon. There is a generous pile of potatoes and crisp asparagus to round out this dish.We also ordered dessert...and the picture reflects the fact that we couldn't contain ourselves from digging right in 😂. The caramel chocolate cake is a shareable slice of absolute heaven. This rich confection is a delicious end to an amazing meal. You just can't resist when they bring out that amazing dessert tray!Next time you are looking for chop house favorites at a great price and with wonderful service, think of Tavern on Clark. See you there, Rockford!

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Omakase Rockford has New Owners

Omakase Rockford has New Owners

Omakase Rockford recently changed owners, have you been downtown to 223 E State St, Rockford, IL 61104 to try them since the change? With the same classic favorites and some new additions, this menu is worth exploring!We had to start with the Rainbow Roll: crab stick, avocado, and cucumber all topped with tuna, salmon, shrimp, white fish, and their house sauce. The ingredients were fresh and the flavors were on point. This classic roll is a table pleaser, but you may fight over your favorite toppings 😜.Next up, the Avocado Roll: a crab stuffed avocado, with tempura flakes, eel sauce, and spicy mayo. If you love avocado, run for this appetizer! This is a flavor bomb, served at room temperature, and beyond delicious. When it says stuffed with crab... we mean STUFFED. This is a super filling and delicious shareable.Obviously, we were in the mood for snackables, because next up is the Gyoza: traditional pork or vegetable dumplings pan-cooked with chili ponzu sauce. Served hot, these are the perfect starter if you are looking for a warm and flavorful that fits in with traditional flavors. The handmade dumplings are large and delicious.We decided to add an entree to the mix and went with Steak Terriyaki: grilled NY Strip steak, grilled vegetables, and rice. You can upgrade to fried rice for an extra dose of flavor. Served to your temperature preference, this steak shines on the dish. Loaded with a mix of fresh vegetables and teriyaki sauce, this is a meal that will leave you full as a stand-alone.With a menu of sake and traditional dishes, you can't go wrong with a meal at Omakase. See you there, Rockford!

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Crowd Favorites at Franchesco's Ristorante

Crowd Favorites at Franchesco's Ristorante

Franchesco's Ristorante at 7128 Spring Creek Rd, Rockford, IL 61107, is a staple in the Rockford region, and for good reason! Read on for all the juicy details.If you are a fan of the Old Fashion, Franchesco's has you covered. One of the most popular drinks at the bar, they are ready to fulfill your craving for this Midwest specialty. Before we move on to the entrees, I think the bread basket needs its own mention. The garlicky, buttery perfection is bread perfection. Served with seasoned oil, this is a delicious start to any meal.  Let's start with the classic Steak Benny: sliced New York Strip with a dejonge crust and white wine cream sauce, served with vegetable and truffle potatoes. Broccolini was the vegetable this time and cooked to perfection. The crisp was maintained and it was seasoned beautifully. We understand why this is a crowd favorite. Between the dejonge crust and creamy sauce, each bite is exploding with flavor. Cooked to your preferred temp, this is the perfect melt-in-your-mouth steak that will leave you full and satisfied.Next up, a special on the menu, the Wagyu Filet. Served rare, and delicately seasoned, this steak is allowed to stand on its own for its amazing flavor. Topped with a roasted onion and served with brussel sprouts and a cauliflower puree, this decadent meal will leave you dreaming about it. The flavor is truly amazing, but the texture has to be experienced to believe. Try this delicacy before it leaves the menu!Franchesco's is an amazing experience from start to finish. Whether you are celebrating an event, or just a Thursday out, put Franchesco's on your list. See you there, Rockford!

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Beer and Pizza at Carlyle Brewing Co.

Beer and Pizza at Carlyle Brewing Co.

Carlyle Brewing Co. at 215 E State St, Rockford, IL 61104 is a staple in Rockford's downtown. They may have changed owners, but this classic bar is standing the test of time. Keep reading to hear about our experience!Carlyle is a great stop for beer enthusiasts but did you know they also stock half bottles of wine? They have all the classics on hand, so whether you are a beer fan or a wine fan, Carlyle Brewing Co. has you covered.They also have a selection of bar classics like chips and queso to huge head-sized soft pretzels. You can't go wrong with salty snacks when you are drinking locally crafted beers.Of course, they have pizza as well to keep you full. Their thin-crust pizzas are cooked edge to edge for maximum pizza experience. You have the freedom to make your own and customize your perfect pizza to make your experience uniquely yours. With lots of sauce, lots of cheese, and lots of toppings, this pizza is perfection. The pizzas are the perfect size for two to three to share as you enjoy the ambiance of this local gem. Next time you are looking for great local beer and pizza, take the trip downtown to enjoy Carlyle Brewing Co. Maybe take home your favorite beer in a growler or cans to enjoy at home later. See you there, Rockford!

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Laotian Specialties at Pho 27

Laotian Specialties at Pho 27

You probably drive by it more than you think, but have you stopped into Pho 27 at 298 N Mulford Rd, Rockford, IL 61107? This local restaurant has traditional dishes made from love and family recipes. Keep reading to hear about our visit!First of all, shout out to the amazing service at Pho 27. Our experience with the food was stellar, but the awesome service made it even better.  We started with crab rangoon, and these are huge! A great shareable to kick off your meal that arrives piping hot and with a generous serving of sweet and sour for your dipping pleasure. These have a savory filling that pairs perfectly with the sauce.Next up, we tried the Specialty Fried Rice: stir-fried white rice with homemade sweet sausage, BBQ pork, shrimp, egg, carrots, green beans, peas, corn, cilantro, scallions, and green and red bell peppers. This dish was packed with protein and a heaping serving that could satisfy a big appetite. The veggies were fresh and cooked perfectly to maintain their crisp. The flavors all worked so well together and the meats were delicious. This one is a fan favorite and we understand why!Upon recommendation, we tried the Laotian Heaven Beef: Laotian street style beef jerky, served with sticky rice. Our wonderful server told us this was a dish that keeps people coming back, and we believe it! The beef has a crispy jerky texture but the flavors just pop! Served with a house made sauce that has a mild heat, this is the perfect dish for mild spice fans who want to expand their palate in an interesting way. The sticky rice is served in a basket and has that fun sticky texture. The flavor is almost sweet for the beef, making this an easy dish for everyone to enjoy.We also ordered a side of noodles, which came in a heaping bowl that could have probably been a meal of it's own. We love a restaurant with large portions and that is certainly what you'll get at Pho 27. Stop on in for pho or any of their delicious dishes. See you there, Rockford!

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Seafood Dishes at El Vallarta Sports Bar and Grill

Seafood Dishes at El Vallarta Sports Bar and Grill

New restaurants are popping up all over town, and we were excited to try El Vallarta Sports Bar and Grill at 7140 Harrison Ave, Rockford, IL, 61112. They specialize in seafood with a touch of Nayarit-style Mexican flair, and we couldn't wait to dig in.It wouldn't be a Mexican restaurant without chips and salsa, and at El Vallarta Sports Bar and Grill you will get chips and a ceviche style salsa! Their green salsa is hot and pairs perfectly with the ceviche, if you like heat. Their huge menu has all the appetizer favorites like guacamole as well.Seafood is the name of game here, so we had to try a couple seafood dishes. If seafood isn't the mood of everyone in your group, they also serve chicken and beef classics like fajitas and more. We dove right in to the Pina Rellena al Gusto, a pineapple stuffed with a seafood mix (shrimp, octopus, scallops, crab, and more), red and yellow peppers, mushrooms and a creamy mushroom sauce, all topped with melted cheese. Served with salad, rice, and garlic bread, you are not leaving hungry! The pineapple offers a sweetness to this dish, and the savory mushroom sauce lets the flavors of the seafood shine through. Piled high, this was a fun and filling presentation that was delicious and perfect for a mild palate.Next up was the Chapuzon Dinner: shrimp, octopus, and oysters in a Nayarit sauce. This dinner also came with salad, rice, and garlic bread, and packed a spicy punch that was a delightful slow burn. The seafood consistency was spot on, which can be tricky when you're working with a mix such as this. The sauce is house made and you can taste all the delicious spices and seasonings. It is labeled on the menu as hot, and they are not kidding! But if you like spice, this is a knock out dish that you'll come back for.Whether you want that sports bar feel or a dining room experience, El Vallarta Sports Bar and Grill is a great place to step out of the ordinary into unique flavors. See you there, Rockford!

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The 2024 Soar Awards Come to Rockford!

The 2024 Soar Awards Come to Rockford!

We love seeing locally owned media companies succeed! So when we learned about the 2024 Soar Awards, we had to share it! Check out the press release below for all the news and details. 🤩Soar Radio, Award-winning online radio station, is excited to reveal the upcoming seventh annual Soar Awards television taping. The star-studded event is scheduled for Monday, March 4, 2024, at 7 PM at The Coronado Performing Arts Center, 314 N. Main Street, Rockford, IL. This celebration of gospel excellence has secured a major national television partner, to be announced and aired inthe second quarter of 2024.Multi-award-winning recording artist Todd Dulaney is set to take the stage as the host, adding his charismatic presence to an already dazzling program that will feature performances honoring pioneers from all genres of gospel music.Marvin Sapp to Receive Soar Icon Award:Artist Marvin Sapp, a celebrated name in the gospel genre and a multiplatinum-selling artist, will be honored with the Soar Icon Honor. With 13 Grammy nominations, 24 Stellar Awards, 2 Soul Train Music Awards, 2 BET Awards, 4 Dove Awards, and numerous other accolades, Sapp has left an indelible mark on the industry.Ricky Dillard to Receive Soar Award Legend Award:Known as "The Choir Master, " Ricky Dillard has been a force in gospel music since his debut recording in 1990. A multiple Grammy and Dove Award nominee, Dillard has ensured the enduring presence of gospel choir music in the industry. He will receive theSoar Award Legend Honor.Kim Burrell to Receive Soar Industry Impact Award:Singer Kim Burrell, recognized for her powerful voice and widespread influence, will be honored with the Industry Impact Honor. With notable collaborations with mainstream secular artists, Burrell has left an indelible mark on the industry. Travis Greene to Receive Soar Luminary Award Artist/Pastor Travis Greene, a Grammy-nominated gospel singer, songwriter, and pastor, will receive the Soar Luminary Honor. His international sensation and chart-topping hits have solidified his place in the gospel music landscape.The evening will feature dynamic performances and appearances by a lineup that includes Jekalyn Carr, Mali Music, Lena Byrd Miles, Brian Courtney Wilson, Anita Wilson, Gene Moore, Maranda Curtis, Todd Galberth, and more. Phillip Feaster, renowned for his work with Fred Hammond and VaShawn Mitchell, will serve as the music director.Tickets for this extraordinary event are available at Ticketmaster.com or BMO Harris Center's Box Office. Don't miss the opportunity to be part of the 2024 SOAR Awards celebration.

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Brisket at Ritchie's Smokin' BBQ

Brisket at Ritchie's Smokin' BBQ

Ritchie's Smokin' BBQ at 7828 N 2nd St, Machesney Park, IL 61115 has new owners and the same amazing BBQ. We stopped by to fulfill our BBQ dreams.Ritchie's Smokin' BBQ offers carry-out and dine-in, with outdoor seating in the warmer months as well. We dined in and started with the BBQ brisket pizza! You can add their mac and cheese to the pizza now, making this a meal for the whole family. Drizzled with their bbq sauce, this cheesy and saucey pie is loaded with flavor on a hand-tossed crust. You can also get the pizza in a 7" personal size for an individual appetite. Not a brisket fan? Swap out the meat to your favorite and make it your own!Next up was the classic two-meat dinner. We went with pulled pork and brisket for this meal and selected the mac and cheese and baked beans for our sides. The baked beans are delicious and have the perfect thick consistency, making it easy to grab and go. Ritchie's Smokin' BBQ's mac and cheese is a rich and creamy cheese sauce on an oversized macaroni noodle, making an awesome pairing. Drizzled with BBQ sauce, this dinner will satisfy your cravings and carry you through your day. You can swap the sides for any that you prefer, and with classic options like coleslaw and more, you can't go wrong.Whether you are grabbing lunch or dinner on the go, or have the time to sit and enjoy, make Ritchie's Smokin BBQ a stop on your list. With award winning BBQ and pizza that will please the whole crew, you can't go wrong with Ritchie's Smokin BBQ. See you there, Rockford!

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Dinner at The Great Wall

Dinner at The Great Wall

If you know, you know. If you don't know, you need to know The Great Wall on 4228 E State St, Rockford, IL 61108!  We headed to The Great Wall for a cozy dinner at a Rockford classic. They have an extensive menu, making this a great option for groups with a variety of tastes. We were seated immediately and decided to try the Tang Dynasty Dinner for 2.The Tang Dynasty Dinner opens with Sizzling Rice Soup: chicken broth blended with meat and vegetables, and topped with morsels of fried golden rice. This soup has a mild, but delicious flavor that warms your core during these cold winter months. You get two cups and a refill bowl, because they know you are going to want more. Next up is their appetizer platter, the Confucious Concoction: Crab rangoon, Egg Roll, Shrimp Toast, Fried Wonton, BBQ Spare Ribs, and Beef Kabob. Talk about variety! This platter has three dipping sauces: sweet and sour, spicy mustard, and soy sauce. Everything is absolutely delicious. The kabobs are a crowd-pleaser and the BBQ spare ribs are tender. This is one of everything for each, just enough to give you the platter experience without filling you up too much before the entrees.The main courses are Sweet and Sour Shrimp and Mongolian Beef. Fried shrimp with fresh grilled onions, green peppers, and pineapple are glazed with sweet and sour sauce for a sweet treat. The Mongolian Beef has a savory flavor with green onions. These pair incredibly well together for an amazing shared meal. The meat was tender, and the large shrimp kept its crisp texture. Served with white rice, you won't leave the table hungry!With outstanding service, delicious food, and a full bar, you can't go wrong at The Great Wall for a fun dinner out with your friends and family. Enjoy the inviting atmosphere. We'll see you there, Rockford! 

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Classic Dishes at Chavez Mexican Restaurant

Classic Dishes at Chavez Mexican Restaurant

We visited Chavez Mexican Restaurant at 5494 E State St, Rockford, IL 61108 for dinner with the family. With outstanding service, a menu with plenty of delicious options, and a cozy fireplace in the middle of the dining room, it's the perfect stop for lunch or dinner during your busy holiday schedule.First of all, chips and salsa fans rejoice because they keep it coming! And with homemade guacamole, just the way you like it, you can eat chips to your heart's desire. If you still have room for your entree, Chavez Mexican Restaurant has amazing authentic and family-friendly options.We started with the classic crowd-pleaser, Fajitas. We ordered the chicken and beef combination and added the melted chihuahua cheese. The flavors of the chicken and beef were amazing, as well as being very tender and juicy. The vegetables were fresh and still had a delicate crisp to them. A fun highlight is that it comes to your table with a small fire under the dish that keeps your fajitas warm and sizzling. This small detail really stood out and made a classic dish feel unique again.Flautas came next, and they lived up to all of our expectations! Stuffed with shredded beef, these are fried and delicious. Layered with all the toppings including guacamole, this is a simple but amazing dish that is fun to eat. The house-made sauce brings these to the next level.They have a kids menu, which is always appreciated, and our small tried the ground beef enchilada with rice and beans. He thought it was "pretty outstanding". With that 5-star review, you can't go wrong.Next time you are driving down East State Street, pop into Chavez Mexican Restaurant for an amazing meal. See you there, Rockford!

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59th Annual Christmas Banquet at Rockford Rescue Mission

59th Annual Christmas Banquet at Rockford Rescue Mission

For 59 years, Rockford Rescue Mission has provided a Christmas Banquet. This year’s free banquet is at noon on Friday, Dec. 22, at the Mission, 715 W. State St.“The hope of Christmas means everything at the Mission,” said Sherry Pitney, Rockford Rescue Mission CEO. “Especially during the Christmas season, we look forward to celebrating the reason we do what we do.”“We want to thank the many community volunteers who will prepare and serve the Banquet this year,” Pitney said. “An event of this size would not be possible without them.” This year’s volunteers include Sheriff Gary Caruana, amongst many other men, women and children.The media is invited to arrive at the Mission at 11:45 a.m. for a time of interviews with staff and residents. The banquet area will then be available for filming footage at 12:00 p.m.

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