If Oak Park could keep only one restaurant within its borders, Petersen’s would probably be the odds-on favorite to be chosen. Forget about its proximity to the “touristy” homes of Oak Park and its history: Petersen’s churns out some excellent own-brand ice cream (they make their own varieties). As a summer treat, Petersen’s can’t be beat, and it is always a destination whenever we have rugrats staying with us in Oak Park.
Secondly, Petersen’s serves fairly good food, although to be honest I prefer their breakfast offerings more than their lunch and dinner options. What sets Petersen’s apart is its exemplary level of service, which is highlighted by their owner/manager who can often be spotted bouncing from table to table, serving coffee and greeting visitors to make sure they’re having a good time in Oak Park. If you were cynical, it could come off as a hokey attempt to build rapport, but to me, it’s really great to see that level of care about customers—it’s both rare and refreshing. Overall, this is a perfect family dining destination for both in- and out-of-towners.