Who doesn't love a tip on a great restaurant they haven't already tried in the area?
That was the idea behind the Chowdown Showdown when Patch.com editors launched the feature this past year.
Every week, we have asked readers to tell us where is the best place to get pizza, a burger, a bowl of chili, Mexican food — and the list goes on.
It's a feature that is meant to be fun. It's gotten competitive, at times, for some loyal customers. But the main purpose is to give people some new ideas on places to try.
With that in mind, we decided to list out all of the Chowdown Showdown winners, as well as runners up for that week, in recent months since the Chowdown went live.
If the restaurant is in a McHenry County Patch.com town — Lake in the Hills, Crystal Lake, Huntley, Cary or Algonquin — you should see a link to that restaurant's directory listing. That listing allows readers to rate the restaurant themselves and read any other reviews left by Patch.com users.
- Burrito Grande, 140 Crystal Street in Cary
- Pablo's Mexican Restaurant, 230 W. Virginia St. in Crystal Lake
Runners Up: Tacos el Norte in Lake in the Hills, El Molino in Carpentersville (not in McHenry County), Del Toro's in Huntley (which recently closed), El Niagra in Woodstock, Algonquin Mexican Restaurant.
- The Tracks, 108 W. Main St. in Cary
- Trio Grille, 101 Franks Road in Marengo
Runners Up: Riverview Restaurant in Algonquin, Red Mill in Woodstock, Chris' Coachhouse in Cary, Coleman's Crystal Lake Bar and Grill, Village Squire in Crystal Lake, Duke's Alehouse and Kitchen in Crystal Lake
- Gourmet House Chinese Restaurant in Algonquin
- Chen's in Lake in the Hills
- The Breakers in Crystal Lake and Plum Garden in McHenry
- China Bistro in Algonquin
Runners Up: Yin & Yang's Carryout Restaurant in Algonquin, China House in Cary, Chen's King Wok, Green Garden in Woodstock, Lily Garden in Lake in the Hills, New China in Fox River Grove, China Dragon in Algonquin
Runners Up: Isabel's in Woodstock, Measuring Cup in Dundee (not McHenry County), Around the Clock in Crystal Lake
Runners Up: Buffalo Wild Wings, Thirsty Whale in Algonquin, Duke's Alehouse and Kitchen in Crystal Lake, Wings and Rings in Crystal Lake, Wool Street Grill and Bar in Cary, Chubby's in Algonquin, D.C. Cobbs in Woodstock
- Bistro Wasabi in Lake in the Hills
- Kyoto Japanese Restaurant in Crystal Lake
- Kaminari Japanese Cuisine in LITH and Rice Asian Fusion in Algonquin
- Runners Up: Bangkok Thai & Sushi in Algonquin, Golden Rolls in Woodstock
- Lou Malnati's Pizzeria
- Buddyz A Chicago Pizzeria in Algonquin
- Pinemoor Pizza in Crystal Lake
- Tony V's in Cary
- Nick's Pizza & Pub in Crystal Lake
Other Finalists: Nancy's in Lake in the Hills, Napoli's Pizza in Woodstock, Riverview in Algonquin, Papa Saverios, Sal's Pizza in Algonquin, Rosati's Pizza, Georgio's
- Pumpkin Pie Spiced Latte from Concious Cup in Crystal Lake
- Pumpkin Spiced Latte from Starbucks
- Salted Carmel Mocha from Starbucks
- Peach Melba from Cafe Firefly in Algonquin
- Pumpkin Spiced Latte from Panera
- Georgia's in Algonquin
- Bruch Cafe in McHenry
- Richard Walker's Pancake House in Crystal Lake
- Benedict's La Strata in Crystal Lake
- Burnt Toast in Algonquin
- Windhill Pancake House in McHenry
Other Finalists: Andy's Restaurant, Tony's in Crystal Lake, Cary Family Restaurant in Cary
Other Finalists: Rookie's Pub, Cafe 20 in Marengo, Jameson's, Red Robin, Claussens in Union, Dante's in Algonquin, Duke's in Crystal Lake, The Spot in Marengo, Fire Bar and Grill
- Diced Fresh in Algonquin
- The Texan in Algonquin
- The Algonquin Sub Shop in Algonquin
Other Finalists: Village Squire in Crystal Lake, Portillos, Colonial Cafe, Butcher on the Block in Lake in the Hills, Brink Street in Crystal Lake