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DeKalb’s Hole in the Walls

DeKalb's locally owned, lesser known restaurants you've got to try.

Abbie Jovanovich, Graphic Designer

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DeKalb, Illinois, while chain restaurants and retail stores are inevitable at this day in age, has maintained a good balance between chains and family-owned, local businesses. Here’s a list of some successful local business you should check out ASAP.


Family owned and located off Annie Glidden (on Pappas Drive), Lukulos offers a vast menu. From baked potatoes, rib tips, burgers, pastas (their fettuccine alfredo is so good), skillets, omelets, salads (they’re huge), wraps, pitas, and calzones. The meals are largely proportioned for the prices you pay. They deliver too!

Common Grounds owner Jeff Foster poses in front of his coffee bar. Photo by Abbie Jovanovich.

Common Grounds

Found along Lincoln Highway, Common Grounds is a relatively new coffee shop and bookstore opened with the intent for a comforting and welcoming atmosphere. Jeff Foster opened the shop in hopes of it becoming a place people of all ages can come together and be inspired. The store sells books for all ages, and all the proceeds from book sales go toward a foundation to end human trafficking.  Jeff, being a DeKalb native, created the drink the Barb Wire, which is a black coffee with three espresso shots–a perfect drink for college students during finals. Your drink is made to order, and there are seats at the bar so you can watch your drink be made. You can also get pastries and sandwiches. The cafe holds get-togethers on Monday nights, whether it’s a game night, movie night, or even live music!


Happy Wok

Happy Wok is an authentic asian cuisine located further west on Lincoln Highway. Owned and operated by the Wong family, the restaurant offers numerous choices, from soups, lo mein, to meats to vegetarian options, chicken on a stick, pan fried noodles, to smoothies. They also deliver until 10 pm.


Customers watch as their orders are made. Photo by Abbie Jovanovich.

Having just opened a few days ago, Bowlritto is the newest non-chain restaurant in DeKalb. It’s so new, there’s no website available yet, and the sign was just put up a week ago. It sits just next to Happy Wok on Lincoln Highway. The restaurant is a mix between Chipotle and Los Tres Burritos (another local Mexican restaurant in DeKalb). With burritos, bowls, tacos, and salads, it’s very close to Chipotle. However, Bowlritto allows customers to add extra cilantro at the end of your order to add extra flavor, and the business seems to be in the process of adding a drive thru, so you can get your bowl on the go! The menu’s flash between English and Spanish, and the employees speak Spanish as well. Jarritos are a drink option as well, and they have 7 different flavors of them.  There are non-meat options as well, but because their tofu isn’t pre-prepared like their meat options, you’ll have to wait for it to be cooked.

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DeKalb’s Hole in the Walls