Lily’s Restaurant in River Forest reopens, with al fresco dining on the golf course

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A popular outdoor dining destination is reopening in Allegheny Township.

Lily’s, the restaurant at the River Forest Country Club overlooking the golf course, returns for dinner at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

The quaint restaurant closed last summer, at the height of the season, due to a lack of staff. Although located in the private club, Lily’s is open to the public for meals.

Lily’s opened in the summer of 2019, after Jamy and Robert Rankin teamed up at River Forest with co-owners Andi and Steve Irwin. The Rankins named the restaurant after their 6-year-old pug, Lily.

The two women, Jamy Rankin and Andi Irwin, are the public face of River Forest. Robert Rankin is the chief financial officer; Steve Irwin, a lawyer, is busy running for Congress, seeking the Democratic nomination for the 12th district.

Jamy Rankin said the reopening was “brilliant”.

“It’s been a long time and we’ve struggled to find labor and I’ve been asked a hundred times ‘When are you reopening?’ “said Rankin.

Joyce Hanz | Tribune-Review

Jamy Rankin, co-owner of the River Forest Country Club, on the terrace of Lily’s restaurant in Allegheny Township.

Lunch will be served on Saturdays and Sundays and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The restaurant is open seasonally, usually closing in November and reopening in March.

New to the American-influenced menu are Mojo Potatoes, an appetizer featuring freshly cut, breaded and fried Russet potatoes, served with campfire gravy.

The popular Lily Burger remains, with cheese, pickles, red onions and romaine. “We have to keep this burger on the menu – everyone loves it,” Rankin said.

Executive chef Nash Michalski, 22, of Freeport earned a degree in culinary arts from Indiana University in Pennsylvania.

As chef, Michalski said he keeps it simple with weekly specials and hopes to add more exotic flavors to the menu lineup, such as Indian cuisine.

“The atmosphere, the view and the surroundings make for a calm dining experience,” Michalski said.

Laci Horvath from Bell Township is a bartender at Lily’s. After working in the pro shop at the golf course during Lily’s extended shutdown, she’s excited to be back behind the bar.

“Golfers will be delighted to reopen the bar. We get a lot of families over for dinner and they love to sit on the veranda,” Horvath said.

Joyce Hanz is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Joyce at 724-226-7725, jhanz@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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