Lake Forest Left Bank is Top Dog

The Left Bank's cheese dogs have been a North Shore staple for decades.

Not a lot has changed at Left Bank since it first opened its doors in 1966 - and the people of Lake Forest wouldn't have it any other way.

At first glance, the limited menu, which includes hot dogs, "not-so-sloppy-joes" and tuna salad, doesn't seem to be particularly noteworthy - that is, until you take your first bite.

"I've been coming here since I was seven years old," said Andy Bungert, a lifelong Lake Forest resident. "I came here all of the time in high school for lunch!"

The cheese dogs in particular are a real local favorite. The recipe is simple - a hot dog and bun, with a dollop of cheese sauce on top. It's a simple yet perfect blend of flavors.

The combination is the exact same as its been since Left Bank first began in the early 1960s as a hot dog and snack stand by Forest Park beach - and remains just as beloved by North Shore residents, having been described as a "Lake Forest staple". 

Lane Pasquesi took over the restaurant from his grandparents in 2001, making it truly a family business.

Another iconic dish that's remained the same over the years is the "not-so-sloppy-joe," which is a hollowed-out bun filled with Pasquesi's grandmother's original recipe.

"It's definitely an institution," Pasquesi said. "[The Left Bank] is a part of me. I've never changed how it's done - we just do our thing, six days a week...I've really tried to keep it as much the same as possible." 

And with the friendly atmosphere, the family connection and a can't-go-wrong menu, there's no doubt that Left Bank will be around for many years to come.

Special Bonus! Mention that you saw this article on Patch and get a free large drink at Left Bank.

Moe @ the Buck December 07, 2012 at 02:02 PM
I was selfishly hoping that we could keep Left Bank one of the best kept secrets of Lake Forest, but I guess the word is out. Whenever I'm uptown, I always stop by for a sloppy Joe with cheese, and a chili cheese dog which they use the Joe sauce to make it more like a coney dog. Wish we had this place next to us in Highwood. Moes gives Lane and his place a 2 thumbs-up.
Jennifer Fisher (Editor) December 07, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Wow, that not so sloppy Joe looks great. I'm ready for lunch!
Stevie Janowski December 07, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Moe, you got to be kidding me right? I thought you had some taste!
Stevie Janowski December 07, 2012 at 05:50 PM
This is a joke, their meat is low grade. I would much rather go to scooters or lukes for a hot dog. Their ownership has been slacking to since it was passed down in 2001. I used to eat there a lot too. Honestly if you want to buy a over priced hot dog, that doesnt taste good, go to left bank. Lukes and Scooters is the way to go
Moe @ the Buck December 07, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Sorry Stevie, I didn't see the sloppy Joe's or coney dogs on the menu at Luke's or Scooters. I'm a fan of those two places as well. In fact, if you want a great gyros, Scooters is the spot. They are my inspiration for my dream restaurant "Moes Wing Ding Dingalings And Gyros", which I would like to open soon.
Lefty Bank December 07, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Lefty Bank December 07, 2012 at 07:30 PM
I would like Stevie to join us for some Lunch... on Us....
Stevie Janowski December 07, 2012 at 08:10 PM
How does next week work?
Bree Olson December 07, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Wow that is saying a lot. Iv never been to left bank but hearing that certainly doesn't make me want to go anytime soon. Il pass that info along to my friends. No one likes to waste their money on a bad lunch.
Bree Olson December 07, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Hey Paula Skaggs, How about you write an article on the best restaurant in Lake Forest. I'm talking Donati's, Iv gotten to know the owners and they are class acts with a good story. I think it would be good to report on. That seems to be the new place for kids and even adults to go and are really doing a good business. They just expanded and have a nice sit down restaurant. If you haven't been i recommend it to any one reading this!!! Cheap and great food!!
Mosober December 07, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Not much has changed since 1966. Very nice clean place with a good hot dog and sloppy joe. My choice is Lukes! A very community supportive business and hang out for families, school sports teams on the weekends. I feel good to support a new business owner who is always looking out to find ways to support the community. Stop in an try the dogs but the real choice is their thin crust pizza if you like a "New York" slice.
Stevie Janowski December 07, 2012 at 08:37 PM
I like many restaurants in lake bluff lake forest, this is not one of those i like. I would give great comments about Donatis, Chiefs, Silo Ect.
Stevie Janowski December 07, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Dave, is a great guy and Lukes is a great place.
Lefty Bank December 07, 2012 at 08:59 PM
join us
Stevie Janowski December 07, 2012 at 09:05 PM
And reading my comment from earlier, i feel bad I am have been to harsh, while i think your hot dogs are ok, i should note that you have a great sloppy joe. -Stevie
Moe @ the Buck December 07, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Stevie, Im proud of You that you could admit that Left Bank has a great sloppy Joe. I don't know where Donatis is. What kinda food? Heard my friend Javier, opened the first Mexican place in Lake Forest. How's that? Bree, I always thought you were a women?? Thanks for the picture.
Stevie Janowski December 07, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Donatis is pizza, good food behind where the old burger king was. patch should really run a story on it. 2 local guys
Moe @ the Buck December 07, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Ok Stevie, if you promise to be a little more friendly in your comments, I will pull some strings and get the story done. Watch this, Gazoo, The Great Gazoo of the Patch, Jennifer Fisher, Can we please get a story on this pizza place in L.F. called Donatis? Stevie says he'll be more kind if you do.
J.Lyn December 08, 2012 at 02:25 PM
I have never been to the Left Bank. Judging by the photographs of the food it looks like they use that canned industrial cheese that has no relation to cheese other than salt and color. It has the texture of liquid plastic. YUK !!! Given that single observation I will never go there. Suggestion to the Left Bank : use REAL cheese !
D'skidoc December 08, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Hey J L someone spent a lot of time and effort to make that photo look like plastic with "natural" cheese coloring. Don't you know it's an art to make food look that real.
J.Lyn December 08, 2012 at 08:45 PM
D'skidoc...The food stylist did a great job...LOL...of keeping me out of there! : p
Jennifer Fisher (Editor) December 10, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Wow, The Great Gazoo is the best (and only) honorary title I've ever been given. Awesome! I cover Evanston so Lake Forest is out of my purview...but feel free to make some suggestions on Evanston restaurants we should stop by in the future.
Nitro76 December 11, 2012 at 01:39 AM
Stevie, I think your post was completely out of line. The Pasquesi family has been running a clean and friendly restaurant for over 40 years, in my opinion they must be doing something right! If the food isn't your cup of tea then don't eat there. Didn't anyone teach you that if don't have anything nice to say then don't say anything at all? Let people go experience The Left Bank and develop their own opinions about it.
Stevie Janowski December 11, 2012 at 06:42 AM
Thanks Nitro, I actually retracted much of my statement, and credited their sloppy joe. Great comment Nitro!


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