Matt Puchalski set himself up early for a career in the arts, working as a framer at a nationally renowned studio in high school and enrolling at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. When his workplace unexpectedly went out of business, 20-year-old Matt shrewdly bought up the equipment and customer list, set himself up as the sole proprietor, and decamped to the safety of his parents' basement, where he balanced his coursework with the demands of a small-business owner. Matt's determination and hard work paid off, with streams of repeat customers and corporate clients paving the way for three subsequent business expansions and the company's current success.
A far cry from the shop's humble roots, the current studio shows off the talented staff's technical skill with projects such as a framed flat-screen television or 75-gallon aquarium. Technicians touch up and bring to life faded photographs with restoration projects, and the store's designers craft stunning framing compositions that decorate homes, corporate offices, and even the walls of the White House.
Now that he no longer has to juggle frame crafting and school with the rigors of owning his own business, Matt has time to return to his art, employing brilliant splashes of color to create impressionistic depictions of the stately granite structures, glistening skyscraper lights, and active volcanoes along the iconic Chicago skyline.
Bloomingdale Park District's The Oasis Water Park welcomes splishers and splashers with three separate playscapes dedicated to aquatic fun. 'Cuda Cove devotes itself to exercise with its eight-lane competitive lap pool, and the one- and three-meter diving boards that launch human cannonballs or real cannonballs that just want to know what it's like to be a human child. More leisurely pool-goers can saunter over to Mango Bay, where they'll find a zero-depth entry pool complete with geysers, spilling buckets, and water slides that send guests careening into the pool below from heights of ten stories. Otter Island invites tiny fun-seekers to run wild in a safe playground complete with water cannons and pint-sized slides.
For more than 40 years, the Bloomingdale Park District has been creating safe and healthy spaces for active families and energetic children. The park district oversees more than 160 acres of open space, as well as 2,400 exercise and enrichment programs for children, seniors, and Dorian Grays in need of a new hobby. Its central hub, the 21,000-square-foot Johnson Recreation Center, teaches agile arts of gymnastics and dance while hosting the furious bouts of roundball on four basketball courts.
Golfer’s Paradise’s friendly golfing confines foster year-round golfing within the indoor hitting stalls of their AboutGolf simulators. Using real clubs, players pulverize orbs into an immense screen that utilizes 3-D graphics to vividly emulate the immaculate greenery, calculated topography, and yellow-brick cart paths of some of the world’s most famous courses. Golfers can trace powerful drives into the windswept, simulated stratosphere of St. Andrews Old Course or evade the treacherous water hazards at Michigan’s Robert Trent Jones–designed course, The Heather. Along with technology that ensures each shot travels in a realistic manner, the simulators boast advanced swing-tracking sensors that collect data and even offer advice to correct unsound swings.
A staff of PGA-certified instructors oversees Golfer's Paradise's two executive-style lounges, offering expert advice to help transform swing imbalances into trustworthy motions. Pupils benefit from the instructors' hard-won wisdom combined with the computer-generated feedback of the simulators, which reveals detailed results of the position of one's clubface at impact and the effects of sweaty-palm syndrome.
Home cooking can be hard to find when home is on an entirely different continent. But the owners of Himalayan Restaurant knew how to bring the flavors of their South Asian home to Chicago. They sought out Chef Bishnu Subedi, who relies on his 12 years of experience as well as his training in a Kathmandu culinary school. Befitting the subcontinent’s rich and diverse history, Chef Subedi designs expansive menus, which embrace the Northern Indian, Nepalese, and Asian subcultures that define the region’s cuisines.
This cultural fusion is readily apparent in dishes such as the momos: steamed Nepalese-style dumplings that are typically stuffed with minced chicken or vegetables and served by street-food vendors throughout Nepal. Northern Indian flavors completely shine through on certain dishes, including the tandoori chicken, which marinates overnight in spiced yogurt before the chefs quickly barbecue the meat inside a traditional clay tandoor oven. House-made paneer cheese and fluffy naan also evoke the flavors of South Asia; the restaurant further embraces its cultural roots by serving Indian beers and water from melted Nepalese glaciers.
In 1908, Madison and State became the numerical zero-markers of Chicago’s new street system, making the corner where they intersected the new epicenter of city commerce. On nearby Wabash Avenue, the company jumped into the furniture game the same year, selling home furnishings built by skilled local craftsmen. More than 100 years later, the shop still buzzes with that original energy, connecting customers with the finest home furnishings from more than 50 manufacturers. The fourth-generation family business has migrated from the city center to five suburban locales, where showrooms display gleaming hardwood tables, towering entertainment centers, and elegant leather couches. Along with accent pieces and kid-centric design items, each Toms-Price location also offers special services such as furniture refinishing, reupholstering, and moving help. On-staff interior designers can also lend their eye to design projects, artfully arranging rooms and selecting the color schemes, fabrics, and wax doll heads that best bring out the inner you.
For more than 25 years, Drs. Blinstrup and Nuccio have tended to the needs of eyes with examinations and healthcare services. When they aren't fitting peepers with custom contact lenses, they treat eye diseases and infections. Symptoms such as pain, sudden vision change, and flashes of light often require urgent attention, which is why the duo remains on call for such emergencies. Their studio shelves—nestled amid bright green and yellow walls and an exposed corrugated-tin ceiling that imparts an urban loft vibe—brim with glasses and sunglasses from brands such as Giorgio Armani, Coach, Calvin Klein, Nike, and Prada. Technicians sculpt single, bifocal, and trifocal lenses in the onsite optical lab and buttress them with protective coatings. Nuccio Optometrists also employs special contact lenses to reshape corneas and, once clear vision is achieved, equip blinkers with retainer lenses that are worn at night. This process eliminates the need for LASIK surgery and spares eyes the embarrassment of wearing ugly metal braces.