Less than two percent. That's how much of the nation's beef gets the coveted title of USDA Prime. Most of that goes straight to fancy restaurants, but the team at Chicago Prime Meats is looking to change that, much to the chagrin of white-tablecloth vendors everywhere. Here, butchers cut and sell more than 100 varieties of gourmet meats: filet mignon, Black Angus Certified Choice, and everything in between. They can also wrap up fresh Atlantic or Scottish salmon, Alaskan halibut, and other seafood. The butchers happily chat with customers to help them find the perfect item, though easy online ordering means patrons need not travel to the store.
Once their butcher shop proved successful, the team at Chicago Prime Meats looked for a way to show off the full range of their culinary skills. They found the answer in catering. Their chefs cook entrees such as chicken florentine, sides such as fresh garlic bread, and desserts such as cannoli.
The staff at Olive 'n Vinnie's Market believes you should never buy an olive oil or balsamic vinegar before tasting it. That's why they generously pour out samples of their more than 20 flavored balsamic vinegars and more than 30 cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oils. Their olive oils take on flavors such as garlic, mushroom, sage, lemon, and even butter, which offers a healthier option to consume the treat, beyond using it as chapstick.
Though they carry olive oils from throughout the world, their balsamic vinegars come from only one source: Modena, Italy. All their flavored vinegars are made in Modena, the city where it has been a staple since the middle ages. Their selection often veers a little from the traditional recipe, incorporating ingredients such as pomegranate, figs, dark chocolate, and espresso. These flavors add a sweet touch that make them perfect for salad dressings or dipping sauces.
It's more than just the retro, 1960s-style sign that nods to a bygone era at Malloy's Finest Wine & Spirits. The huge maroon marquee pointing to the Glen Ellyn location on Roosevelt Road invokes a pleasant feeling of nostalgia, but so does the friendly, attentive service of the resident beverage experts. The company has been around since the repeal of Prohibition and continually updates its international display of wine and spirits to meet customers' changing needs. Wine and beer connoisseurs host free tastings every Saturday and guide patrons through highly rated vintage varietals that are tucked safely in a cellar.
Sculpted around many lakes, The Village Links of Glen Ellyn's 18-hole championship course and 9-hole course fill 170 acres with a verdant landscape of challenging golf. Originally built in 1967 and renovated in 2004, the championship course has played host to 40 USGA and PGA Tour qualifying tournaments, including those for the 2012 U.S. Open and 2008 U.S. Amateur.
Sixteen waterways meander through the grounds, directly entering play on all but three holes, where they enter play indirectly by threatening to take down golf shots with troupes of flying fish. On the par 4 10th hole, players must hit a difficult tee shot onto an S-shaped fairway that weaves between two large lakes. The 18th hole, also a par 4, features a treasure trove of sunken golf balls and golf carts lurking in three lakes that surround the fairway and in one that lies right in the middle. Once safely on the greens, players putt over fast A-4 bentgrass surfaces, a key addition from the 2004 renovation.
18-Hole Course at a Glance: * Par 72 * Total length of 7,208 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 74.9 from the back tees * Course slope of 138 from the back tees * Five sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
9-Hole Course at a Glance: * Par 36 * Total length of 3,303 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 35.7 from the back tees * Course slope of 129 from the back tees * Three sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
All big movements start small, but many would be surprised to learn that Ten Thousand Villages—a nonprofit and retailer with 390 outlets nationwide—began out of a car trunk. In 1946, Edna Ruth Byler started the organization out of her car, taking a name from a quote by Mohandas Gandhi, who said, “India is not to be found in its few cities but in the 700,000 villages.” Her willpower and determination allowed her vision to grow into a nonprofit that today supports more than 130 artisans in 38 developing countries. These artisans' wares go on sale at the organization's nationwide retail outlets, which brim with items including jewelry, home decor, and refrigerator cozies.
Everything is made using environmentally friendly processes, and every artisan is paid a fair wage. The money raised from sales goes to supply the artisans—who might otherwise be unemployed or underemployed—with education, food, housing, and healthcare. The organization has risen to such stature that it won the People’s Choice Award for Green Business of the Year in 2005, and has acted as one of the founding members of the World Fair Trade Organization.