Hearthstone Coffee House & Pub aims to enrich its community with its café drinks, food, and craft beers and by giving 10 cents of each beverage sold to a different local charity every month. The day begins with baristas pulling precise shots of espresso and steaming pitchers of milk, which accentuate breakfast sandwiches and fresh-baked morsels of coffeecake or scones. Later on, lunch-goers tear into caprese-salad sandwiches and after-work visitors pair draft beers with flatbread pizzas, soups and salads, or artisan sandwiches. Live music serenades the café Thursday–Saturday, with tunes from celtic musicians, singer-songwriters, and open-mic artists.
Hearthstone makes good on its name with a working stone fireplace topped by a dark wooden mantel that draws attention from diners throughout the interior. Low leather armchairs form a cozy circle around its comforting presence, and its firelight is augmented by a chandelier hanging overhead. Framed art punctuates the tranquil tan walls, which surround scattered clusters of tables and standalone chairs that feel at home in their solitude. At the bar, painted flames crown the menu boards and a rustic chandelier resembling twisted antlers stretches over patrons' heads.
When the Perry and Burke families joined forces to open Sweet n Swirly, they shared a vision of promoting a healthier alternative to ice cream. Neither family could have predicted, however, how quickly that vision would catch on.
Today, visitors stream into a trio of cheery, welcoming locations in Kentucky and Indiana, eagerly sidling up to self-serve stations that protrude from walls painted in vibrant pinks and purples. These stations pump out 10 creamy flavors at any given time, including no-sugar-added options and nondairy sorbets.
The ever-changing lineup of flavors runs the gamut from refreshing to decadent. On one side of the spectrum are tart, summery variations such as blueberry, ginger lemonade, and non-dairy sorbet, whereas choices inspired by more traditional desserts include peanut butter and root-beer float. A candy wall proffers toppings such as jellybeans and chocolate sunflower seeds.
The lavender-and-green-tiled wall at Purple Tree Yogurt is certainly eye catching, but customers gravitate toward it for a different reason. It holds the pumps that they use to self-serve the shop's selection of natural frozen yogurt. After swirling any combination of flavors, customers then bedeck their creations with toppings such as nuts, chocolate chips, jellybeans, cereal, and fresh fruit.
At Brew'ha Coffee House, patrons recline in comfy chairs and leather couches amid walls painted with earth-toned swirls. As they sip on the baristas' drink creations, guests feel their heartbeats pick up with caffeinated espresso concoctions, their body heat cool down with blended fruit smoothies, or their fingers warm up flavored milk steamers. On Monday night, open-mic sessions give coffee beans a chance to read poetry about the highs and lows of being roasted. For an offsite fix, Brew'ha maintains a satellite location at Park View Hospital.
Take a quick glance over iSushi Cafe's menu, and you may feel as though you've accidentally picked up the brochure for a local aquarium. Seafood of all kinds pack into tightly rolled maki and balls of rice, mixed with crisp vegetables. Pieces of fresh yellowtail, octopus, tuna, and shrimp find their way into a diverse slate of dishes. And house special rolls feature creative combinations, with spicy flavors and ingredients as unexpected but useful as the Internet was in the American Revolution.
In 1966, taxi drivers Sam Levine and Fred Bartoli finally became fed up with their stop-and-go lives full of honking horns and rush-hour traffic. So they shut off their engines, handed in their keys, and took root. Along with pal George Loverde, they invested in property just off the bustling Magnificent Mile, but then didn’t know what to do with it. According to a 2004 profile in the Chicago Tribune, they got their direction when someone finally said, “Put pizza in it.”
Though the rest is history, it wasn’t quite easy. Bartoli and Loverde came from Italian and Sicilian backgrounds, but neither knew the key to a good pizza. It wasn’t until they hired Alice Mae Redmond, the woman responsible for the dough at Pizzeria Uno, that the Gino's East Chicagoans know and love was truly born. Although Alice Mae retired back in 1989, the recipe for her flaky, golden deep-dish pizza crust lives on.
Today, Gino’s still stands at its original spot on Michigan and Superior but has also stretched to 10 other city and suburban locations. Whether dining downtown or in St. Charles, customers find Alice Mae’s signature crust piled with mounds of cheese, sauce made from vine-ripened tomatoes, and plenty of fresh toppings—from sausage and pepperoni to jalapeños and ground beef. Hot from the oven, pizzas arrive at tables snuggled inside seasoned deep-dish pans, ready to welcome a fork and knife. Thin-crust varieties are also available for those who don’t know how to work silverware, as is a bounty of sandwiches.
Rainbow Blossom Natural Food Markets has always been ahead of its time. Founders Rob and Pumpkin Auerbach have sold all-natural supplements and organic food for more than 35 years—starting well before many Americans had even heard of such nutritious goodies as wheatgrass or fruit. "My father always said that they opened the store about 10 years too early for the area," daughter and COO Summer Auerbach told Vitamin Retailer in 2012, when the publication named Rainbow Blossom Retailer of the Year. But when world-famous rock bands began touring around Louisville, they relished Rainbow Blossom's wholesome pastas, produce, and macrobiotic and vegetarian cuisine, boosting the revenue and reputation of the mom-and-pop grocery and helping it expand to its present-day network of five locations.
Today, the family-run enterprise enjoys an avid following from health-conscious customers who stock up on organic dairy, produce, and veggie burgers or enrich their diets with nutritional bars, supplements, and vitamins. Plant extracts and amino acids keep bodies in healthful balance, and shelves full of naturally derived cosmetics, bath products, and housewares keep homes free from harsh chemicals and damaging pollutants.