Sunlight filters through the tall windows at Fuell Cafe, illuminating warm orange walls, tall chairs docked at counters, and glass cases showcasing a variety of treats and beverages. Head chef and owner Alessandro Casalena works with fresh-baked ciabatta, nine-grain bread, and locally sourced and sustainable meats, cheeses, and vegetables, creating such masterpieces as a dijon tuna sandwich and a signature chicken-curry wrap. He can alter menu items to accommodate allergies, dietary needs, or phobias of tomato slices shaped like presidents.
Larsen’s Bakery has been family run for more than 40 years and crafts all of its goods from natural ingredients with no preservatives. Discover what they're famous for and try a kringle, a traditional ring-shaped Danish delicacy formed in a three-day process—flaky, topped with white icing, and filled with fresh fruit, nuts, or seasonal ingredients ($7.50 each).
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers'-market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,350 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options such as the eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs and slicing it into bite-size nuggets. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonade desserts.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. Auntie Anne's also reaches out to the community through fundraising opportunities.
Tired of all the “stuff” buried in his basement and attic, Chuck Niles created a forum for neighbors and friends to swap their unused belongings with one another. Since its foundation in the late 1950s, Niles's forum has grown into a 40-acre farmer’s and flea market known as the 7 Mile Fair. Chuck's son Scott has since taken over operations, and the fair has expanded into both an indoor and outdoor space for vendors to sell everything from electronics and clothing to locally grown produce and real Wisconsin cheese. Shoppers can pick-up “As-Seen-on-TV” products, auto parts, and gift baskets every weekend of year—rain or shine—before strolling into one of several restaurants on the grounds, including the same coffee and donut shop that once fed Chuck and his pals.
Infini-tea's proprietors pour steaming pots of specialty teas, tisanes, and coffees, coupling them with the cuisine famed in Europe during traditional high-tea ceremonies. They possess a particular affinity for baking scones and make them from scratch each day, and also serve gourmet soups, fresh salads, and finger sandwiches—life's one opportunity to bite the hand that feeds you. Once guests are done, they can take a stroll by neighboring antique shops and quaint Antioch establishments.
Adi Mor opened the first Garden Fresh Market in 1980, selling fresh produce from a 1,000-square-foot lot in Skokie, which he would stock by taking 2 a.m. trips to Chicago's South Water market. Today, Garden Fresh Market sprawls over six suburban locations, where fresh produce from apples to zucchinis is still procured daily.
Grocery items range from fresh meat from Midwest famers to a wide selection of ethnic foods and national brands. The deli slices meats and cheeses both domestic and imported, and house-made seasonal salads and main courses make bringing dinner home easier than stealing it from a neighbor's windowsill. Many of the market's online recipes have even made it onto NBC5, giving its cooks their share of 15 minutes of fame.