Emily Smith gets her adrenaline rush not from roller coasters or scary movies but from the thrill of organizing a cluttered tupperware cabinet. Secretary of the Chicago chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers, Emily’s passion is helping customers simplify their lives. She emphasizes first decluttering nonessential items, then building an accessible, common-sense storage system. Emily can isolate her ideas and services to one room, make the entire home easy to navigate, or provide a simple maintenance package for past clients that includes checkup phone calls and a pop quiz on the history of the Trapper Keeper.
The Painted Penguin is all about having a fun experience. They showcase the art of ceramics, inviting participants with any level of experience to unhurriedly paint their bisque and plaster pieces in the company of friends, family members, or birthday party guests. When designing their own pieces or attending any of The Painted Penguin's parties, customers can choose from over 3,000 pottery pieces and enlist the help of staff members, who are always on hand to provide tips or inspiration. Walk-ins are welcome, and guests can paint and take home their piece the very same day.
As night falls on the corner of Lawrence and Central in Jefferson Park, Central Kitchen and Tap's towering sign blazes to life with a neon invitation to "stop in" and shining arrows helpfully pointing the way. The vintage-inspired fixture wouldn't look out of place beside a roadside eatery from the 1950s, and it perfectly conveys the restaurant's spirit before diners even step through the front doors. Central Kitchen and Tap manages to walk a fine line between two ambiances by combining the counter service and charming booths of a casual diner with the full bar and assorted televisions of a neighborhood pub.
The family-friendly tavern welcomes everyone and this is readily apparent in the menu of American classics, which also includes the occasional international treat. Roasted chicken, slow-cooked ribs, and grilled pork chops seem directly inspired by home-style recipes. However, the selection also features dishes such as saffron-tinged Spanish rice with grilled shrimp and a traditional pasta bolognese with braised beef marinara. In between bites of comfort food from home and abroad, diners can also enjoy a refreshing pint of beer or a glass of wine.
A large chalkboard hangs over the central bar and counter section, laying out the entire menu in neat handwriting. Small black-and-white photographs line the walls beside the slate-blue booths, although the televisions also keep guests' attention by playing various sports broadcasts. For the children or the young at heart, the diner features a couple of arcade games that allow patrons to pass the time in exchange for a few quarters.