Renowned chef Tim Canning and co-owner Shaun Black lead a team of skilled butchers, cheesemongers and culinary specialists at their Downer?s Grove grocery store Lemon Tree Grocer Direct Organics, which specializes in natural and organic foods. The cheerful food purveyors greet shoppers with smiles, calling locals by name and newcomers by spirit animal and making recommendations on the best wines, cheeses, and produce. In addition to traditional grocery items, the modern store stocks vegan, gluten-free, and kosher products, as well as responsibly raised and sustainable fish and meat selections from growers such as Niman Ranch.
Driven by the idea that good food pairs best with good conversation, Zest Caf? features a communal table for dining and socializing, as well as private tables for sipping wine and whispering nutrition facts. The lunch and dinner menus are casual but gourmet, replete with rich ingredients such as Maine lobster and croissants. Special events such as live music, wine tastings, and occasional synchronized grocery-cart frolics make the shopping experience unique and spirited.
Candy Bear Lane's 120-year-old building houses hundreds of varieties of sweet-teeth-cosseting confections. Specialty 8” Candy Bears— plush teddy sentinels stuffed with 30 pieces of saccharine goodness such as Tootsie Rolls, Jolly Ranchers, and crystallized pieces of Shirley Temple's laughter ($12.95)— guard sweet treasures and come with a bag of stuffing that can be used to repack droopy ursine companions after their sugary fillings have been devoured. Line a shelf with bags, boxes, or bars of candy ($1.00—$1.50 each), slow down chewing speed with saltwater taffy ($0.10 each), or acquire a Technicolor tongue with 21 colors of M&Ms ($9.99/lb.), which pour out of a towering multitube dispenser.
The Gomez family members first chose to share their family-style Mexican cooking with the Chicagoland area in 1992, founding Los Arcos Mexican Grill. Currently, the family's restaurant empire includes four locations, each of which shares a similar dedication to Mexican and Tex-Mex comfort foods. The chefs make all of the tamales and soups in-house, rounding out the selection with a traditional assortment of tacos, burritos, tortas, fajitas, tostadas, chimichangas, and more. However, they also demonstrate their willingness to create inventive new dishes. This is readily apparent in the menu's signature item: the hollowed out half of a grilled pineapple filled with pineapple pieces, onion, red peppers, jalape?os, and either shrimp and octopus or chicken and skirt steak.
Before they were moms with six children between them, Simply Homemade owners Cindy and Stephanie were food-industry professionals, studying nutrition and food-product development. Now, they've combined both experiences to create a company that supplies healthy, handcrafted meals to busy families. Working off of a monthly menu of 22 entrees, the duo whips up mouthwatering pastas, burgers, and kebabs chock-full of whole grains, hand-trimmed chicken, and natural beef from Heartland Meats. Then, they either preassemble meals for customers to pick up or set up ingredients for customers to assemble themselves onsite. The latter option, which takes about two hours, makes it easier for customers to tailor dinners to a child's love of mushrooms or a dog's disdain for cilantro.
Zeppe's Italian Market is modeled after the diverse, gourmet-focused markets found in Italy. Dedicated to bestowing customers with the freshest ingredients they can find, Zeppe's staff painstakingly prepare handmade take and bake meals, cannoli, and slice deli meats and cheeses at the moment they're ordered to keep them as flavorful as possible. The market also sells five homemade sauces that star a bevy of flavors, including the portobello mushrooms and bell peppers of the garden sauce and the creamy tomato notes and strident requests for a martini olive radiating from the vodka sauce. Zeppe's team of culinary masters also features freshly baked goods from Palermo Bakery and specialty grocery items imported from across the pond.
Whole Foods Market's commitment to the interdependent network of sustainable farms and organic producers can be seen in its carefully selected product lines. The homegrown 365 Everyday Value brand makes it easy to eat naturally, organically, and economically. It features an array of items from all product categories, including groceries, vitamins, household items, and more—each manufactured to meet the rigorous quality standards woven into the fabric of Whole Foods Market, which itself is made from 100% alpaca wool.