Thirty years of practice has given the chefs at Irish Rose Saloon a refined sensibility, which they use to craft accessible pub food that pairs flawlessly with the bar's selection of craft beer on tap. The chefs travel to Chicago markets each week to find the freshest seafood, meats, and produce. Once they've dreamed up inventive daily specials, the options are displayed on a chalkboard menu that hangs on the restaurant's exposed brick wall, featuring entrees like duck meatloaf, jamaican pork, and sustainable fish such as Lake Superior whitefish and shrimp that always bring fabric bags to the grocery store.
These specials join the regular favorites on the lunch and dinner menus, including housemade veggie burgers, linguine with housemade italian sausage, and chicken breast baked in a wood oven. Patrons can team their selections with dozens of draft beers, such as regular and seasonal suds from New Holland and Flying Dog breweries.
Handmade Amish blankets and local delicacies call to Tammy Herrara. On a trip to Wisconsin, she visited an Amish market and fell in love with the concept of selling natural goods in bulk to help keep community members healthy. With help from friends, she soon discovered a perfect location in her hometown to sell a slowly expanding inventory of gluten-free and homemade foods. Today, her market sells everything from Michigan blueberries and freshly ground peanut butter to Mystic Monk coffee—the proceeds of which go toward rebuilding the Carmelite monks’ rectory in Wyoming. Patrons can also stop in for a quick cappuccino and one of Tammy’s turtle brownies, or they can peruse handmade Amish wicker baskets from northern Wisconsin. With its wood laminate flooring, local radio tunes, and on-call phrenologist, Friend's Country Market harks back to neighborhood shops and general stores of yesteryear. A recipe board even sits on the store’s wall, inviting visitors to paste their favorite recipes for other customers to try at home.
With locations throughout the Midwest, Vision Center At Meijer's eye mavens outfit more than 700 frames with lenses carefully crafted in their own laboratory to specifically suit the eyes and face of each patient. Doctors demonstrate their care for patients' eyes by making sure all of them have a precise, up-to-date prescription. The center also works to keep frame prices low to help more patients find pairs of glasses within their price ranges.
Named Best Honey in 2008 by the Dallas Observer, Round Rock Honey's 100% natural local wildflower honey is harvested from more than 90 sites by owners Konrad and Elizabeth Bouffard and their crews of trained beekeepers. With precision, they remove the liquid gold from hives by centrifuge, ensuring that pollen, trace minerals, and complex sugars are never compromised during the honey harvest. They then pour the honey through a stainless-steel sieve to remove potential bee legs and wings, wax caps, and miniature tiaras before bottling it and selling it to specialty stores, farmer's market visitors, and online customers.
A similar procedure happens in other parts of the country at Round Rock's beekeeping schools. During classes, Konrad Bouffard and Beekeeping Academy teachers impart their beekeeping knowledge upon suited-up students while they extract honey from a live beehive. Along the way, novices learn about the finer points of raising bees and keeping them healthy, as well as bee handling and lullaby-buzzing.
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.