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Founder Rick Sweitzer started the adventure travel company in 1983 before leading one of the first amateur dogsled expeditions to North Pole. Driven by his vision, the guides and instructors of The Northwest Passage lead travelers of all skill and fitness levels to some of the most dramatic terrain on the planet. Locally, the team leads outings around the Chicago area, ranging from stand-up paddleboarding classes on Lake Michigan to kayaking and camping trips in Door County, Wisconsin. As for the rest of the world, Northwest Passage sends it adventurers to conquer it locale by stunning locale during programs that include hiking across Europe, trekking to remote Polar regions, and dressing up like scientists to infiltrate Area 51.

800 Gillson Park Dr.
Wilmette,
IL
US

Northshore Fitness Studio's muscle mavens motivate visitors of all ages, athletic rankings, and body types during personal training sessions and a group fitness classes. Welcoming weekend warriors and weekday peacekeepers alike, trainers lead Pilates Mat sessions, indoor cardio rowing, and low-impact Body Sculpt workouts. Visitors can schedule class-times in advance or simply drop in and tone up.

562 Green Bay Road
Wilmette,
IL
US

Fuel Restaurant's kitchen staff prepares a rotating menu of gourmet fare completely on site using quality ingredients from local sources, including produce and eggs from nearby farms, bread from neighboring Heavenly Hearth Bread Company, and meat from Wisconsin. Salads freshly mixed by a house DJ greet dinner guests in three varieties, including a caprese, whose fresh mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes mingle under a drizzling of balsamic vinegar, and a slightly sweet toss of pickled fennel, apple slices, candied walnuts, and goat cheese.

1222 Washington Ct
Wilmette,
IL
US

There is a huge gap between what parents want to eat and what their kids do. Between picky eating habits and the lure of shiny plastic toys, it can seem impossible to get kids to eat out without having to scarf chicken nuggets yourself. Two Wilmette fathers grew tired of this cycle and the poor quality of food their kids were craving, so they decided to create a restaurant where they, their wives, and their kids could all get an enjoyable meal. 

The result was Gilson’s, an American bistro that uses sustainably caught and locally grown ingredients that adults value, and couches it in a friendly atmosphere complete with a children’s menu that accommodates picky eaters without plying them with processed junk food. The bistro reflects its two identities with an outdoor patio and exposed-brick dining room, with a more upscale wine bar that caters to guests wanting to sip international vintages in a more intimate space. 

For the adults, chefs specialize in seafood. They accent shrimp and ahi tuna with layers of mango salsa and wasabi mayo to create complex flavor profiles without boiling up a rubik's-cube reduction. House specialties such as the fish tacos and Wyoming bison burgers get pared down to create smaller lunch portions, alongside a selection of organic sandwiches and salads.

1126 Central Ave
Wilmette,
IL
US

The hardest part of the process at Glazed Expressions is probably picking a piece of pottery to paint. They have hundreds of ceramics available, from mugs and platters to decorative vases and trinket boxes. Once you've selected one, you can paint it however you like with a choice of glaze colors, and, for those who don't trust their freehand painting skills, stamps and stencils. Whether attending with friends, as part of an adult or kids' party, or on your own, the staff will fire your piece for you and have it ready for pickup within one week. Beyond readying pieces, the staff can also create custom ceramics, painting gifts for weddings, baby showers, or interventions for paper plate adicts per the customers' design requests.

1515 Sheridan Rd
Wilmette,
IL
US

Chuck Wagon redesigns American classics with one simple ingredient: slices of succulent gyro, straight from the spit. Chefs pile slices of it atop grilled cheese sandwiches and the eatery’s standout cheeseburger, the Niki, which The Winnetka Current lauded as “a big reason Chuck Wagon has a legendary status around the North Shore.” The chefs also cook prime ground beef burgers, the Waitress Special (grilled cheese with gyro meat on top), hot dogs, and chicken strips, which diners savor at bar stools inside the cozy eatery. Nearly every inch of wall space is filled with photographs that the owner takes himself, and a large gumball machine both adds a sweet ending to quick meals and solidifies the eatery’s antique edge.

1120 Central Ave
Wilmette,
IL
US

Wilmette Scene