Without grocery stores, urbanites would have to farm all their own pumpkins in window boxes and spend hours cajoling the family parakeet until it agreed to be milked. Avoid awkward urban harvests with today's Groupon: for $12, you get $25 worth of groceries at Lemon Tree Grocer in Downers Grove.
Lemon Tree Grocer fosters a foodie community by staffing its storefront with friendly specialists in cheese, meat, and produce. It offers edibles from high-end brands including Oberweis, Milk & Honey, Boar's Head, and Intelligentsia. Lemon Tree also brings focus to Chicago-area companies, helping small businesses grow until they can take the training wheels off their billboards. Nice Cream, a brand of ice cream made with organic ingredients and dairy from local farms, fills pints ($9.99 each) with flavors such as strawberry cupcake, chocolate basil, and blueberry pie. Milk & Honey granola ($6.99) jump-starts the day without the aid of unwieldy moon shoes and comes in flavors including cinnamon raisin, chocolate banana, and blueberry pecan. Lemon Tree’s Ultimate Burgers ($6.99/lb), local cheeses and LocalFolks Foods salsa ($4.99) satisfy housefuls of hungry partiers, and GrownUp KidStuff chocolate sauce ($9.99) lets kids paint on maturity in the form of a tasty mustache.
Lemon Tree Grocer
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, 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 Café 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.