Apr 17

Your Guide to the Frank Lloyd Wright Museum

There’s museums – then there are museums – and the Frank Lloyd Wright Museum is one of those places. Steeped in Wright’s exceptional talent, it’s a place that gathers some of the most amazing sights to behold from his universe. It’s so good, in fact, that we’ve decided to put together the definitive guide to the Frank Lloyd Wright Museum. And it starts right here!

It’s a beautiful day for the Chicago @cubs parade! We’re excited to #FlyTheW at #FrankLloydWright’s Home and Studio in Oak Park. #cubsparade #worldseries

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First off, you should definitely check out the guided interior tour. Here you’ll see where Wright used his first home to experiment with design concepts that ultimately led to his architectural philosophy. In fact, it was in his adjacent studio that Wright and his associates dreamed up a whole new take on American architecture that they dubbed “Prairie Style.”  This tour is about an hour but you need to purchase tickets in advance. Also; good to know that they allow still photography on these tours (but no video).

You can also opt for the Historic Neighborhood Walking Tour. Oak Park is home to the world’s biggest collection of Wright-designed buildings so you don’t have to go too far! This option takes you through the History District with a self-guided audio tour which takes in the exteriors of a huge selection of significant buildings which are supplemented by archival photographs. You also need to purchase tickets for this so head here for that info.

Another tour you should take is the Robie House guided interior tour. It’s an icon of modern architecture and here you can see what Prairie Style looks like when it comes of age. Trained interpreters are on hand to offer insights into this place that’s over a 100 years old and you can visit the children’s playroom, entry hall, living room, dining room, guest room, master bedroom, butler’s pantry and the kitchen.

A side view of the studio entrance at #FrankLloydWright's Home and Studio in #OakPark. #architecture #atthetrust

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You’ll also want to take in the guided tour of the Rookery Light Court.  Set in the heart of the financial district, this 1905 commission had Wright remodel the Rookery light court and lobbies and did so – spectacularly – by blending his vision with the ornamental ironwork already in place.

You can also combine some of these tours with the Oak Park Combination Tour that takes in the Frank Lloyd Wright Home, Studio Guided Interior Tour AND Historic Neighborhood Walking Tour. It’s a three hour mashup filled with history, culture, and art. You can get those tickets here.

There are many other tours you can take; find those here. Whichever ones you take, you can guarantee an amazing time for all as you soak in the national treasures that Wright bequeathed us all.

Apr 17

Oak Park’s Best New Restaurants

With new bars opening up all the time (and closing), you can’t be faulted for not knowing where the latest and best places are opening up. The best places to get your drink on while drinking in the great atmospheres and lovely people. We’ve been scouring Oak Park for the best new bars that have opened up in the past year and have brought them to you here in our latest blog.

Chef Jessica's famous Gnocchi with wild mushrooms, mache and marcona almonds #sofreshsoclean #gnocchi #mushrooms #thereisafungusamongus

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We began our quest for Oak Park’s best new bars at Connolly’s Irish Pub & Restaurant. A family owned place that opened just a couple years ago in the heart of downtown Oak Park, it’s a laid-back affair with TVs so you don’t miss any sport. Modern Irish music adds to the ambience and we’re happy to report that it’s not too loud either. We sampled the Shepherd’s Pie (which was amazing!), as well as the Fish & Chips (loved it!). In fact, the fish was mouth-watering and the chips nice and thick. They have a great beer selection and we were pleasantly surprised when a band took to the stage. We highly recommend Connolly’s!

Next up is the Wild Onion Brewery. They brew a variety of year-round ales and lagers and, of course, ever-changing seasonal beers. We sampled the Java Jack Stout, the Radio Free Pils, and the Misfit IPA and enjoyed all three. The menu is fairly eclectic but reflects an elevated take on traditional pub food. The restaurant sits about 132 people.

There’s also the beautifully named The Lunatic, The Lover & The Poet – a new wine bar that’s coming to 736 W. Randolph Street. We checked out the opening menu testing and it looks phenomenal! Jumbo shrimp, spaghetti & meatballs, steaks, fish, soups – wow. It’s not open yet but our faces are pressed up tightly against the window as everything we’ve seen about this place is whipping up our imaginations! They’re already training their staff so it should be opening very soon.

New bars are opening all the time and so we’ll bring up updates when we can. Until then, check out these new places, give them support, and be a part of the community!

Apr 17

The Best Steakhouses in Oak Park

Nothing says dinner than a big steak (unless you’re a vegetarian, in which case this blog isn’t for you) (but no worries, we write for all people across all spectrums so we have blogs that ARE for you!). So where are the best steakhouses in Oak Park? The best places to get your meat on? We went out and sampled the good and the bad – but we’re only bringing the best to you today.

We began our quest for a perfect steak at Hemmingway’s Bistro, a delightful French restaurant that serves up endless homemade bread that’s crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The atmosphere is both rustic and romantic and a great place to bring a date. And how’s the food? Delicious!! We sampled the escargot and mussels (clean and tender), the steak frites (topped with something like a Bernaise butter), and, of course, the main course – the steaks! We sampled the Coq au Vin, the Caussoulet Toulousain, and the New York Steak au Poivre and each was as tasty, juicy and outright as tasty as the last.

Next up is the Golden Steer Steakhouse and it’s just as amazing as Hemmingway’s. The exterior didn’t promise much so we weren’t sure as we entered what to expect but proof once again, as if you need it, never to judge a book by its cover. We sampled the expensive Filet and Lobster Tail and despite the price ($62!) it was phenomenal! We also sampled the baked clams (large, meaty and with lots of garlic), the jumbo breaded shrimp, and even the fried chicken and were impressed with everything on offer. On top of that, we found the service excellent and attentive.

Wrapping up our list of the best steakhouses in Oak Park is none other than T&JJ’s Supreme Steakhouse. (they also cater). We sampled the smothered pork chops (excellent!), the rib tips (amazing) and the catfish (unbelievable!). Their sides are right out of a southern menu with collard greens, mac & cheese, black eyed peas and corn bread. We loved every morsel!  A quick shout-out to their sub sandwiches too; really tasty and filling.

So with three of the best steakhouses in Oak Park at your fingertips, what’s keeping you? We hope to see you there!

Mar 17

Oak Park’s Best Flower Shops

Looking for a place to find gorgeous flowers, but aren’t sure of your options? Here are Oak Park flower shops you need to get familiar with.

Westgate Flower & Plant Shop
841 S Oak Park Ave, Oak Park

A favorite flower shop of many in the area, Westgate sets itself apart from others through excellent and personalized service. Clients rave about how smooth everything is – from ordering to delivery. Many recipients of the floral arrangements from Westgate have called their bouquets “breathtaking” and “outstanding”, which shows their attentiveness to detail and creative eye, even for flowers at a moderate price.

Garland Flowers
137 S Oak Park Ave, Oak Park

Garland Flowers is a family-run flower shop. It is one of Oak Park’s older institutions, having been in business for over 70 years. Their longevity in the business has made identifying just what the client needs in an arrangement seem like second nature. Returning clients love their friendly yet professional service, and families have testified to calling Garland Flowers for their own weddings, and subsequently, for their children’s weddings!

Flowers for Dreams
1812 W Hubbard, Chicago

A newer flower shop (established in 2012), Flowers for Dreams started out as a college project. It sets itself apart by having a social enterprise element to it. A percent of their proceeds are donated to charity, resulting figures of which can be found on their website. They use locally, organically grown flowers, as well as recyclable packaging. Flowers for Dreams is the “young blood” of the local flower industry, and aims to change outdated practices by offering modern arrangements at straightforward (no hidden fees!) pricing.

Moss Modern Flowers
7405 Madison St, Forest Park, IL 60130 b/t Hannah Ave & Thomas Ave

If unique flower arrangements is what you want, Moss Modern Flowers is your go-to! The roots of Moss’s aesthetic lie in the art of Wabi Sabi, or finding beauty in imperfection. Their display front may seem a little intimidating at first, but when you finally venture in, you will wish you had stepped in sooner! Owner Chris, a painter, sculptor and graduate of Kansas City Art Institute, is very hands-on, and will whip you up something eclectic and special.

Tulipia Floral Design
7617 W Lake St, River Forest, IL 60305 b/t Ashland Ave & Lathrop Ave

Modern and sophisticated flower arrangements is what sets Tulipia apart. Returning clients have raved that each arrangement they order seems to be better than the last. Also, they have this intuitive sense of what the customer is looking for. Give them the vaguest description and they will outdo the floral arrangement of your wildest dreams.

For what upcoming occasions do you have flower needs? We’d love to hear what you’re up to in the comments below!

Author: Maddy Osman, an SEO Content Strategist who has a passion for blogging. Her lifestyle blog, ChicagoCheapAss, shows young adults how to find the best deals and values in Chicago!

Mar 17

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Oak Park

So what is St. Patrick’s Day other than just an excuse to eat, drink and be very, very merry? And what is it about St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago that makes every other celebration seem tiny in comparison? We decided to find out for ourselves.

St. Patrick’s Day commemorates not just the death of Saint Patrick (no prizes for guessing that one) who was Ireland’s most celebrated patron saint but rather his life and how he paved the way for Christianity to arrive in Ireland. He died on March 17th which is when you’ll always find St. Patrick’s Day – and this year it happens to fall on Friday.

Chi-Town’s downtown parade generally happens on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day – and kicks off with the dyeing of the Chicago River at 9am. You can expect around 400,000 spectators watching with awe as the river is turned emerald green. The tradition began in 1962 but it was based on an earlier moment when then-Mayor Richard J Daley authorized dumping a green dye in the river to pinpoint where waste was being illegally trashed. In 1961, Stephen Bailey, the city’s St. Patrick’s Day chairman, saw a worker in green-drenched overalls and he had the idea of dying the entire river.

It took a lot of trial and error to figure out how much dye to put into the river; the first batch made the river green for a full week! In 1966, they switched from a pollutant (yes, they were using a pollutant!) to a vegetable-based dye. The process begins at 9:15 on the morning of the parade which takes roughly 45 minutes to complete – and then we’re looking at a green river for around five hours.

If you’d like to see it all happen for yourself, we suggest you get there pretty early to get a good view. The best views can be found along the Michigan Avenue bridge’s east side, the Columbus Drive bridge’s west side or upper or lower Wacker Drive between Michigan Ave and Columbus Drive.

The parade itself begins at 12 on Saturday, March 11th and, like the river dyeing, it’s free. It’s a big, noisy, fun-filled homage to the Irish and wends its way through Grant Park on Columbus Drive. You can always count on bagpipes, drum corps, Irish dancers and more to fill out the parade’s ranks. Local dignitaries can be found on a viewing stand outside Buckingham Fountain.

You can also participate in the Leprechaun Leap – a 5k and 8k run to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository. It goes through Lincoln Park and you’ll find plenty of runners decked out in full green. It starts at 9:30am giving you plenty of time to see the parade later.

Whatever you do, stay safe and if you’re going to drink do it reasonably. No one needs any more green on them than they already have!

Mar 17

Upcoming Events in Oak Park

March is a fun month in Oak Park, Chicago, and other surrounding suburbs. You’re past the bitter cold of winter, and are starting to see the first signs of spring. It’s enjoyable to actually leave the house! Plus, St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner.

There’s so much to do, but here’s a sampling of our favorite upcoming events in Oak Park.

Tuba Skinny
March 11, 2017, 9:00PM, doors open at 7PM
FitzGerald’s Nightclub 6615 W. Roosevelt Rd. Berwyn, IL
Tickets: $10

Originally formed in 2009, Tuba Skinny has steadily evolved from a loose collection of street musicians into a complete and solid ensemble. If you like traditional New Orleans music, you’ll appreciate their style. But that’s not all they take influence from – there are spiritual elements, Depression-era blues, ragtime, and traditional jazz elements present in Tuba Skinny’s sound.

FitzGerald’s Nightclub has something going on almost every day of the month – check out the full schedule, here.

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
March 16, 2017, 11:30AM – 2:30PM
Cheney Mansion 220 North Euclid Ave. Oak Park, IL

Active Adult Members $15, Residents $20, Non-Residents $22

This St. Patrick’s Day Celebration is aimed at the older set, perfectly suited for those 50 years of age, and older. If you opt in, you’ll receive a green beer, corned beef, and cabbage. As if that wasn’t enough, you’ll also be treated to a screening of “Darby O’Gill and the Little People,” a light, playful St. Paddy’s Day movie.

St. Patrick’s Day Festival
March 18, 2017, 1:00PM
Berwyn 6615 W. Roosevelt Rd. Berwyn, IL

Tickets: $15, $5 for 12 and under

Looking for a family-friendly St. Patrick’s Day event? Berwyn’s St. Patrick’s Day festival is just the thing. Their 36th annual festival features Irish music stylings by The Dooley Brothers, Fitz & the Celts, and Shannon Rovers. Traditional Irish fare will be served, and you can expect performances by the Mayer School Step Dancers.

Stomp and Shout
March 18, 2017, 10:30AM
Open Door Theater 902 S. Ridgeland Ave. Oak Park, IL

Tickets: $10, or $5 for children under 5

Stomp and Shout is for the young, and young at heart. Bring young children for an interactive and imaginative concert featuring both original jams and rock and roll favorites. Everyone is invited to make their own music with provided instruments!

For events throughout March for all ages, check out Open Door Theater’s complete schedule.

What’re your plans for all of the upcoming events in Oak Park? Anything we didn’t add to our list that we should have? Let us know in the comments below!

Author: Maddy Osman, an SEO Content Strategist who has a passion for blogging. Her lifestyle blog, ChicagoCheapAss, shows young adults how to find the best deals and values in Chicago!

Mar 17

Fun Easter Events in Oak Park

Easter is around the corner – but what are the best Easter events in Oak Park this year? That’s why we’re here; we’re gonna do the heavy work and find out what’s happening on your behalf. Aw shucks, you don’t have to thank us. It’s probably the best job on the planet and if it involves finding easter eggs then it’s the best job in the universe.

Now granted, most Easter Events are for kids (or the big kid in all of us) so bear on mind most of these are aimed at the little ones. If you’ve got kids, let’s start with the Egg Hunt in Maple Park on Saturday, April 8th. It’s for children aged 3-10 who are all encouraged to bring their baskets, bonnets and bunny ears! It’s rain or shine so dress appropriately. Also, be aware that despite being free – yes, free – you still need a ticket for each of the three time slots, so head to the website and grab them while you still can.

On April 8th and 9th, and then again on April 15th, you can head to the Brookfield Zoo’s Breakfast with the Bunny. With two seatings each day (9am and 11am) tickets are $29.95 for adults and $21.95 for kids (ages 3-11). On tap are the Banjo Buddies and picture-taking opportunities with Mr. and Mrs. Bunny (so glad their marriage has survived, btw; it was pretty rocky for a while there). Food includes all sorts of fruits, bagels, pastries, eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and French toast.

On Sunday April 16th, the very same Brookfield Zoo is offering an Easter Champagne Brunch (and the kids are still welcome). The food is a lot more upscale than what’s on offer at Breakfast with the Bunny but the other events – the Banjo Buddies, the Mr. & Mrs. Bunny pictures – are the same. On tap here are carving stations, omelet stations, salads, penne pasta, and even a sweet table – so you’ll need rolling home.

Finally, there’s a fun event for the doggies! Maple Park hosts a Doggie Scramble on Saturday, April 8th where the dogs will get to hunt for the most treats they can find. It’s a free on-leash event (although you do need to buy tickets earlier) and families are welcome.  It’s rain or shine so if Fido hates getting wet and it’s raining, you might want to stay home.

Feb 17

The Best Breweries in Chicagoland

Chicago is known for a number of craft breweries, but you don’t have to go downtown to sample some of Illinois’ best brews. There are so many breweries in the Chicagoland area – here are a few just a short drive away (don’t forget a designated driver)!

Kinslahger Brewing Company
6806 Roosevelt Road, Oak Park, IL 60304 b/t Grove Ave & Oak Park Ave

A welcome addition to the scene, Kinslahger is Oak Park’s first craft brewery. Opened in 2016, KBC was put up by the founding members of the Oak Park Home Brewers Club. So, if you’re passionate about beer, this place will not disappoint. They have about 6 or 7 different brews to choose from, focused on lagers and porters, and adhere to the German art of brewing. Frequent patrons recommend the Prohibition Pilsner and Baltic Porter. Note that they do not accept cash, so bring your credit card, or ask if you can pay via Apple Pay.

Exit Strategy Brewing Co
7700 Madison St., Forest Park, IL 60130 b/t Jackson Blvd & Franklin Ave

Born out of a passion for brewing, Exit Strategy is owned by a couple who quit their day jobs to put up Forest Park’s first and only brewery. Their focus is an ale portfolio that is so good, that it has won numerous awards from all over the country. Their beers are not the only thing that’s good – citizens of Chicago’s downtown have been known to make the long drive to also feast on their Epic Burger.

Lagunitas Brewing Company
2607 W 17th St. Chicago, IL 60608 b/t Washtenaw Ave & Rockwell St, Lawndale

Lagunitas offers a different kind of brewing experience. If you haven’t heard of them before, you’ll be shocked by the size of their facility upon visiting. They offer tours of the brewery every day, and unlike other brew tours (which give you a lecture of how beer is brewed), they let you explore on your own, and talk mostly about the history of the brand. Frequent customers return for the Lagunitas culture, which they describe as laidback and welcoming.

On Tour Brewing
1725 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60622 b/t Paulina St & Hermitage Ave Near West Side, West Town

Opening just 8 weeks ago, On Tour Brewing is a welcome addition to the Chicago brewing scene. Consistently good reviews note the deliciousness of their wide variety of beers and a distinct lack of obnoxious flavors. On Tour Brewing’s beers are light and come in various sizes, from 5 oz to 32 oz. You’ll love their names, which go along with the “On Tour” theme. Speaking of tours, if you go on one here, you’ll get 3 tastings and a beer pint glass.

Lavergne’s Tavern
6546 Windsor Ave, Berwyn, IL 60402

Lavergne’s Tavern is not exactly a brewery, but a restaurant that serves food with craft beer. The owners, the Hernandez brothers (who have been in the restaurant business for 15 years), grew up in Berwyn. Their passion for craft beer inspired them to stock various craft beers from local favorites. The head chef describes the menu as “accessible, but elevated.”

What’s on your brewery bucket list from this list of breweries in the Chicagoland area? Let us know in the comments below!

Author: Maddy Osman, an SEO Content Strategist who has a passion for blogging. Her lifestyle blog, ChicagoCheapAss, shows young adults how to find the best deals and values in Chicago!

Jan 17

The Best Mexican Restaurants in Oak Park | Part 2

Taco Tuesday is calling your name! Lucky for us, Oak Park has SO many delicious options for Mexican cuisine. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a sit down dinner, try one of the south of the border joints!

Boss Burrito
1110 Westgate St, Oak Park, IL 60301, USA

If you’re in a rush, and looking for a place to get a quick burritos, nachos, and quesadillas, Boss Burrito is the perfect place to go. They have friendly service, a great atmosphere, reasonable prices, huge servings and and a great selection. The place is small and gets busy during the lunch hour, so consider taking your order to go.

La Leyenda Taco
108 Madison St, Oak Park, IL 60302, USA

An affordable Mexican restaurant in Oak Park, La Leyenda Taco is the place to be when you’re hungry and on a budget. But they don’t scrimp on the taste and service! The chefs use the freshest ingredients, and the staff are friendly.

Chipotle Mexican Grill
1128 Lake St, Oak Park, IL 60301, USA

Chipotle is an already popular fast-food chain that offers Mexican dishes at a reasonable price. They also have a design-your-own burrito, tacos and bowls option. Its another budget-friendly place to consider to quickly satisfy your Mexican food cravings.

What are your favorite Mexican restaurants in Oak Park? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

Author: Maddy Osman, an SEO Content Strategist who has a passion for blogging. Her lifestyle blog, ChicagoCheapAss, shows young adults how to find the best deals and values in Chicago!

Jan 17

The Best Mexican Restaurants in Oak Park

Craving something from south of the border? No need to travel! There are plenty of delicious Mexican restaurants in Oak Park.

New Rebozo
1116 Madison St, Oak Park, IL 60302, USA

A place with a passion for food, that’s New Rebozo. The owner, Chef Paco, who is known for his 20+ mole sauces(!), personally greets every table to explain his daily specials. The most popular dish is the Fiesta Enchilada, which allows you to sample 6 enchiladas, and 6 different mole sauces.

1053 Lake St Oak Park, IL 60301

A welcome addition to the Oak Park Mexican food scene, newcomer Suburrito is quickly gaining a following for their selection of Mexican food, made with quality ingredients. Frequent patrons also cite exceptional service and cozy ambience as reasons why they keep coming back.

They close later than nearby establishments, making it the perfect place to get your late night burrito fix.

Margaritas Oak Park
804 S Oak Park Ave, Oak Park, IL 60304, USA

Serving the Oak Park community since 1988, Margaritas is everyone’s go-to for authentic Mexican food. Pair their famous frozen margaritas with some excellent enchiladas, or get your fill of Mexican food at their daily lunch buffet.

Maya Del Sol
144 S Oak Park Ave Oak Park, IL 60302

If Latin fusion cuisine is what you’re looking for, there’s no better place than Maya Del Sol. Around since 2007, they serve food originating from South & Central America, the Caribbean, Spain and Mexico, and offer plenty of dairy-, gluten- and meat-free options. Happy hour is the happiest hour at this lively joint. Have one of their “unbelievable” cocktails at the outdoor patio, and enjoy live Latin music.

What are your favorite Mexican restaurants in Oak Park? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

Author: Maddy Osman, an SEO Content Strategist who has a passion for blogging. Her lifestyle blog, ChicagoCheapAss, shows young adults how to find the best deals and values in Chicago!

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