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Best Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the North Shore

Wddde can’t let Guy Fieri have all of the fun, so we’ve taken matters into our own hands. Just thinking about this list gets our mouths watering. And don’t even think about counting calories, sometimes you just gotta say what the heck! You can always exercise tomorrow.

Herm’s Place
3406 Dempster Rd., Skokie, 847-675-3663

Herm’s Palace is a great place to watch a ball game, chat with friends, bring the team, and have a great meal. This family run business treats everyone like a member of their own family. The menu is varied but they are best known for their dogs, burgers and massive milk shakes. If you are feeling particularly indulgent, we suggest the grilled cheeseburger – yes, that is a burger sandwiched in between two grilled cheese sandwiches – insanity! Kids love playing the arcade games and adults love the really cool mural of Chicago celebs, plus the fact that they now serve beer and wine!

Wilmette Chuck Wagon
1120 Central Ave., Wilmette, 847-246-0120

If you blink you might walk right past it, but the Wilmette Chuck Wagon is worth the stop. This long-standing Wilmette staple is known for its gyro meat and especially the Niki special (thin cheeseburger topped with loads of gyro meat), as well as tasty sweet potato fries and friendly service. You may also want to consider take-out since seating is limited. Either way, after a meal from here, your heart might not thank you, but your taste buds certainly will!

Sarkis’ Café
2632 Gross Point Rd., Evanston, 847-328-9703

If you can ignore the sometimes questionable service, small space and teenage crowd, the food is well worth it. The menu consists of mostly breakfast food (served throughout the day) and the famous Loretta sandwiches (French bread topped with cheese, mayo, green peppers, tomatoes and onions filled with your choice of meat). They are also known for their delectable omelets (see Disaster Special), delicious coffee and hash browns, cheese optional. Cash only.

Little Island
2600 Crawford Ave., Evanston, 847-866-7670

While many locals may refer to it as a hot dog stand, Little Island offers a lot more than just tasty red hots. Many rave about the burgers and there is no doubt that the cheese fries (fresh cut fries with the skin on and Merkts cheese) are the best around. Parking can be tricky since this hot dog “stand” is practically located in the middle of an intersection. It is a one man show and seating is limited but they do offer call ahead service for pickup. Outdoor seating when weather permits.

Superdawg Drive-In
333 S. Milwaukee Ave, Wheeling, 847-459-1900

For those looking to skip the drive into the city and take a drive back in time, the Wheeling outpost of the infamous Original Superdawg is one of the last true drive-in restaurants around. This locale has more parking than its city counterpart and also has covered picnic tables overlooking a forest preserve. In addition to the retro-style vibe, the over-sized, classic Chicago Superdawgs are a true crowd pleaser. Just don’t ask for ketchup. The Superchic also gets lots of raves not to mention the crispy Superfies and Super malts and shakes.

Charlie Beinlich’s Food & Tap
290 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, 847-291-0420

Two words sum up the Charlie Beinlich’s experience, old school! Known for their shrimp cocktail, hamburgers and cheeseburgers, Charlie Beinlich’s is a no frills dive with a limited menu, and limited toppings for your burger (we’re talking cheese, onions and bacon). They keep it simple but fresh and people continue to come back for more. A North Shore classic. Closed Sunday and Monday. Cash only.

Kevin’s Place
808 N Waukegan Rd., Deerfield, 847-945-4577

Kevin’s Place is a small diner that serves up a huge menu and does not disappoint. Known more for its breakfast food, crowd favorites are the Triple Berry Crunch French Toast and KP’s potatoes. Beyond the delicious food, owner Kevin and his super friendly staff is what truly makes this place special. Kevin’s warm and engaging personality, especially his interaction with kids, keeps customers coming back for more. Open until 2 pm daily.

The Lantern
678 N Western Ave., Lake Forest, 847 367-5755

A casual, no frills tavern like atmosphere known for its free popcorn, homemade chips and a model train that travels around the ceiling. The Lantern advertises its burgers as the best in town and many would agree. Customers also love the cheese curds and fantastic beer specials.

Meier’s Tavern
235 E Lake Avenue, Glenview, 847-724-0477

Meier’s has been serving up burgers and other comfort bar food on the North Shore since the 1930s. Locals love it for its nostalgic vibe as much of the décor has stayed the same. It’s the perfect place to sit back and relax with a burger and beer (don’t expect any craft beers or glass plates – everything is served on Styrofoam). Good simple food, at great prices and tator tots that can’t be missed. Cash only.

If we omitted one of your favorites, or there is a certain topic you would like to see covered, please leave us a comment! Additionally, we are happy to point out any of these locations as part of our Tour of the Shore, a must do for anyone considering a move to the North Shore. It’s a stress free way to familiarize yourself with the communities, schools, house values and amenities in the area. Call us at 847.881.6657 to find out more.

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Best Brunch on the North Shore

boston-best-brunchIf there is one thing that people on the North Shore take seriously, it’s brunch! And who can argue? What’s better than spending a leisurely morning/early afternoon feasting on all of the sweet and savory treats that a serious brunch has to offer. And if you are really lucky you might even score a mimosa or two.

For the purposes of this list, we are going to skip the traditional pancake/breakfast type places that serve “brunch” on a daily basis. That’s a whole other list for another day! This list is focused solely on those restaurants where brunch is more of a special event, served only on the weekends to hungry folks looking for an indulgent meal to last them the whole day – well at least until dinner. And don’t forget, Easter is just around the corner. It’s never too early to make your Easter brunch reservations.

Prairie Grass
601 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, 847-205-4433

The brunch at Prairie Grass is a North Shore favorite. With its extensive a la carte menu offering up tasty benedicts, fluffy omelets, gourmet pancakes and savory prairie grass favorites, it’s hard to choose just one thing. They also have a great kids menu. Brunch served: Sat: 10 am -2 pm; Sun: 9:30 am – 2 pm.

Pinstripes
1150 Willow Rd., Northbrook, 847-480-2323

Don’t be fooled that it’s a bowling alley. Pinstripes is an upscale venue whose bistro style restaurant stands on its own merit. And their Sunday brunch takes it to a whole other level. Served every Sunday from 10 am – 2 pm, the buffet style brunch offers made-to-order omelets, prime rib, fresh seafood, waffles, mimosas and bloody marys (extra fee), delectable desserts including a chocolate fountain and a whole lot more. Adults $20, kids 6-12 $12, 5 & under free! It’s quite a deal. Additional fee for Easter brunch which includes and egg hunt (9 am) and an appearance by the Easter Bunny.

Jolanes Restaurant & Bar
1100 Milwaukee Ave., Glenview, 847-375-6986

With its unique location in the ABT Design Center, Jolane’s offers patrons a casual yet contemporary dining experience with a bit if European flair. And their a la carte brunch does not disappoint. Offering tempting sweet choices such as Nutella crepes and brioche French toast served with real maple syrup, diners can also dabble in savory selections – we’ve heard the wagyu burgers are a must, not to mention their quiche of the day. Patrons love the enclosed sun room and their coffee also gets raves. Brunch served Sat & Sun: 11 am – 3 pm.

Guildhall
694 Vernon Ave., Glencoe, 847-835-8100

Everything at Guildhall has a quality of perfection, and the same can be said for their brunch. The a la carte menu features staples such as bagels and lox, lemon and ricotta hotcakes, and eggs benedict Guildhall style to the more innovative chorizo and hominy hash and smoked trout lyonnaise salad. In addition their menu of handcrafted cocktails and signature sodas is not to be missed. Brunch served Sunday: 10 am – 2pm.

Peckish Pig
623, Howard St., Evanston, 847-491-6778

This relatively new gastropub hits all the right spots. From its fun and lively atmosphere, to its cool and inviting décor, to the great service and we haven’t even mentioned the food. The a la carte brunch menu has a little something for everyone, but they had us at “Warm Bag Of House Made Donuts.” The food is fresh, tasty and reasonably priced and they usually have some great brunch specials not on the regular menu. Brunch served Sat & Sun: 11 am – 3:30 pm.

Happ Inn
305 Happ Rd., Northfield, 847-784-9200

The Happ Inn is an upscale family restaurant that always delivers. Although the brunch menu itself is somewhat limited, patrons are welcome to order off the main menu as well. Nothing here is too over-the-top, yet the atmosphere offers a bit more sophistication than your typical family style joint. Brunch served Sat & Sun 11 am – 3pm.

Saranellos
601 N Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling, 847-777-6878

Probably one of the best kept secrets on the North Shore is Saranello’s Champagne Sunday brunch. Known as an Italian restaurant, its brunch offering is sometimes overlooked, but for those in the know, it’s quite a delicious feast. For $29.95 (children under 12 half price), the buffet brunch features a chafing station, carving station, build your own waffle bar, eggs & omelet station, cold fish table, sweets table, salad, fresh fruit and more. Price includes 2 glasses of champagne or mimosas or selections of specialty coffee drinks and juices. (Bloody Mary bar, extra). Brunch served Sunday 10 am – 2 pm.

Deer Path Inn
255 Easy Illinois Rd., Lake Forest, 847-234-2280

Although on the pricier side, the Champagne Brunch buffet at the Deer Path Inn is a true bruncher’s dream. They have everything from bagels and eggs and meats to sushi and shrimp. The quality is top notch and if you come during the warmer months you can burn off some of your meal by strolling through the beautiful grounds and gardens. Unfortunately, if this sounds tempting, you will have to wait a bit to partake as the main dining area and hotel are closed for renovations until further notice.

Looking for something new? Jumping on the brunch bandwagon are some new to the North Shore restaurants who have recently added or are about to add brunch to their menu offering. May be worth the try:

House 406: 1143 ½ Church St., Northbrook, 847-714-0200
A la carte menu featuring Cocoa Krispy Crusted French toast, quinoa salad and other sweet and savory treats.

Taste on Chestnut: 505 Chestnut St., Winnetka, 847-441-0134
Offering buffet and a la carte menus. Sunday: 10 am – 2 pm.

Ten Mile House: 1700 Central St., Evanston, 847-905-0669
A broad a la carte brunch menu featuring salads, wood fired breakfast pizzas and lots of other mouth-watering breakfast and lunch entrees. Please inquire when full brunch menu will be rolled out.

If we omitted one of your favorites, or there is a certain topic you would like to see covered, please leave us a comment! Additionally, we are happy to point out any of these locations as part of our Tour of the Shore, a must do for anyone considering a move to the North Shore. It’s a stress free way to familiarize yourself with the communities, schools, house values and amenities in the area. Call us at 847.881.6657 to find out more.

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Best Book Stores on the North Shore

chair-and-fire-for-guardian-piece-590x394With no dramatic warm up in sight, it’s the perfect time to curl up by the fire and get lost in a great book. No matter what genre suits your fancy, the North Shore still has many wonderful independent book stores (thankfully), where knowledgeable staff members are on hand to help you find the perfect book for a cold winter day.

The Book Bin
1151 Church St., Northbrook, 847-498-4999

This small independent book store has been serving its loyal patrons since 1971. Known for its friendly and helpful staff, if they don’t have a book you are looking for they will happily special order it for you. Their children’s selection is ample and includes small games and toys. In addition, the store conducts a monthly adult book discussion group and has a rental library section where you can rent books by the day instead of purchasing. Closed on Sundays.

The Book Stall
811 Elm St., Winnetka, 847-446-8880

The Book Stall offers a fabulous, well-organized selection of books with a staff that really knows their stuff! Staff members tend to specialize in a specific genre so their recommendations are always spot on and patrons love the staff’s handwritten blurbs about their favorite picks so you can peruse at your own discretion as well. The store is always bringing in fabulous authors for meet and greets and other special events. The store also host several discussion groups and features a Children’s and Adult Book Club. For unparalleled service and a great community feel, the Book Stall is must!

Lake Forest Book Store
680 N. Western Ave., Lake Forest, 847-234-4420

Since 1949, this quaint, independent book store has been a town favorite. Despite its small size, it boasts a large selection of books that serves the needs of the town and surrounding communities. Known for its knowledgeable staff and exceptional customer service, the store has perfected the art of recommending books based on customers’ interests. And, should there be a book you’d like that they don’t carry, they are happy to track it down and place a special order for you. They also host several author and book events at the store and throughout the community, as well as a monthly book club.

Half Price Books
151 Skokie Valley Rd., Highland Park, 847-831-2820

Even though it’s part of a chain, this store feels like and independent book shop. Although you may not get a great return if you are looking to sell your books here, chances are you’ll score a great deal on any book you purchase – especially in their clearance section where books are marked down to $1-$2. In addition to recycled books, the store sells recycled video games, music, movies, comic books, board games. They also sell specially-priced new releases and hot bestsellers that are usually 10-20% cheaper than you’d find at big box stores.

Books on Vernon
664 Vernon Ave., Glencoe, 847-835-5180

A great neighborhood spot with a great selection of gifts and books for adults and children alike. Books on Vernon offers a relaxed atmosphere where customers, no matter what age, are welcome to stay and explore the shelves. In the back of the store is a small 50-seat theater that the Writer’s Theatre uses to stage shows.

Barbara’s Book Market
2651 Navy Blvd., Glenview, 847-904-7304

Barbara’s Book Market in the Glen Town Center is a good old-fashioned bookstore with plenty of space to relax, peruse and linger. Their event space enables them to host a variety of happenings including author appearances, book signings, open mic nights, holiday events, book clubs, corporate meetings, gallery shows, and free children’s story time that takes place every Tuesday at 4:00pm and every Thursday at 10:30am. They also sell children’s puzzles, activity sets, toys, games and educational materials and have a great selection of heavily discounted books.

Book Den
1043 Chicago Ave., Ste B, Evanston, 847-864-4449 1-6, closed Tuesday and Sunday Monday 2-6

The Book Den is a used book store that may be small in size but makes up for it by its breadth in selection and variety of books. The stocked shelves are filled with everything from favorite beach reads to German lit, to feminist poetry and everything in between; you can literally browse for hours. The pricing can’t be beat and they often have additional sales so inquire within. Hours are somewhat limited: Monday: 2-6, Wed – Sat: 1 -6. Closed Tuesdays and Sundays.

Squeezebox Books & Music
1235 Chicago Ave, Evanston, 847-943-9309

Squeezebox is a unique, boutique style, thematically used book and music store run by an equally interesting owner, Tim. You will be seduced by the selection each visit and will want to return often as you never know what gem will show up. Supporting all genres and eras, including children’s, in a well-organized but small setting, it is truly a treasure trove of vinyl and books in fabulous condition. Hours: Mon – Wed: 12 – 6, Thur – Sat: 12 -7. Open some Sundays.

Bookends & Beginnings
1712 Sherman Ave, Alley 1, Evanston, 224-999-7722

Bookends & Beginnings opened in June 2014 in the space formerly occupied by the legendary Bookman’s Alley. They offer new, used, and bargain books; unique gift items and jewelry; literary events; and lots of local color. They literally have something for everyone but have quickly become known for their extensive cookbook section as well as their inviting children’s section which includes books written in other languages.

If we omitted one of your favorites, or there is a certain topic you would like to see covered, please leave us a comment! Additionally, we are happy to point out any of these locations as part of our Tour of the Shore, a must do for anyone considering a move to the North Shore. It’s a stress free way to familiarize yourself with the communities, schools, house values and amenities in the area. Call us at 847.881.6657 to find out more.

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Best Jewelry Stores on the North Shore

colorful jewelry

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we know many of you may be scrambling for some last minute gifts to show that special someone how much you care. To help you out, we’ve created this list of some of the Best Jewelry stores on the North Shore. However, just because we think its tops, doesn’t mean it will break your bank. Yes, some of the stores below feature fine and exquisite pieces that may require some creative financing, but we’ve also included some more eclectic shops that offer fun and unique pieces at budget-friendly prices. So whatever your price point, we’ve got you covered! But whatever you decide, don’t forget the chocolates!

She Beads
821 Ridge Road, Wilmette, 847-920-1923

One of a kind, hand-rolled clay beaded jewelry made right on the store premises. Each bead is a true work of art and is guaranteed not to beak, discolor, chip or fade, plus they’re waterproof! From the ever popular designs featuring Blackhawk beads to Valentine-inspired heart shaped beads, they have something to compliment every style and personality. Mens’ and charity styles available too.

Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio
623 Grove St., Evanston, 847-869-7920

Named as one of America’s coolest store by In-Store Magazine, the gallery itself is a destination all on its own. Special care was put in the design of the gallery as it was meant to evoke a feeling of past civilizations and remind visitors of the natural origins of the gems and minerals used to create the jewelry. It does not disappoint. But beyond the beauty of the store, are the jewels themselves. Each piece is designed by award-winning international artist Eve J. Alfillé and is hand-crafted on location by a talented team of goldsmiths and artisans. From rare, exotic pearls to unusual gemstones to precious metals and fine diamonds, this extensive collection of jewelry is impressive.

seejanesparkle
817 Chicago Ave., Evanston, 847-859-6017

seejanesparkle is the destination for both artists and customers to ”find their own sparkle” and embrace their inner starlet. From a small age, owner Sara Jane Abbott had a passion for style and loved creating new treasures out of pieces found at local thrift stores. Her own signature style describes as “Chanel/20’s aesthetic with modern pop feel” can be seen in the signature pieces that she continues to design at the store. The boutique is also known as a launching pad many established and developing local artists and designers, and features truly unique jewelry and women’s accessories you won’t find anywhere else. Private parties available.
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Best Romantic Restaurants on the North Shore

cellar gateIf you haven’t made your Valentine’s Day plans yet, we hope this list inspires you. With the big day following on a Saturday this year, chances are, places are getting booked up so don’t procrastinate! And if you’d prefer to skip the Valentine’s Day rush, save this list for when you want to enjoy a special dining experience any day of the year.

Restaurant Michael
64 Green Bay Road, Winnetka, 847-441-3100

Chef Michael Lachowicz presents his version of unpretentious fine French food in a casually elegant setting. A North Shore classic.

Guildhall
694 Vernon Ave., Glencoe, 847-835-8100

A stylish American Bistro with European influences. The restaurant features a warm and comfortable environment to enjoy heartfelt cuisine, craft beers and cocktails with an eclectic wine list.

Quince
1625 Hinman Ave., Evanston, 847-570-8400

Quince serves contemporary American cuisine in an intimate, yet friendly setting near downtown Evanston. Their wine list boasts more than 100 unique options chosen carefully to enhance Chef Andy Motto’s deliciously refined and globally-inspired cuisine.

Campagnola
815 Chicago Ave., Evanston, 847-475-6100

A true neighborhood gem, Chef Vince DiBattista and his team are committed to using the best in seasonal ingredients, preparing them with care, and presenting dishes in a simple, straightforward style in a cozy and relaxing atmosphere.

PM Prime
310 Green Bay Road, Highwood, 847-433-0600

A pricey, yet exemplary steakhouse in a more relaxed and intimate setting than you’d expect. With culinary direction steered by a James Beard Award-nominated chef, PM Prime is committed to innovation, depth of flavor, and contemporary presentation with the finest and freshest ingredients. Just may be worth the splurge.

Francesco’s Hole in the Wall
254 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, 847-272-0155

Enjoy 30 years of tradition in this charming authentic Italian restaurant. The 20+ entrees are written in marker on a wallboard each day to reflect the fresh ingredients that are delivered each morning. Please note, it is a small restaurant and they do not take reservations.

Abigail’s American Bistro
493 Roger Williams Ave., Highland Park, 847-780-4862

An upscale yet unpretentious neighborhood restaurant with a knowledgeable wait staff and a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere that offers a regional menu with honest and simple preparation. This place is perpetually busy so expect a wait time if dining after 6 pm when reservations are no longer accepted.

Cellar Gate
524 Sheridan Road, Highwood, 847-748-8086

Cellar Gate is a unique restaurant, wine bar, and wine shop rolled into one. Boasting cozy and eclectic European/farmhouse décor, you won’t find another place like it. They offer a fantastic wine selection and a lovely menu of small plates and tapas designed to be paired with their wines.

Flight Wine Bar
1820 Tower Road, Glenview, 847-729-9463

As to be expected, Flight offers an extensive wine list featuring 35 wines by the glass from every corner of the globe, a fully stocked bar, and an award-winning menu best described as “American Contemporary” comfort food featuring a wide range of small bites and sharable plates and a varied selection of “Mains.”

If we omitted one of your favorites, or there is a certain topic you would like to see covered, please leave us a comment! Additionally, we are happy to point out any of these locations as part of our Tour of the Shore, a must do for anyone considering a move to the North Shore. It’s a stress free way to familiarize yourself with the communities, schools, house values and amenities in the area. Call us at 847.881.6657 to find out more.

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Best Gourmet/Specialty Food Markets on the North Shore

gourmet food 2

Still putting your holiday menus together? Whether you need full on inspiration, assistance with some finishing touches or just want to stock your fridge, the North Shore has some great specialty food spots that just might make your holiday a whole lot merrier!

Poeta’s Italian Food Market
520 Green Bay Road, Highwood, 847-432-3037

A true neighborhood gem. They are known for their fine meats, Italian specialties, homemade pastas, fresh bread and their famous Homemade Italian Sausage and Beef. Their deboned marinated chicken also gets big raves and if you are running short on time, they have a great selection of prepared frozen meals and pizza dough that are mother-in-law full proof.

Zier’s Prime Meat & Poultry
813 Ridge Road, Wilmette, 847-251-4000

Zier’s Prime Meats is an “old-fashioned family butcher shop in a modern time” specializing in the finest Midwestern raised prime beef, fresh poultry, naturally raised pork, veal, and lamb. They have their own smokehouse onsite and offer many varieties of homemade smoked sausages and meats; even smoked salmon. They also offer an extensive line of wild game and American Wagyu KOBE beef; as well as unusual and hard to find gourmet sauces, soups, and spices.

Artisanal
414 Linden Ave., Wilmette, 847-512-3155

Artisanal is another modern-day version of a family-owned neighborhood grocery, offering a wide array of locally sourced, organic and specialty foods. From high quality meats and charcuterie, to fresh cheese, dairy and produce to a tempting selection of grocery items including jams, condiments and cereals; they’ve got it all. And, we didn’t even mention their in-house sushi chef and “The Happy Room” (fun and exciting libations)!

Harrison’s Poultry Farm
1201 Waukegan Rd., Glenview, 847-724-0139

This poultry farm has been proudly serving the finest all-natural poultry to the people and restaurants of Chicago’s North Shore since 1893. In addition to a full range of fresh poultry (chicken, turkey, duck, goose, quail, hen, chicken sausage etc.), the store is filled with great products from local honey and all natural eggs, to an excellent selection of sauces and spices as well as pre-made poultry dishes and sides.

Reagan Meats
1855 Waukegan Rd., Glenview, 847-724-0243

Reagan Meats serves up some of the finest prime and organic meats and produce on the North Shore of Chicago. They process all of their own beef, pork, lamb, veal, and chicken and welcome special requests. They’ll even special order sausages made according to your own family recipes. In addition, they sell a variety of marinades and homemade frozen entrees for when you are in a pinch!

Corner Cooks
507 Chestnut St., Winnetka, 847-441-0134

While there may be some changes going on at the restaurant, Corner Cooks is still providing a wonderful Holiday-to-Go menu that can fulfill all of your holiday needs. Featuring a wide variety of appetizers, soup, salads, entrees, sides and of course, dessert, there is something for everyone on the menu. Please note: orders must be placed by Dec. 19 and picked up on Dec. 24 from 11-1:30.

Foodstuffs
2106 Central Street, Evanston, 847-328-7704
338 Park Avenue, Glencoe, 847-835-5101
1456 Waukegan Road, Glenview, 847-832-9999
225 E. Westminster Avenue, Lake Forest, 847-234-6600

With four locations throughout the North Shore, Foodstuffs has been providing quality gourmet food to Chicagoland shoppers for more than 30 years. Modeled after the European Market concept , they offer a full menu of items including homemade appetizers, soups, entrees, salads, sauces, breads and pastries as well as pates and cheeses, fresh seafood, quality meats, build your own salads and sandwiches and unique shelf products. Visit their website for special holiday menus and ordering deadlines.

If we omitted one of your favorites, or there is a certain topic you would like to see covered, please leave us a comment! Additionally, we are happy to point out any of these locations as part of our Tour of the Shore, a must do for anyone considering a move to the North Shore. It’s a stress free way to familiarize yourself with the communities, schools, house values and amenities in the area. Call us at 847.881.6657 to find out more.

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Best Gift and Home Accents Store on the North Shore

best gift shop

So you’ve checked off all of your family members, but what about hostess gifts, teacher gifts, a gift for your dog walker, etc. Tired of the old gift card route? Well, lucky for you, the North Shore has a plethora of gift and home accent shops filled with unique items for everyone on your list, including yourself! And if your holiday décor could use a little freshening up too, then chances are you’ll be able to pick something fabulous along the way! Happy Shopping!

Ellen’s on Elm
841 Elm Street, Winnetka, 847-441-5240

More than just a gift shop, Ellen’s on Elm, thoughtfully selects unique gifts, many made by local artists, to line their shelves for all seasons of life. From jewelry and accessories to engraved and monogrammed items, the helpful and friendly staff is always ready to help you find the perfect gift.

Artisan Shop & Gallery
Plaza del Lago, 1515 Sheridan Road, Wilmette, 847-251-3775

If you are looking for interesting, eclectic and beautiful gifts, then look no further. This store is filled with unique and sophisticated handcrafted items by more than 350 American artists, including artisan jewelry, pottery, hand blown glass, wooden jewelry boxes and games, kitchen items, scarves, jackets, baby gifts and more.

Stumble & Relish
1310 A Chicago, Ave, Evanston, 773-330-3488

Owned by a mother/daughter duo, this adorable, little boutique has been described as a live Etsy store. Clients love the creative displays, the affordable prices, their adorable gift wrapping and the passion and knowledge that the owners have about each item and every item in the store. Jewelry, pottery, air plants, soaps, purses, journals, illustrated artwork, small wood curios, and so much more for you to discover and enjoy.

Green leaf Gallery
1760 Sunset Lane, Bannockburn, 847-948-7689

Located in a charming cottage in the woods, Greenleaf Gallery features a wonderful selection of fine art, folk art, handcrafted goods and gifts, accessories for women and men, jewelry, whimsical garden art, stationery and cards, tabletop and baby gifts. The gallery supports more than 100 American artists, including many local Chicagoans in addition to talented people across the country.

Black Sheep General Store
346 Park Ave., Glencoe, 847-242-0130

This quaint, new storefront in Glencoe already has customers raving. It is stocked with a little something for everyone including candy, housewares, spa items, baby gifts, books, clocks, pillows, flasks, specialty t-shirts, candles and more, all with a focus on local, handmade, small batch merchandise.

Kenzy Gifts & Décor
1849 Green Bay Rd., Ste 109, Highland Park, 847-780-4177

Kenzy Gifts & Décor carries exceptional gifts, dinnerware and decorative home accents in every price range. Created from a need to find items for her home that were unique and different, the boutique features designs by owner, Yasmin Mekki, as well those by various other designers.

Style Shack
1839 Second Street, Highland Park, 847-579-4525

Style Shack is a magical place where commerce and culture intersect. The unique collection of giftware is only part of what the Style Shack experience has to offer. From unique jewelry and handbags to one-of-a-kind home accessories and hostess gifts, their collection will entice the most discriminating shoppers, not to mention their outstanding complimentary gift wrapping!

Pierce Interiors
1264 Northbrook Court, Northbrook, 847-291-0300

Don’t let its Northbrook Court location fool you. Established in 1969, Pierce Interiors is a family-owned and operated fine gift and home accent store. Here you’ll find an extraordinary selection of fine crystal, porcelain, metal work, service ware, curio cabinets and other beautiful home decor, including Michael Aram, Swarovski, Lladro, Waterford, Julia Knight, and Lalique. They offer complimentary gift wrapping, price matching, shipping services and free layaway.

If we omitted one of your favorites, or there is a certain topic you would like to see covered, please leave us a comment! Additionally, we are happy to point out any of these locations as part of our Tour of the Shore, a must do for anyone considering a move to the North Shore. It’s a stress free way to familiarize yourself with the communities, schools, house values and amenities in the area. Call us at 847.881.6657 to find out more.

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Best Family-Friendly Restaurants on the North Shore

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Tired of cooking? Tired of leftovers? But still have family in town? Then it’s time to take the show on the road. Dining out with kids has its unique set of challenges, so we offer you this list where the kids will be welcomed but your taste buds will not have to suffer.

The Happ Inn
305 Happ Road, Northfield, 847-784-9200

The Happ Inn has become a neighborhood staple known for its inviting and dynamic atmosphere, fresh quality food, specialty craft beers and diverse wine list. This award winning restaurant is the perfect place to meet friends and family for a casual dinner or to grab a cold beer and quick bite while watching the game on a flat screen TV in the bar.

The Silo
625 Rockland Road, Lake Bluff, 847-234-6660
The Silo has been a landmark on the North Shore for over 43 years, serving famous pan pizza. In addition, award winning chili, appetizers, salads, sandwiches, hamburgers, dinner entrees, and a full service bar compliment the menu. Gluten free options now available plus they have a magician on Sunday evenings from 5 – 8 pm.

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Best Toy Stores on the North Shore

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As the holiday shopping season kicks into full gear, do you find yourself in state of panic about what to buy for the kids in your life? Don’t fret! The North Shore has many unique, independent toy stores that can help you find the perfect gift for children of all ages. If you’d rather skip the big box store madness, then this list is for you!

 

Beanstalk
654 Central Ave, Highland Park, 847-432-8300

Beanstalk has all the toys, games, crafts, and books loved by newborns through 8 years. The also carry a great selection of baby essentials including strollers, bassinets, car seats and bath care. Known for the customer service and free gift wrap, customers delight in the store’s unique offerings and magical ambiance.

Village Toy Shop
807 Elm St., Winnetka, 847-446-7990

Owned by a mother/daughter duo, the Village Toy Shop is a beloved treasure in Winnetka. They provide exceptional customer service, awesome gift wrapping that includes fun little treats and are always loaded with great suggestions. Choose from a wide variety of board games, science kits, crafts, magic kits, books and more.

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Best Pies on the North Shore

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When it comes to pies, we strongly believe you really can’t go wrong! But since it ‘tis pie season, we wanted to recognize some local favorites that truly stand above the rest. And if you are thinking about picking one up for Thanksgiving, place your order ASAP, as some places are already booked up! Now who’s ready for a slice?

Hoosier Mama Pie Company
749 N. Chicago Ave., Evanston, 847-868-8863

This Evanston outpost is a joint endeavor of the Hoosier Mama Pie Co. in Chicago & The Dollop Coffee and Tea Co. The storefront boasts a large sunny rom to enjoy a slice and some coffee while watching the bakers and baristas ply their trade. Everything is made in house. There is always a tempting and varied selection of sweet pies to choose from and they also offer pie flights – 3 half slices of pie from their daily flight menu for under $8! Breakfast pastries, savory pie plates, sandwiches, and salads available too.

Sweety Pies
8042 Lincoln Avenue, Skokie, 847-213-0900

Sweety Pies is a family run business whose founders gave up their day jobs to follow their passion. Since opening in 2007, this bakery, cakery and café has become a Skokie landmark. When it comes to their pies, most of the recipes have been handed down from family and are baked by mama, Arden Kruger. The pie menu always features three staples: Apple Pie Crisp, Chocolate Cashmere and Crocodile Pie (their version of pecan pie with semi-sweet chocolate and a touch of rum in a buttery pastry crust). However, they are happy to accommodate special requests so just give them a call and enjoy!

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