Open-Air Eats

The value of travel goes beyond simply “getting away” for a short time—it can also be a great opportunity to discover how other people live. Any Midwesterner fortunate enough to have journeyed to Florida or the desert southwest for a brief respite from our ridiculous winter this year was treated to not only a few glorious days without a parka, but a glimpse of the enviable lifestyle option that we experience far too rarely: the outdoor meal.

By June here in northern Illinois, of course, most of the maddening sleet and biting wind of the winter (and the spring, if we’re being honest) is forgiven, and diners once again recognize the newfound warmth of the season for exactly what it is—our fleeting chance to relish that which those Floridians and desert denizens take for granted.

Lunch on the patio. Brunch in the garden. Dinner under the stars.

Truth be told, the details (the location, the company, even the meal) don’t matter nearly as much as the act itself—taking that plate from the inside to the outside and reveling in the surroundings of the natural world. In Naperville, of course, that means joining the convivial community on the crowded front patio of Jimmy’s Grill in the heart of downtown, enjoying tapas and sangria in the garden-like setting of Mesón Sabika and hitting the roof for drinks and river views at Empire.

Wherever you choose to partake, just remember: It’s alfresco season, and it won’t stick around for long. Don’t miss it.

Everybody has a favorite alfresco spot, but it never hurts to try something a little off the beaten path. Here are a few great suburban patios to ponder.

Barbakoa Tacos and Tequila
As fun and fanciful as Barbakoa’s interior is, the tacos and margaritas just seem that much more at home when they’re being enjoyed in the sunshine of a summer afternoon or the glow of the outdoor fireplace on a evening.
1341 Butterfield Road, Downers Grove

The Cube at Standard Market
Forget sample day at Costco—this is how to do wine and cheese at the grocery store, with bottles sold off the shelf, a wide array of cheese boards and shared plates and, best of all, a lovely back patio upon which to enjoy it all. Sunday bonus: 50 percent off draft beer and wines by the glass.
1508 Aurora Avenue, Naperville

With its large windows looking out onto historic Geneva, the sunroom may be the most popular of the various themed dining spaces at this American gem during most of the year, but summer crowds favor the real thing—fresh air (and live music) beneath the umbrellas on the lively patio.
317 South Third Street, Geneva

Old Town Pour House
Whereas the alfresco areas at many restaurants are often little more than a few tables randomly placed outside, the trellised and brilliantly lit patio
at Old Town Pour House seems as though it was specifically built to be the most comfortable and inviting place in the restaurant to enjoy a meal and a few beers—and on warm summer nights, that’s exactly what it is. With 90 craft beers to try, multiple visits may be required.
1703 Freedom Drive, Naperville

Redstone American Grill
With its waterfront setting, plush furnishings and multiple fire features, the patio here—with seating for 140—does pretty convincing work in making diners forget they’re actually smack dab in the middle of Oak Brook Center’s massive retail and commercial landscape.
13 Lincoln Center, Oakbrook Terrace

Books | June 2018


A Place for Us
By Fatima Farheen Mirza (SJP for Hogarth)
An Indian-American Muslim family gathers in their California hometown to celebrate their eldest daughter’s wedding—a match of love, rather than tradition. Treading a path between old and new, parents and children must learn how the smallest decisions can lead to the deepest betrayals.
The Death of Mrs. Westaway
By Ruth Ware (Gallery/Scout Press)
When a mysterious letter bequeathing a substantial inheritance arrives, Hal realizes that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but decides to claim the money anyway. Soon she finds herself at the funeral of the deceased and realizes that there is something very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.


Project Fire
By Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing)
From breakfast (bacon and egg quesadilla) to cocktails (grilled sangria), and veggies (caveman cabbage and smoke-roasted carrots) to dessert
(cedar-planked pears), Project Fire offers a radically righteous new take on live-fire cooking from the man who reinvented modern American grilling.
The Fuzzy and the Techie
By Scott Hartley (Mariner Books)
Hartley highlights the human
skills needed to find the “novel
patterns” in big data, shows how
high-tech tools such as satellites
have become much more accessible to breakthrough thinkers of all backgrounds, and offers case studies of blended businesses such as StitchFix and Talkspace.

Rooftop Retreat

Although Steve and Anne Coffman loved their downtown Naperville location, their historic home was very compartmentalized, with an odd, unfixable floor plan—so they tore it down. “We didn’t need much more space,” says Anne, “just a layout that made sense for our family. We wanted openness and a lot of natural light.”

M House Development helped the couple design a new home in 2016, and Graefenhain Designs worked with the couple on décor and furnishings once the home was built.

Rooftop Deck
The horizontal bar railing doesn’t block your line of sight off the rooftop, Graefenhain says. “It really makes one with the landscape and view.”

All of the deck furnishings came from local retailers, including The Great Escape (patio set), Pier 1 (rug) and Home Depot (urns and flowers). Potted arborvitaes provide landscaping that will stay green all year long.

Builder Scott Matthieson came up with the rooftop deck idea to give the Coffman family—five kids ages six and up—more exterior living space. “Our family loves being outdoors,” Anne says, “and it’s challenging to have yard space in downtown Naperville.”

A deck made with low-maintenance Trex Transcend features a wood-grain pattern without the upkeep of a traditional wood deck.

Dining Room
A variety of finishes, textures and accent colors were used in the dining room to create visual interest against neutral walls (Sherwin-Williams’ Serious Gray). Local craftsmen were commissioned: The live-edge table was created by Justin Olson, the linens were made by seamstress Mary Jo Defenbaugh and the oil painting was done by designer Angela Graefenhain. The piece reflects Anne’s role as mother, including different animals that represent her five children.

Living Room
Anthropologie and Interior Define chairs and a Joybird sofa create a conversation cluster anchored by a kid-friendly rug made of FLOR carpet tiles. “Our home has always been a gathering place,” Anne says, “but now it’s a gathering place we actually enjoy spending time in!”


Discover | Geneva


Fabyan Villa Museum & Japanese Garden
Colonel George and Nelle Fabyan’s 1905 villa was remodeled by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1907 and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Take a guided tour of the villa and stroll through the stunning Japanese gardens, where photo ops include an arched bridge, pagoda and waterfall. The museum and grounds are open for the season now through October 15.
1925 South Batavia Avenue 

Geneva Commons
This chic strip mall features trendy shops like Crate & Barrel, Soma, The Walking Company and Wet Nose, plus a handful of salons, such as Amazing Lash Studio, Massage Envy and Ravenna. VIP Club members receive notices of special promotions.
602 Commons Drive, 630.262.0044

Geneva History Museum
Browse the permanent exhibit “Geneva’s Story,” featured exhibit “In Other Words … A History of Communication in Geneva” and math and literacy activities for children in “Go Figure!” (June 16 to August 11). $3/person, $2/child ages 3–10, free for museum members.
113 South Third Street 630.232.4951

Herrington Inn & Spa
This riverside inn beckons for a staycation or all-day retreat. Suites have four-poster beds, fireplaces and cookies-and-milk turndown service; the spa offers facials, massages and indulgent body polishes. On-site restaurant Atwater’s serves decadent dishes, wine and cocktails.
15 South River Lane

Mill Race Cyclery
Rent a bike—choose from mountain, tandem, electric, fat tire, you name it—and take a spin down the Fox River Trail, or get on the river with a kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard.
11 East State Street

Playhouse 38 Theatre
Geneva Park District operates this stage for youth and adult theater productions. On the summer stage: a youth production of High School Musical Jr. (August 3–12).
321 Stevens Street, Suite P

Peck Farm Park
This 385-acre park features bike and walking trails, a picnic area, wetlands, an ADA-accessible amphitheater and nature-oriented educational playground.
4038 Kaneville Road

Stone Creek Mini Golf
This river-themed 18-hole miniature golf course, featuring a windmill and wishing well, is open through October 8.
101 North Street

Viking Ship
See the historic viking ship that sailed from Norway to Chicago for the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893 at Good Templar Park. The viewing area is typically open first Saturdays from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., and June 17 is the 125th Anniversary Viking Ship Festival; see website for details.
528 East Side Drive



Fare Quirky coffee drinks and savory or sweet eats in a farmhouse-chic setting

Good for A stuff-yourself-silly weekend brunch with the fam (Tip: Use the NoWait app to avoid the often-epic line.)

Must try Bacon, egg and sausage gravy-stuffed biscuit; blackberry brie French toast, cookie butter latte

7 West State Street, 630.845.0820

Penrose Brewing

Drinks Belgian-inspired brews poured in an off-the-beaten-path taproom

Good for Whiling away an afternoon

Must try Session Sour, Taproom IPA or any limited-release wild ale on draft

509 Stevens Street, 630.232.2115

Craft Urban

Fare Trendy, seasonal shareable plates served in an eye-catching, mural-covered building

Good for Splitting bar snacks and a round of craft cocktails or brews with buddies

Must try French onion dip, tempura cheese curds, brick-roasted chicken with potato dumplings

211 James Street, 331.248.8161,


Fare Breakfast and lunch dishes spanning from traditional to funky served all day, plus a coming-soon dinner menu changing quarterly

Good for A casual catch-up meal with friends or solo breakfast at the bar

Must try Red Eye Benedict with coffee-crusted steak, lemon ricotta-topped polenta with orange honey, dulce de leche waffle

22 North Third Street, 630.845.1570

Bien Trucha

Fare Fresh and funky Mexican small plates served up in two tiny buildings with a stylish courtyard patio in between

Good for A Taco Tuesday dinner any night of the week

Must try Fruit-studded guacamole, skirt steak and chorizo tacos, Flor de Jamaica hibiscus cocktail

410 West State Street


Fare Contemporary American plates in an intimate dining room

Good for A special occasion dinner

Must try Artisan cheese plate, half Amish chicken, freshly spun cotton candy (ask about the flavor du jour).

14 South Third Street

Atlas Chicken Shack

Fare Chicken—fried and served on a brioche bun, or grilled and tossed in a veggie slaw-laden bowl—with myriad tasty housemade sauces

Good for A picnic-style meal on the side alley patio

Must try Fried chicken sandwich with pickles and creamy chipotle sauce, buttermilk biscuit with honey butter, fresh fruit slushie of the day

511 South Third Street

Osteria Bigolaro

Fare Italian trattoria classics with a twist in a simple, homey space

Good for Taking over a communal table with a large, lively group

Must try Pork jowl carbonara, herb-laced panzanella, braised short rib Italian beef

317 West State Street, 630.402.0597


For families
The Little Traveler
Every room in this labyrinthine mansion is a different themed shop; the toy room, candy room and Christmas room are must-visits for kiddos.
404 South Third Street

For gifters
Browse giftable wares of all kinds, from delectable candles to tasteful baby gear to funky jewelry. The home goods—succulent holders, vases, artwork—are surprisingly affordable. P.S. Unenthusiastic shopping companions can relax at a bistro table in the cute courtyard out front while you explore.
212 South Third Street, #2

For pen pals
The Paper Merchant
Keep up on your correspondence with a plentiful assortment of cards, stationery, stickers, decor items and other sweet trinkets.
328 South Third Street, 630.232.1880

For artsy folk
This hybrid shop and gallery is a feast for the senses, showcasing earthy jewelry, carefree clothing, funky furniture and objets d’art. Adjoining beauty boutique Odalisque stocks natural cosmetics, including Glo Skin Beauty and Illuminaré.
101 South Third Street

For trendy ladies
Jori & June
Browse crossbody bags, flowy blouses and trendy hats worthy of a music fest or a summer night on the town. Ask about free styling sessions and Behova, a line of screenprinted tees by one of the owners.
25 South Third Street

For world travelers
The Gift Box
This 70-year-old Swedish-owned shop stocks Nordic imports—from glogg and lingonberries to leather clogs and Marimekko textiles—from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland.
310 West State Street

For foodies
The Royal Wren
Attend a tasting party at this gourmet food emporium, or just browse the thoughtfully curated selection of wine, snacks, stoneware, tea, utensils, kitchen gifts and more.
11 South Third Street

For new-age types
Crystal Life Technology
Shop stones, pendants, crystals, Himalayan salt lamps, prayer beads, nature photography and other spiritual and metaphysical accoutrements to keep your chakras in check.
121 South Third Street

Making Waves

Illinois’ largest waterpark is open for the season with two new slides to thrill guests of all ages. Kids aged 2 to 5 can slide down the four new kiddie slides and cool off in a zero-depth pool at Quokka-Nut Island. Those over 42 inches can race each other down two new slides—600 feet of twists and turns—in Wild Wallabies. The additions mark Raging Waves’ largest expansion since opening in Yorkville ten years ago.

“From our award winning waterslide, Wonambi, to our latest additions with Quokka-Nut Island and Wild Wallabies,” says Randy Witt, founder and co-owner of Raging Waves waterpark, “we have continued to bring new and innovative attractions for Raging Waves guests to enjoy.”

Entertaining Ingenuity

Former Pottery Bayou owner Nora Napientek is revolutionizing the way we entertain one “mini” at a time with her company Nora Fleming. Her line of serving pieces can be customized with interchangeable ornaments, or minis, for just about any occasion. Naperville magazine spoke with Napientek about how rediscovering her inner artist led to creating a product line that is now sold in 1,500 shops across the country.

Have you always been an artist?
I grew up in Hinsdale and graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in political science, with an emphasis on women’s studies. I was always an artist at heart, constantly doodling and designing, but my very traditional education didn’t really encourage the arts as a career option. I thought life as “the most creative attorney” would be far superior to “unemployed with an art degree.”

After college, I got married and knew I wanted to start a family, but a career in law wasn’t conducive to the lifestyle I wanted, so I opened a paint-your-own-pottery shop.

How did you develop the idea of customizable serving pieces?
About 15 years ago, ladies would come into the shop and paint platters for every season, occasion or special event—that was when three-dimensional platters were becoming popular. They did Christmas platters decked out with 3-D ornaments, Halloween platters with scary skulls, and “It’s Your Special Day” platters adorned with birthday balloons. I kept wondering, where in the heck are these gals storing all those platters?

I quickly ran back to the kiln room, grabbed a drill and started drilling holes in pre-made platters I already had in the shop. Then, I sculpted miniature holiday icons, fired them up in the kiln, and glued a ceramic stick to each that fit in the hole in the platters I’d already drilled. Soon I had a little factory going in my basement and paid my friends (with beer) to paint base coats on minis while I did the intricate final touches. My goal was to streamline the entertaining process and bring simplicity to tablescapes with my artwork.

Do you design the minis yourself? How many people work at Nora Fleming?
Originally, I created them all by hand. Now, I take into account what our customers want to see and what fun trends are happening. We have 20 people at the company, and we release new products twice a year, in January and July.

What is “signing season”? How many stores do you visit each year?
I go to about 30 to 40 independent stores per year. They are fabulous—I get to spend time with customers and hear their stories about how they started their collections and what minis they would like to see next. I personalize their platters with important messages, dates or special events.

Are you a big holiday decorator? Do you entertain a lot?
I’m a huge holiday decorator; however, I love to keep things simple. I do mostly white decor with splashes of color, a lot like my serving pieces line. Of all the things we have in this world, the most precious is the web of relationships that make up our family and friends. Entertaining is the ultimate way to foster these relationships. You open your home, spend time preparing a meal, and enjoy time with your loved ones. My idea simplifies the process, so you can spend more time enjoying the company.

Iron Hand

By Jonathan Adkins

The goal Build stronger and leaner muscle and increase overall conditioning

The plan Perform three supersets: one dumbbell exercise immediately followed by another. Count descending repetitions, starting with 15, 12, 10, 8, 6. Weights should increase as reps are lowered.

Time commitment The workout should take no longer than 30 minutes.




Walking Lunges
Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your side, as if carrying two briefcases. Step to a forward lunge and continue walking, alternating each leg. Keep knees behind toes and chest up, with slight forward lean.
Plank Row
Get into pushup position with one dumbbell in each hand and feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Brace your abs and keep hips from tilting as you row one dumbbell up at a time, with arm tucked next to the ribcage. Pull your elbow as high as you can while squeezing your shoulder blade back. Do not allow your torso to rotate during the movement. Return dumbbell to the floor, alternating right and left sides.


Shoulder Press
Sit upright with one dumbbell in each hand. With dumbbells in a horizontal position, press them simultaneously up, moving wrists up toward the ceiling to overhead. After a brief pause, lower the weights back down to the starting position and perform the next rep.
Glute Bridge
Lay on your back with feet on the floor and knees bent at 90 degrees. Place a dumbbell on your hips, above the hip bones. Push through your heels to extend hips vertically, until your thighs and torso create a flat plane, squeezing your glutes. Return to the floor and repeat.
Hammer Curl
Hold one dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip, palms facing each other, at your sides. Bend your elbows and raise your arms up to shoulder height, squeezing the biceps. Lower to full extension and perform next rep.

Sure Bet

The Women’s Board and Board of Trustees of the Chicago Zoological Society hosted its 37th annual Whirl gala on April 28. More than 525 guests attended the event at Brookfield Zoo. Guests mingled with many of the zoo’s animal ambassadors during the cocktail reception, including a Humboldt penguin, sulcata tortoise and wallaby.

The “Whirl of Fortune” theme was carried through in the Grand Tent decorated with candelabra centerpieces along with oversized playing cards and dice on each table. A three-course dinner featured a roasted beet, apple, and goat cheese salad; braised beef short rib topped with horseradish, dusted onions, and caraway cream sauce with a celery root puree and braised carrots. Dessert was a trio of sorbet with berries and white chocolate. Following dinner guests enjoyed dancing plus blackjack, roulette, craps and Texas Hold ’em.

The fundraiser grossed more than $1.3 million. Proceeds will support the animals at Brookfield Zoo, as well as the Chicago Zoological Society’s conservation, education and community outreach programs.

Disc Jockeys

Naperville residents Jeremy Burril and Dylan Power never dreamed they would one day play for a Chicago sports team. Yet the two Neuqua Valley High School graduates can say they are professional athletes after both made the roster of the Chicago Wildfire, a professional frisbee team that plays in the American Ultimate Disc League.

The Wildfire, which pays its players a small per-game stipend, was formed in 2013. This season they are playing six of their seven home games at North Central College’s Benedetti-Wehrli stadium.

“It’s very crazy to me that I’m able to get paid to play this sport,” Burril says. “It’s a huge passion of mine and I’ve always wanted to play at the highest level.”

Burril, who just graduated from Illinois State with a degree in marketing, played football and baseball at Neuqua before switching to Ultimate frisbee. He found his skills as a wide receiver and a middle infielder translated perfectly to frisbee—a fast-paced, non-contact sport that emphasizes throwing and catching.

“At first, I was frustrated that I wasn’t able to make the throws, but I worked really hard to be able to learn how to do that,” says Burril, who ran the club frisbee team at ISU.

Burril had been trying to make the Wildfire team for several years. He finally made the cut this year at the same time as Power, who is the youngest player on the Wildfire roster. Power, who will graduate from College of DuPage before transfering to Wisconsin-Whitewater, initially had to be coerced into trying frisbee.

“I didn’t even like the sport at first,” says Power, whose older brother played frisbee at Neuqua. “My mom made me go outside and throw with my brother as a punishment. Then I started throwing in seventh grade and started getting better.”

Unlike Burril, Power wasn’t a natural athlete. He tried soccer, basketball and baseball, among others, without making an impact. “I was never passionate about other sports,” Power says. “When I came across frisbee, that’s when I started feeling I really had a passion for something.”

Ultimate frisbee is a 7-on-7 game that blends elements of football and soccer and is played on a football field. Three players per team are handlers, or quarterbacks, and four serve as cutters, or receivers. A team scores a point when the disc is caught in the end zone. Games consist of four 12-minute quarters.

“You can’t intentionally hit people, but there is a physical aspect to it,” Power says. “You want to use your
body to dictate where you want [the opponent] to go.”

Burril and his teammates want local sports fans to go check out the Wildfire.

“The future of the sport is looking good,” Burril says. “I can’t wait to see friends and family at the games.”

The Wildfire has four remaining home games at North Central. The next one is against the Detroit Mechanix at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 17.

“We are excited to work with North Central and the Naperville community,” says Wildfire managing partner C.J. O’Brien. “We actually have a huge following in the Naperville area. There are a lot of high school teams in the western and northern suburbs, so we’re looking forward to bringing the games to their backyards and engaging with youth through clinics, coaching and other community events.”

Bedroom Community

Decorating is not typically a popular activity for high schoolers, but Naperville Central student Sam Welch has developed quite a passion for it.

In 2016, through a fundraiser for his leadership program, Welch raised money to decorate the bedroom of a local child named Cody, who had an incurable bone disease. Welch, then a sophomore, helped build and paint furniture, including a bed, desk and decorative scoreboard.

“When Cody opened his door for the ‘reveal,’ everything froze,” Welch says. “I could see him take it all in. His jaw dropped, and our eyes filled.”

Welch saw the makeover’s impact not only on Cody, but on the boy’s family and on the volunteers. “We had given Cody a place where he felt at peace. It was the first time I understood what it was like to be part of something bigger than myself.”

Before witnessing this makeover, Welch didn’t give much thought to a person’s home environment. “I used to think, ‘How much can a room makeover really mean?’ But I’ve learned it’s not just a room. It’s about emotional support and it’s about community.”

Welch wanted to share his experience with others, so he started a Special Spaces club at NCHS. He recruited friends and classmates who could help raise the $4,000 needed to fund each dream makeover, and turned to his family’s network of local contacts.

In the 2017–’18 school year, the club raised $28,000 for Special Spaces Chicagoland (, participated in seven room makeovers and over 17 community events. Welch is quick to point to the numerous local businesses that have sponsored the NCHS Special Spaces Club, including Alarm Detection Systems, Big Frog Custom T-Shirts, Downtown Naperville Alliance, Dutchman Heating and Cooling, the Harris Family Foundation, Klique Creative, Normandy Builders and Susan Joy Instructional Design. Special Spaces also received support from two other NCHS groups: Red Rage and the 2017 Senior Class Council.

“It has amazed me how much I can accomplish when I utilize the resources in my community,” Welch says. “People really want to help however they can. All I had to do was ask.”