Discover Lisle

May 2020 View more

MEET Jen Widerstrom

Before she became the well-known fitness expert and coach she is now, Jen Widerstrom’s first job as a teen growing up in Lisle was busing tables at Angeli’s Restaurant on Chicago Avenue. “If I had any extra tip money, I might have bought a dessert,” she says. “Their tiramisu is to die for.”

Widerstrom, 37, who now lives in Denver, returns a half-dozen or so times each year to visit her parents, who still live in the house where she grew up.

“My neighborhood had all these gorgeous oak trees and lakes and trails,” she says. “It was the perfect place to grow up.” During her summers off of college at University of Kansas, she worked as a bartender at Quigley’s, Potter’s Place, and Two-Nine in downtown Naperville.

Today, Widerstrom is best known for her appearances training cast members on The Biggest Loser seasons 16 and 17. She published the book Diet Right For Your Personality Type in 2017 and now serves as fitness director of Shape magazine. Read on for five of her all-time favorite spots to stroll, play, and dine in Lisle.

Please check websites before visiting for the latest operations updates due to COVID-19.

Quick facts

Founding brothers
The village of Lisle was first settled in 1832 by brothers Luther and James Hatch.

Got game
The Bulls/Sox Training Academy (6200 River Bend Dr.) opened in Lisle in 2001. The Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox continue to manage youth sports camps at the facility, recently renamed the West Suburban Sports Complex.

Over the hill
Four Lakes (5750 Lakeside Dr.) is one of the area’s only downhill ski facilities. In the summertime, recreational volleyball leagues compete on sand courts at the base of the ski hill.

Stroll goals
PrairieWalk Pond, located just west of Main Street in downtown Lisle, is a picturesque destination for a warm-weather walk.

Worth a trip

  1. Country House
    “It’s just this homey tavern with great burgers and great apps,” Widerstrom says, who cites the mini mozzarella sticks as her personal favorite. “Pubs have become like a dime a dozen, but this one is always so good and the burgers were always cooked perfectly.”
    2799 Maple Ave., 630.983.0545

  2. Benedictine University
    This historic university isn’t just for students. Members of the public can visit campus to take a self-guided art walking tour, watching sporting events, or just stroll around the manicured grounds. As a teen, Widerstrom loved coming here to watch baseball and softball games during the summer.
    5700 College Road, 630.829.6000,

  3. Riedy’s Tee Time Golf Range
    Open since 1976, this no-frills driving range offers plentiful tees to perfect your golf swing. With ample parking and $8 buckets of balls, it’s a must-visit before the season gets into full swing. “This place was always so great, because it’s casual and you could learn without feeling pressured,” Widerstrom says. Fun fact: The nearly 17-acre property has been in the Riedy family for more than 170 years.
    1400 Maple Ave., 630.852.1001

  4. The Bavarian Lodge
    This wood-paneled bar and restaurant serves hearty German fare such as potato pancakes, bratwurst, sauerbraten, and more than a half-dozen variations on schnitzel. “They have a great beer selection here,” Widerstrom says. Options range from German imports to local craft picks.
    1800 Ogden Ave., 630.241.4701

  5. Morton Arboretum
    This 1,700-acre arboretum dedicated to tree science features 16 miles of walking trails and winding paved roadways for scenic driving and biking. “This is just one of the most beautiful places to enjoy all four seasons,” Widerstrom says. The wooden Troll Hunt sculptures by Danish artist Thomas Dambo are always worth a visit (or revisit).
    4100 Illinois Route 53, 630.968.0074

Seeking Nature

The Morton Arboretum is perhaps Lisle’s best-known nature retreat. However, there are many more outdoor spaces to enjoy while still adhering to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Lisle’s forest preserves remain open to the public. “We’re doing our best to keep our trails and our open spaces open to the public to provide the opportunity to get out and enjoy the outdoors if you can, while still practicing the CDC’s recommended strategies for social distancing,” says Tony Martinez, director of community relations for the DuPage Forest Preserve District.

Egermann Woods offers an expansive 110 acres of undeveloped nature, including a presettlement oak forest. There’s a 0.3-mile mowed turf trail for hiking, biking, or horseback riding. The preserve is located on Hobson Road just east of College Road (no parking lot). Hitchcock Woods—located at Yackley and Hitchcock Avenues, a half-mile south of Ogden Avenue—is a 18.5-acre natural area jointly owned by DuPage Forest Preserve and the Lisle Park District. For details, visit

Lisle’s public parks—but not playgrounds—also remain open. “I think we all appreciate the outdoors now more than ever,” says Dan Garvy, director of parks and recreation at Lisle Park District. At 110 acres, Community Park (1825 Short St.) is the largest, with plenty of ponds, walking trails, and bike paths to enjoy. For a full list of parks, visit

Photos courtesy Jen Widerstrom and Lisle Park District

Illustration by Maeve Norton