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Born on Chicago’s West Side in 1959, Dan Cronin moved to Elmhurst with his family a year later when his father, an orthopedic surgeon, was offered a job at Elmhurst Hospital. Cronin, now 60, has served as DuPage County Board chairman since 2010 and is one of nine children. “Growing up where we did, near St. Charles and Spring Roads, I spent a lot of time riding my Schwinn Panther bicycle down Spring Road to Hank’s Corner to get penny candy on Saturday mornings,” he says.

After moving to Chicago to attend Northwestern University and Loyola University School of Law, he returned to Elmhurst. “My friends all called me DuPage Dan,” he says. He and his wife, Juli, have four children: two daughters in law school, a third daughter at Notre Dame University, and a son at IC Catholic Prep, Cronin’s alma mater.

The Cronin family has two dogs and enjoys walking the campus of Elmhurst College and the Prairie Path, which has several entry points in town. Though Cronin appreciates Elmhurst’s downtown district, called City Centre, for its myriad retail options, he also has favorite destinations in Elmhurst’s other business districts, including Spring Road and York & Vallette.

Quick Facts

College town
Elmhurst College’s 48-acre campus is located right near downtown Elmhurst.

First founding
Elmhurst was first incorporated as a village in 1882.

Wright stuff
Frank Lloyd Wright designed Elmhurst’s F.B. Henderson House (301 S. Kenilworth), which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Rock out
Rick Nielsen, lead guitarist for Cheap Trick, was born in Elmhurst.

  1. Fitz’s Pub
    “It’s a great cozy Irish pub,” Cronin says of this City Centre hangout. “You can have a Guinness and a bowl of potato soup.” Just about any deep-fried item your appetite could desire—mushrooms, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, shrimp, wings—is at the ready to complement your choice of pint.
    172 N. Addison Ave., 630.530.0777
  2. York Theatre
    “If you’re in Elmhurst, you have to go to the York Theatre,” Cronin says. This historic movie house centrally located in downtown Elmhurst has all the charm of its storied past (including a colorful neon marquee) along with modern amenities such as reserved recliner seating. “It’s a wonderful place,” says Cronin. “They even have the guy who plays the organ every once in a while!”
    150 N. York St., 630.834.0675
  3. Victory Meat and Seafood
    This steak and seafood house in Elmhurst’s City Centre “feels like downtown Chicago a little bit,” Cronin says. “They have high-top tables and it’s kind of a fun, cosmopolitan crowd and you can have a martini and a filet prepared just perfectly.”
    116 N. York St., 630.359.5599
  4. Prairie Cafe
    This breakfast and lunch café in the York & Vallette business district serves all the diner-style classics, from peppers and eggs to pancakes and patty melts. “They have wonderful omelets and coffee and crispy hash browns,” Cronin says.
    109 W. Vallette St., 630.279.7711
  5. Roberto’s Ristorante
    Cronin remembers this full-service restaurant in its early days as a tiny carryout joint in what is now called the Spring Road business district. “I’d lean up against the window, and Roberto would be making the pizzas and kneading the dough right there,” Cronin says. “He would smile and laugh at you.” Cronin and his son swear by the vodka sauce. “Whenever we travel, we go to an Italian restaurant and we always [try their sauce] and say, ‘It’s good here, but it’s not as good as Roberto’s,’ ” he says.
    483 Spring Rd., 630.279.8486

Michael Pauman said he’s seen all 23 years of Elmhurst parades, this year accompanied by daughters Lily (left) and Maddy.

One of Dan Cronin’s favorite Elmhurst events is the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival. Though that is now in the rearview—the 53rd annual event was Feb. 20–23—there are plenty of other events to look forward to this spring in Elmhurst: The Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade, elmhurststpatsparade.com) celebrates its 24th year on March 7. The parade steps off at noon at Spring Road at Wilson Street and heads north on Spring before ending at the railroad tracks just south of St. Charles Road. Expect to see a festive lineup that includes Irish dancers from local schools, the York High School marching band, and floats from local businesses and organizations.

Elmhurst Park District’s lineup of Easter events promises egg-hunting fun for all ages. Kiddos can meet the Easter Bunny
and search for eggs at the Egg Scramble at Wilder Park (175 S. Prospect Ave.) at 10 a.m. on April 11. There’s also the Flashlight Egg Hunt, held after dark for teens at Wilder Park (175 S. Prospect Ave.) on April 9, and the new Adult Easter Egg Hunt on April 4 at Sugar Creek Golf Course. For details, visit epd.org/community-events.

Art in Wilder Park is a free two-day outdoor art festival slated for May 2–3 (elmhurstartmuseum.org). More than 100 artists will have handmade jewelry, paintings, sculpture, photography, and other artwork on display for purchase in Wilder Park. Held rain or shine, the fest also features live music, food vendors, and activities for kids.

Photo Courtesy DuPage County and By Graydon Megan/Pioneer Press