Stay and Play

July 2021 View more

Lisle may be overlooked on occasion due to its location between larger neighbors Naperville and Downers Grove, but that’s one of the reasons Lisle village trustee and former mayoral candidate Sara Sadat loves it so much. “It’s right in the middle of all the bigger cities, but it still keeps it’s small-town charm,” she says.

Sadat, 39, grew up in Lombard after immigrating from India with her mother. When it came time to choose where to raise her own young children, she was drawn to Lisle because of its ample green space. “I started exploring all the parks around Lisle, and that’s when I went to the Morton Arboretum. The presence, the art, and the history that exists [there] just kind of blew my socks off,” she says. “I thought: This is the place I need to settle my roots and grow our kids here for years and years to come.” Sadat’s day job is in project management, but as a longtime artist (paint is her preferred medium) she’s excited about the new outdoor art exhibit, Human+Nature by South African artist Daniel Popper, at the Morton Arboretum (4100 Rte. 53, 630.968.0074,
As a fan of shopping local, Sadat also enjoys supporting an array of women-owned businesses. Scrims Esports Gaming Center (2000 Ogden Ave., 630.534.9620, offers tournaments, leagues, and party packages for PC and console gaming. “How cool is that that a woman owns and brings in tons of gamers?” Sadat says.

There’s also Astoria Café & Bakery (1107 Maple Ave., 630.395.9634, astoria-
), a Serbian café specializing in Balkan desserts and fanciful pastries. “[The owner] Tanja [Jeftenic] makes amazingly beautiful cakes,” Sadat says. The signature Astoria Cake is piled high with truffles, strawberries, and an up-ended jar of Nutella on top.

When it comes to eating out, Sadat also enjoys the cauliflower-crust pizza (“To die for,” she says) at R. Urban Wine Bar & Cafe (4738 Main St., 630.541.9766, and El Gran Agave Restaurant & Tequila Bar (1650 Maple Ave., 630.541.8959, for the fine-dining vibe and cuisine inspired by the Mexican regions of Puebla and Jalisco, as well as Mexico City. “They have this seafood in a pineapple dish you’ve gotta try,” she says.

“We are at the cultural center of so many different things,” Sadat says. Ray Chinese School (2929 Green Trails Dr., has been operating in Lisle since 1992. “A lot of kids go to learn Chinese there from all over the suburbs,” she says. You can also try your hand at sculpting at ClaySpace Ceramic Arts Center (740 Front St., 630.393.2529, or learn the art of authentic pizza-making at the North American Pizza & Culinary Academy (1970 University Ln., 630.395.9958,

On Saturdays, you might find Sadat strolling around the Lisle French Market and PrairieWalk Pond (Burlington and Garfield Avenues) with her husband, Raza Siddiqui, and their three kids.
“This is not an all-inclusive list!” she says, implying that the options that can be overwhelming. “There’s so much [in Lisle] and the best part about it is, it’s a great problem to have.”

Play for All
Sara Sadat volunteers with Lisle Partners for Parks Foundation, a nonprofit that contributed $100,000 to help build Discovery Playground, Lisle’s first universally accessible playground. It was thoughtfully designed with all ages and abilities in mind and includes ramps, transfer stations, high-back swings, and more. The playground opened in August 2020 and is located in Community Park (1825 Short St.).

Photos courtesy ASTORIA CAFÉ and Lisle Park District