By Ken Trainor
Thanks to sharp-eyed reader (and web browser) Dan Lauber (of River Forest) who found the following post on Thrillist, April 17, naming Oak Park as the "coolest" Chicago suburb. The list of top suburbs attached to major cities was based on the following criteria:
1) A good (or at least respectable) food/drink scene, with enough places to go close to home to not always have to trudge back into the city.
2) Not so far away from the city that the commute is awful.
3) A place with a history or its own unique elements that separate it from just planned suburban sprawl.
Lauber, who has a lot of experience in urban planning, said, "Sadly I'm not surprised that they didn't bother to note Oak Park's distinction as one of the few stable, racially integrated suburbs in the entire metropolitan area — one of Oak Park's most important claims to fame." On the other hand, he added, "Great photo of the Lake Theatre!"
Here's the blurb from the site by executive editor Matt Lynch:
Chicago, IL: Oak Park
Where to eat/drink: Maya Del Sol, Poor Phil's, Kinslahger
Oak Park is rich with history and culture few suburbs — of any city — can match. Tour the home and studio where Frank Lloyd Wright spent much of his early career and then check out all the spectacular homes he built his neighbors up and down the street. Not far from there you'll find Ernest Hemingway's childhood home and museum.
But what if you HATE history and culture? Fear not, you can still distract yourself browsing the cheese display at Marion Street Market before sitting down to some lamb sliders and chicken-fried mussels, downing margaritas (or rare anejos) and cochinita pibil on Maya Del Sol's sunny patio, or housing free popcorn while you ponder the 36 taps at Poor Phil's.
Speaking of beer, Kinslahger is a new lager-centric brewery to keep an eye on. Throw in the fact that Oak Park is connected to the CTA and a shorter trip to Downtown Chicago than some of the far reaches of actual Chicago (pretty much due west of Downtown), and life is good.
Life is good indeed. Here's the link to the entire article:
Answer Book 2019
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