Park Ridge Insider Anne Marie Brown on the Taste of Park Ridge, chicken elote tacos from Holt’s, home decor gifts at Marigold, acupuncture at Healing Point Wellness Center and more
Taste of Park Ridge
What you do for a living: I am the executive director of the Amina Grace Memorial Fund. We were founded in memory of Amina Grace Cullen Ali, a child with Down syndrome who passed at the age of five back in 2014. Our mission is to create lasting acceptance for people with Down syndrome and provide resources to organizations that support the Down syndrome and differing abilities communities. We see the value in every person and realize that all people have amazing abilities, but sometimes they may need a little help to live up to their full potential. Check out all we’re doing at AminaGrace.org
How long you’ve lived/worked here: Amina Grace’s family has lived in Park Ridge for 12 years, and I’ve worked here for a total of five years.
What you like best about Park Ridge: It has a small-town feel where neighbors go out of their way to help each other. And it has many wonderful services, stores and restaurants where you can take care of most of your daily needs without leaving the city.
Best meal you’ve had recently: I recently had the fried chicken and elote tacos from Holt’s, and they were tasty. It’s something unique I’ve not seen elsewhere. Of course I paired it with a side of their fries, which are also delicious.
Favorite restaurant in the area: I can’t pick just one as my favorite, as it depends on what type of food I’m in the mood for. For BBQ, it’s Mel’s Craft BBQ. For burgers, it’s The Sandlot. For Mexican, it’s Don Juan’s Cantina.
Favorite “hidden gem” restaurant: Silvers Grill on Northwest Highway. They have a friendly staff serving excellent food at affordable prices. The filet mignon wrap or something from their specials menu are my go-to meals.
Pennyville Station has a great selection of wine, cocktails and beer. I’m a fan of their martinis, and my husband orders the Old Fashioned.
Best bar to grab a drink or to catch the game: Pennyville Station has a great selection of wine, cocktails and beer. I’m a fan of their martinis, and my husband orders the Old Fashioned.
A great night out with friends usually includes… hanging out at one of our homes, ordering takeout food and drink, and laughing the night away while sitting outside, weather permitting.
The best way to spend a Saturday in the summer: Saturdays in the summer always start with a long walk with friends followed by a trip to the farmer’s market. There are also many 5Ks in the area that I participate in as a walker to support the wonderful non-profits that serve our community. I aim to do as much as outside as I can to soak up our short period of fabulous weather.
What’s something you look forward to every summer?
The Taste of Park Ridge (July 13-15 this year) is always a fun festival. Choosing what to eat for a meal can be a challenge for me, as I love to eat a little bit of everything. And the Taste of Park Ridge lets me do just that.
Favorite local store or best shopping area: Marigold has been a wonderful source for home décor, both in general and for the holidays. I have built a very nice gnome collection, and each year I purchase a few more from Marigold. It’s also a great place for baby, wedding or party host gifts. I find many things I never knew I needed when shopping there!
Dr. Yolanda at Healing Point Wellness Center has helped me with so much more than just headaches, including sleep, stress management, digestion and body temperature. She is an important part of my overall wellness toolkit.
Secret Park Ridge spot: Healing Point Wellness Center on Northwest Highway. I started going to Dr. Yolanda to help me with managing my headaches. But she has helped me with so much more too, including sleep, stress management, digestion and body temperature. She is an important part of my overall wellness toolkit.
Underrated activity in the area: I’m not sure it’s underrated, but Bottle & Bottega here in Park Ridge is a fun activity to do with friends, family or business associates. In addition to making you feel like you can paint like Van Gogh, they recently added candle making. I can’t wait to get in and try that.
Weekend getaway spot: Lake Geneva is a great place to go on the weekends in the summer, as there is so much to do outside including hiking, boating and just relaxing at the beach. Completing the walk around Lake Geneva Shore Path, which is 21 miles, is on my bucket list.
What have you heard great things about but have yet to try?
I am a huge wine lover, so I am eager to try Patina Wine Bar.