Park Ridge Insider John Moran on the fritto misto appetizer at Pazzi Di Pizza, the personalized attention at TeaLula, family time at Concerts in the Park and Great Wolf Lodge… and much more
What you do for a living: I have been in the investment and insurance industry for more than 20 years and have co-owned the Moran-Havansek Financial Group for the past 10. We are an independent wealth management firm located in Park Ridge that specializes in assisting individuals, families and small businesses achieve their financial goals. I’ve also served as an alderman in the City of Park Ridge for the past eight years.
How long you’ve lived here: I was born and raised in Park Ridge, moved away for college and for most of my 20s, and then moved back to town when my wife, Alaina, and I decided to start a family.
What you like best about Park Ridge: The overwhelming sense of community. Unlike many surrounding suburbs, the people of Park Ridge go above and beyond to help those around them who are in need. I believe this is a big part of the reason why so many people that have grown up here eventually move back to Park Ridge to raise their families.
The back patio at Harp & Fiddle is great for watching a game if you can get the right table. The new enclosure they built this winter should make it even nicer.
Best meal you’ve had recently: A new Super Bowl party go-to in our house is going to be a sushi tray from Blufish Sushi Bistro. We ordered one for the big game this year and it was fantastic. It was also much healthier than the buffalo wings we had planned on.
Favorite restaurants in the area: Our family’s favorite spot for lunch is Holt’s. The kids love the mashed potato-and-bacon pizza, the salads are huge and the salmon BLT never disappoints. For dinner, we love Pazzi Di Pizza. Everything is so fresh. Their fritto misto appetizer (fried shrimp, calamari and octopus) is the best I’ve ever had. When it comes to dessert, Triple Scoop’d can’t be beat!
Favorite “hidden gem” restaurant: Goldy’s Grill on Northwest Highway. They do breakfast right. The servers are friendly, and the food is always excellent.
Best bar to grab a drink or to catch the game: The back patio at Harp and Fiddle is great for watching a game if you can get the right table. The new enclosure they built this winter should make it even nicer.
A great night out with friends usually includes… dinner and a couple margaritas at Don Juan’s Cantina in the Village Crossing complex. They have been an amazing addition to our restaurant scene and brought new life to that business district. Twenty years ago the idea of a restaurant relocating from Edison Park to Park Ridge was laughable, but here they are and I’m happy to support them.
I swear by TeaLula’s “wellness” blend at the first hint of a scratchy throat or runny nose. Sheila and her team are some of the nicest folks you’ll ever encounter. They are happy to walk you through their enormous selection of teas.
The best way to spend a Saturday in the spring: Our family loves going for bike rides once the weather gets nice. The North Branch Trail System is the perfect mix of easy paths and natural scenery.
What’s something you look forward to every spring?
Spring means leaves on the trees, and when the trees are full of leaves, the canopies over our streets give Park Ridge so much character.
Favorite local store or best shopping area: Alaina and I love shopping at 2 Sisters Boutique/Brother J’s on Prospect. It’s a locally owned, one-stop shop that has a great selection of clothing and accessories for men and women.
Secret spot: It’s not much of a secret anymore, since they have tripled in size over the past few years, but if you’ve never met someone for tea at TeaLula, you are missing out! I swear by their “wellness” blend at the first hint of a scratchy throat or runny nose. Sheila and her TEAm (see what I did there?) are some of the nicest folks you’ll ever encounter. They are happy to walk you through their enormous selection of teas.
Underrated activity in the area: Packing a picnic basket and cooler and heading up to the Concerts in the Park on Fridays in the summer. It’s a “mini Ravinia” that is very kid friendly and free to attend. These concerts have been a Park Ridge tradition for decades, yet I’m still surprised by how many people have never been.
Weekend getaway spot: A few years ago, we started taking the kids to Great Wolf Lodge when they had random days off school. Not the common days that everyone has off, but the occasional records planning or teacher institute days. We check in the night before and use the water park that night and the next day. It’s usually not crowded, and the lines are short or non-existent.
What have you heard great things about but have yet to try?
The new Shemroon Kabab House on the corner or Touhy and Prospect. We have heard nothing but amazing reviews from friends. We’ll get there soon.