Park Ridge Insider Julie Davis on her family dentistry, the baked lamb from Mykonos Greek restaurant, family dinners at Pasta D’Arte, gifts and spa services at Renata’s Organics and glamping at The Fields of Michigan
What you do for a living: I am a dentist and co-owner at Davis & Engert Dentistry, along with my mom, Dr. Arlene Engert, but actually, I was fortunate enough to practice with both of my parents for two and a half years before my dad retired. My parents founded our office in the early 1980s, when we were originally located where the Physicians Immediate Care is on Northwest Hwy. And now, since 1993, we have been on the corner of Prairie and Main Street.
It has truly been an incredible journey to first step into, and now help lead, our amazing family-built-and-owned practice. As an office, our goal is to provide exceptional patient care that will surpass the expectations of everyone who walks through our door. My philosophy as a dentist is to treat the root cause, which will lead to long-lasting, healthy and beautiful smiles. Check us out at DentistInParkRidge.com.
It has truly been an incredible journey to first step into, and now help lead, our amazing family-built-and-owned practice. … My philosophy as a dentist is to treat the root cause, which will lead to long-lasting, healthy and beautiful smiles.
How long you’ve lived here: I grew up in Park Ridge! I went to Washington, Lincoln and then Maine South. I left the area for a few years to attend University of Illinois in Champaign for college and then lived in the city for several years as I was studying at University of Illinois in Chicago for Dental School. My husband also grew up in Park Ridge. We met at Maine South, although we didn’t start dating until after college, and we moved back to town in 2017.
What do you like best about Park Ridge: I love that we have a small-town feel, while also being on the doorstep to the city. Both of our parents still live here, so we have an incredible network of both friends and family who have deep roots in the community, and between our vibrant Uptown and the proximity to the Metra and highway, Park Ridge has almost instant access to everything Chicagoland has to offer. It is that mix that makes Park Ridge such a special place to raise a family.
Best meal you’ve had recently: Well, this is a family staple for us, but if you haven’t had the baked lamb from Mykonos Greek restaurant in Niles, it is an absolute must-have! They also have a beautiful outdoor patio that is awesome during the summer. While “best meal” means I am probably only supposed to pick one, my husband would not let me leave off his go-to: the skirt steak velasco from Reyes Steakhouse. He would probably order it once a week if he could.
Favorite “hidden gem” restaurant: OK, I’m going to bend the rules just a little bit again by adding more than just one hidden gem, but they deserve to be mentioned. Growing up, my parents were on the very western edge of town, so we always got sushi from Dotombori Japanese restaurant in Des Plaines. It is an excellent little spot where everything is always super fresh. And we love the corona roll!
And then, we have become hooked on the Thai food from Siam Treasure on Touhy. We went to Thailand several years ago, before kids, and fell in love with the food, so when we came back, we had to search for an excellent new Thai spot. We finally found it in Siam Treasure, where the tom yum soup and Panang noodle dish are just awesome every time.
Favorite restaurant in the area: Both of our families love going to Pasta D’Arte. It’s also where I had my baby shower, so I can tell you they also have an awesome additional side area for events. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend the bucatini all’osso di manzo (thick spaghetti served with braised short rib meat in a spicy tomato sauce with shaved parmesan cheese).
For a quick date night, we love to go to Panino’s and sit outside on their little patio for a cocktail or glass of wine.
Best bar to grab a drink or to catch the game: Park Ridge has gotten so many good options over the last several years, but for a relaxing drink with friends, or an easy escape for a quick date night, we love to go to Panino’s and sit outside on their little patio for a cocktail or glass of wine. If it’s for a game, the cocktails at Holt’s are excellent, and the indoor/outdoor seating is always great for games.
Hay Caramba margaritas
A great night out with friends usually includes… I don’t remember. We have three kids under the age of 4. Just kidding…. Hay Caramba! The food is delicious, the premium margarita hits the spot and the service is fantastic. I love when they have the mariachi band on weekends.
The best way to spend a Saturday in the fall: One of our favorite Saturday activities is heading to the Park Ridge Farmers Market. We have such a great selection of vendors, and it keeps getting better each year. Don’t miss the Kernel Dan’s kettle corn, the fresh flowers from Ari’s Flowers, or The Cheese People. But the absolute family favorite is the fresh mango from the Tamales Express stand. My kids will not let us walk by without getting one… or two.
What’s something you look forward to every fall?
Apple picking with the kids. Last year we went to All Seasons Orchard in Woodstock. After apple picking, we were impressed with all the additional activities: barn yard, corn maze, pumpkin patch, and all of the apple-flavored accoutrements you could ever think of, and didn’t know you needed.
I think one of the best mani-pedis in Park Ridge is at Eco Nail Salon on Devon. Long-lasting and professional service, and they are always on time, which I love as a busy mom.
Secret Park Ridge spot: I’m not sure if this is a secret, but I think one of the best mani-pedis in Park Ridge is at Eco Nail Salon on Devon. Long-lasting and professional service. They are busy and have reduced hours since COVID, so I recommend an appointment. Typically, they are always on time, which I love as a busy mom.
Favorite local store or best shopping area: If you haven’t been to Devon Avenue Meats, I highly recommend it. The quality is top notch. We love to get the marinated skirt steak and throw it on the grill for steak sandwiches.
Another great spot to pick up a cute gift at is Renata’s Organic Skincare & Spa. Not only do they offer amazing spa services, but they carry bath bombs, candles, lotions, etc. I always love to shop local.
Underrated activity in the area: I think it’s underrated because I grew up with it around the corner and so I just take it for granted, but the bike trails through the forest preserve are really great. They were just redone, so they are super smooth and easy to walk or bike, and my husband swears by them for long weekend adventures with our girls. The trails are stroller friendly, and there’s a surprising abundance of wildlife right at our backdoor. The kids love it.
What have you heard great things about but have yet to try?
We have heard rave reviews for Shemroon Kabab House, right at six-corners, but haven’t made it over there yet. It is on the short list for the next time that we have a free night and available babysitters.
Weekend getaway spot: We haven’t had a weekend getaway in a while, but as soon as we secure some babysitters, we plan to check out The Fields of Michigan. It is a luxury glamping experience in South Haven — only about a 2.5-hour drive. We have heard really good things. You rent a tent that has a king bed, electricity, flushing toilet and hot water. Oh and, there is a spa on site… that’s our kind of glamping!