Park Ridge Insider Karla Cantu on the martinis at Shakou, chopped salad at Sonny’s Express, and shopping at Edie and Natalie Boutique
What you do for a living: Three years of customer service at Anthony Valentino’s Salon, and I’m also a part-time student.
How long you’ve lived here: My family and I moved to Park Ridge in 2011. Crazy to think it’s already been a decade!
What you like best about Park Ridge: It’s the perfect community. The people are nice, the schools are great (Go Hawks!) and it’s very centrally located near the city. What’s there not to like?
Best meal you’ve had recently: I just tried the French onion soup from Harp & Fiddle. I can honestly say it was the best French onion soup I’ve ever had, and I will certainly be going back for more!
Favorite restaurant in the area: There are too many. I have many favorites and they include: Shakou, Zia’s Trattoria, Pazzi Di Pizza, Harp & Fiddle and Pennyville Station. Guess it just depends on my mood and what I’m craving.
Favorite “hidden gem” restaurant: Sonny’s Express. They have the best chopped salad. It is very underrated. Way better than Portillo’s if you ask me.
Natalie’s Boutique in Uptown is my go-to boutique for special occasions. … Also, Edie Boutique is a great place to get gifts for family and friends or housewarming gifts.
Best bar to grab a drink or to catch the game: Zia’s Trattoria in Edison Park for sure (especially during COVID times) because they had a huge heated outdoor tent with tons of TVs. I went there for the Super Bowl, and the atmosphere was great. I’m looking forward to the sidewalk/street patio this spring and summer.
A great night out with friends usually includes… drinks and food! We usually start off at Shakou. Their cocktails are great. The lychee martini and watermelon martini are to die for!
The best way to spend a Saturday in the spring: As soon as the weather gets nice, I like to take advantage of being outdoors. I love to go on walks with my puppies through the Park Ridge forest preserve.
What’s something you look forward to every spring?
Spring break! A week off from school usually gives me the opportunity to go somewhere warm. This year I enjoyed soaking up some sun in Arizona!
Favorite local store or best shopping area: Trader Joe’s. It’s fun to walk around and look at all their healthy grocery items. You never know what tasty treat you’re going to find.
Secret Park spot: The beverage bar at Anthony Valentino’s Salon. Did you know we have our liquor license? Our clients love to have a beer or glass of wine when they come in.
Underrated activity in the area: Shopping around Park Ridge. You can find really unique gifts for any occasion. Natalie Boutique in Uptown is my go-to boutique for special occasions. I got one of my Homecoming dresses from them. Also, Edie Boutique is a great place to get gifts for family and friends or housewarming gifts.
What have you heard great things about but have yet to try?
Zaza Cucina! I heard the drinks and food are amazing. I can’t wait to go there and try their wild mushroom ravioli.
I can honestly say Harp & Fiddle has the best French onion soup I’ve ever had, and I will certainly be going back for more!