Park Ridge Insider Liz Freidin on brunch at Café Touché and Pennyville Station, live music at Thalia Hall and The Empty Bottle, finding great gifts at Raffia and escapes to The Shore Club in Wisconsin
Pennyville Station brunch
What you do for a living: I work in sales as a Senior Client Partner at Cars.com. In this role, I manage the relationships with auto manufacturers and their ad agencies to help find marketing solutions for their brands.
How long you’ve lived here: We moved to Park Ridge from Lincoln Park just over four years ago. After we had our third child, we went looking for a suburb that could give us a great community feel — but one that was close to the city since we still have family that lives downtown. Park Ridge hit the nail on the head for us!
What you like best about Park Ridge: I love that it feels like one big neighborhood. I work from home most of the time, and I love that I always see people out and about walking and waving to others. It makes me happy.
Best meal you’ve had recently: My husband and I love to go on date nights to Reyes Steakhouse. We always see somebody we know when we eat there and have never had a bad meal. We recently split the grilled calamari and skirt steak, and both were so good!
Best bar to grab a drink or to catch the game: We love the Howard Street Inn in Niles. It’s owned by a Park Ridge family so we love to support them. The beer list is awesome, and their food is seriously so good. The veggie burger is a standout for me. Last time I was there for a Bears game, and they walked around at halftime and passed out free wings! Love that.
Everyone in the family is able to get a dish that they love at Nonna Silvia’s, which is huge for us because our kids can be picky eaters.
Favorite restaurant in the area: A family favorite of ours Nonna Silvia’s. It’s so good for takeout — everything always comes hot, and the order is never wrong. Also, everyone in the family is able to get a dish that they love, which is huge for us because our kids can be picky eaters. They also make a great drink if you have the time to dine in.
Favorite “hidden gem” restaurant: It must be Thalaiva’s Indian Kitchen. It’s quick, clean and delish. If you are craving Indian, it always hits the spot.
A great night out with friends usually includes… utilizing our proximity to Chicago, which is one of the things that sold us on Park Ridge. We love to hop on the Metra or blue line and head down for dinner and drinks at Piccolo Sogno (owned by a Park Ridge resident, Tony Priolo) or The Dawson. Both have great patios. We are also big live music people, so we love going to see bands at venues like Thalia Hall in Pilsen or The Empty Bottle in Ukranian Village. Being so close to the city really keeps our options wide open.
The best way to spend a Saturday in the winter: We usually spend our Saturdays at sports in the morning. With three kids, their activities tend to rule our schedule! However, when we do have downtime, we love to utilize Centennial Fitness Center’s indoor pool, or my gym, FFC, for open swim. My kids love the water, and it’s a fun way for them to meet up with friends and get some energy out.
What’s something you look forward to every winter?
Shoveling. Just kidding. I actually really love winter walks through the forest preserves around us. There is something so peaceful about the woods in the winter. It helps keep me centered during all the holiday madness. With so many trails in the area, it’s something I try to take full advantage of.
Favorite local store or best shopping area: My go-to store during the holidays is Raffia. They have great gifts for teachers, hostesses, grab bags and even baby gifts. They also have the best cards, with lots of adult humor stuff, which I love.
I love brunch at Café Touché. The food is always so good, and they have a bottomless mimosa/bloody mary option if you choose to partake. A great option for a celebration.
Secret spot: One place that that I went to recently that I really enjoyed is a newer Irish pub in Norwood Park called Mystic Rogue. One of my closest friends married a man from Ireland, and it’s a favorite of his. We met them for dinner, and I literally felt like I was in Ireland. The food was so good and fresh, and the atmosphere was awesome. Highly recommend checking it out.
Underrated activity in the area: Not sure if it’s underrated, but something I wish I had more time for is brunch. There are a ton of good brunch options around town. Two of my favorites are Pennyville Station and Café Touché. Pennyville has a great selection of food — both sweet and savory. The breakfast sandwich on the brioche is a personal favorite. I also love brunch at Café Touché. The food is always so good, and they have a bottomless mimosa/bloody mary option if you choose to partake. A great option for a celebration.
What have you heard great things about but have yet to try?
I have not heard anything about it yet, but I just saw there is a new restaurant called Shemroon Kabab House that just opened on Touhy and Prospect. I absolutely love Middle Eastern food, so I am very excited to check this out.
Weekend getaway spot: Our favorite spot for a weekend getaway has to be The Shore Club in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. It’s about a 2.5-hour drive from Park Ridge. We usually stop in Milwaukee for lunch and then head up to the resort. The hotel was recently renovated, so its super clean and modern. It’s located on the most beautiful lake and has a ton of family activities year-round. It’s such a great place to go and unwind.