Park Ridge Insider Sherry Watkins on the artistry of Daniel’s Charcuterie, martinis at Zaza Cucina, cozy dinners at Café Touché and the desire to see a show at the Des Plaines Theater
Zaza Cucina martini
What you do for a living: I have been a soprano in the chorus at the Lyric Opera of Chicago for almost 26 years. During the pandemic I got my real estate license. I help people sell and buy residential real estate through Baird & Warner, and I’m a Senior Real Estate Specialist with a talent for decluttering, downsizing and staging a home.
How long you’ve lived here: We’ve lived here almost four years. I’ve performed in Park Ridge occasionally with Petite Opera Productions for the last 20 years.
What you like best about Park Ridge: So many things! I like the diverse architecture. No two homes are the same. They all have different characteristics. I love how active the people are in this community; I see a lot of people walking, running and biking every day. I love that Park Ridge is a community that fits the needs of people of all ages, from wonderful schools to an active senior community. And the Uptown area is adorable and full of amazing food and drinks.
Best meal you’ve had recently: The chopped salad and salmon burger at Pennyville Station. I like the new expanded area there. It’s very comfortable and inviting.
Patina Wine Bar flatbread
Favorite restaurant in the area: Daniel’s Charcuterie and Patina Wine Bar. I could live off of wine and charcuterie, and I often do! Daniel is an incredible artist, and I feel so warmly welcomed by Carissa and Patina Wine Bar every time I go there.
Favorite “hidden gem” restaurant: Café Touché in Edison Park. It’s so intimate and cozy. They have amazing food, and it’ll make you feel like you’re in Paris!
Café Touché in Edison Park in Edison so intimate and cozy. They have amazing food, and it’ll make you feel like you’re in Paris!
Best bar to grab a drink or to catch the game: Holt’s has ample TVs for game watching. It’s located in such a prime spot, we often get off the train after being at the Lyric Opera House and stop in there.
A great night out with friends usually includes… a movie at the historic Pickwick Theater, (they played “The Blues Brothers” on my birthday last year), dinner at any of the fabulous restaurants around town, and a nightcap at Pines Room, where they also sell men’s clothing.
The best way to spend a Saturday in the winter: I’m usually working on Saturdays, but if I had one off I’d probably take a walk in the forest preserve, seek out a cozy fireplace and have dinner at Café Touché.
What’s something you look forward to every winter?
I love to decorate my home for the holidays, especially Christmas. My husband and I fell in love singing Christmas carols, and now we have a Christmas caroling company called Watkins Carolers. We have a few repeat customers: Central Baptist Village and the Summit of Uptown for their tree lighting and Christmas parties, Winestyles in Norwood Park, Daniel’s Charcuterie and Triple Scoop’d. We look forward to sharing the joy of Christmas carols with everyone.
I highly recommend taking a dance lesson at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio. I had a blast at my lessons there! … And our go-to getaway is Galena. I love the history of it and feeling like I’m back home in New England.
Favorite local store or best shopping area: I recently discovered Edie Boutique and Marigold. It’s a beautiful combination of stores where you can find things for the home, gifts and women’s clothing.
Secret spot: I love to pop into Zaza Cucina to have a martini made by Nik. It feels like a secret! Also, I am a huge fan of any speakeasy. I understand that there used to be one in the Pickwick Theater, and I have a secret fantasy of opening one there again.
Bottle & Bottega
Underrated activity in the area: I highly recommend taking a dance lesson at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio. I had a blast at my lessons there! I also recommend a night of painting at Bottle and Bottega, owned by my friend and fellow PREN5 Chamber of Commerce member, Neennu Gupta.
Weekend getaway spot: Our go-to getaway is Galena. I love the history of it and feeling like I’m back home in New England. I’ve now lived in Chicagoland longer than New England, but my roots and family are still there. We usually work on the weekends, so we often go to Galena on Monday and Tuesday when it’s less crowded.
What have you heard great things about but have yet to try?
I haven’t had the chance to eat at Pazzi di Pizza, and I really want to. I also want to go to a show at the Des Plaines Theater, and I hear they have a speakeasy there.
Des Plaines Theater