Friday, January 6, 2017

5 Favorite Midwest Coffee Shops

One thing I've shared numerous times with you guys (here, here and here just to name a few) is my love for iced coffee - Year round, all seasons, hell or high's my jam. My husband doesn't drink coffee, so in our house, I sometimes feel alone in my obsession. He is a tea drinker, which I enjoy, but I rely on my Mom and my girlfriends when it comes to sharing a cup mixed with a good conversation. I'm no stranger to Dunkin Donuts (my preferred chain) or Starbucks (mainly because it's right next to my office), but given the choice, I prefer a non-chain coffee establishment. It's one of my favorite parts of visiting new places...whether it's a surrounding suburb or a different state, I always insist we try a local coffee spot for breakfast. 

Maybe it's the charm, maybe it's supporting the local community, but whatever it is, it makes my heart happy. In fact, one day I imagine taking a coffee tour of the U.S...sort of a, Jack Kerouac-caffeine themed joyride. I could plan the route via Roadtrippers, planning coffee & pasty spots in each state along the way. How much fun would that be? 

But for now, here are a few of my favorites in the Chicago(ish) and surrounding areas:

The Coffee Mill
Fontana, Wisconsin

Okay, local might be a bit of a stretch for Chicagoans, but it's only an hour an half north, nothing too outlandish for a little weekend trip, right? As you all know, we spend a good amount of time at our lake house in Wisconsin and with that, comes supporting all of the local companies. The Coffee Mill is staple for us during each visit, not only because are we big fans of the exclusive menu but if I'm being honest, it's just one of the cutest places! 

I'm a sucker for a chalk board menu, wire basket lights AND any place that also sells treats for my dog. Plus, they make a baked oatmeal that is out of this world and their honeybee coffee drink is our go-to. It's made with local honey (like, we've seen the adorable elderly man drop it off, fresh!), espresso, steamed milk, and nutmeg. Plus, is anyone else totally impressed and mesmerized by coffee art? I give in to hot lattes every so often, partly because I'm fascinated by that :) 

Brew Point
Elmhurst, Illinois

The first time I was here last Spring, I ordered an iced honey lavender latte and I'd be lying to you if I said I wasn't STILL thinking about it almost a year later. Being that this suburb is a few over from mine, I can't just swing by here on the way to work for my morning cup of joe, which is highly unfortunate. I would probably say it was my favorite coffee of all time so I was thrilled so visit again recently and for a few seconds, I considered trying another delicious concoction on their menu (the bartolome is next on my list!) but I had to have the lavender yet again and it did not disappoint. 

Something about Brew Point just feels so's always full of friends and family having conversation and I love how they offer a wide selection of board games for a rainy day. Also, I met one of the owners, Melissa, both times we were there and she was eager to make sure we had a great experience. It's really cool to see the owners working the register and interacting with the can tell they truly love what they do. P.S. They serve a variety of donuts from the donut drop every weekend...The pistachio? Yes please!

P.S. My cousin actually just wrote a wonderful post on this place as well. We experienced it for the first time together and obviously it left a big impression :)

Boxed and Burlap
Delavan, Wisconsin

Boxed and Burlap is the newest addition to my coffee stops in Wisconsin. I met the owners at a Lake & Country party just before they opened their shop and their business card alone was enough to make want to stop in. Having been there multiple times now, it makes sense - the card was a bit of rustic, a bit of modern and gave you the idea that there was a lot of heart and soul poured into the place. Turns out to be true...

The coffee is custom roasted and cannot be found in any other mid-western coffee shop and they offer a full service espresso bar along with a selection of tea and pastry items. The story of the shop is a true American small town dream. It is owned by a husband and wife couple and built through the help of family and friends. The coffeehouse was woven together with the garden center and studio space, so during the warmer months this year, we stopped by to grab a few succulents as we sipped our coffee. Basic just got even more basic ;)

The Corner House
Lombard, Illinois

I consider this place to be somewhat of a "hidden gem." I used to work on North Avenue fairly close to this place and there wasn't much else around in terms of restaurant or more specifically, coffee choices unless you wanted a scalding hot generic drink from McDonalds. While grabbing lunch one Friday, my co-worker and I stumbled upon this place and it was love at first entrance due to the costume style furniture and fun menu board. Could it be? There was a unique coffee house in the northern suburbs close to the office? We loved our first visit so much that we made it a weekly Friday treat, saving ourselves for coffee, tea and the most amazing muffins. One of my favorite things is the selection of holiday flavors yea round - If' you're feeling a pumpkin spice or peppermint mocha in July, there's no holding back. I regularly got the coconut iced coffee but the whole menu is great and changes all the time so it always feels new and fresh.

Plus, I love that the staff works with local artists to curate their ever-changing Corner Gallery. While waiting for your drink, you can check out the creative work that adorns the walls, all submitted by local artists. Many of the artists are first-time exhibitors and their work is for sale so you can purchase if you want one to take home. They also have a coloring station with pages created by a local Lombard artist. So much fun, right?

Graham's 318
Geneva, Illinois
Geneva is one of those suburbs that makes you feel happy to live in Illinois and the café itself is just as cozy and welcoming. The comfortable, cottage-next-door features an outdoor patio, an enclosed porch, a fireplace and couches downstairs and quiet nooks up the winding stairs. The coffee is great and so are the breakfast croissants...MAYBE the best I've ever had. 

If you visit, try the choccocino, a chocolate hazelnut combo...and if you manage to refrain from ordering a candy or gelato, you have more willpower than I. This is not a place to count calories...if you're here, you stay awhile and you say every delicious offering.

What are your favorite local coffee shops? 
I'd love some new recommendations to try this weekend!