The Run Down

This guide has us venturing out into the deep dark abyss, a terrifying hellscape for 20-somethings living in the city. That's right, we're headed to the Chicago suburbs. While it gets a bad rap, we've got a day trip planned that might have you feeling different by the end of it. You'll make your way to Long Grove, IL, about a 40 minute drive northwest of Chicago. It's home to a small downtown with rural farming charm. You'll walk through cobblestone sidewalks, munch on apple cider donuts, rummage through antiques, and have a beer in the woods.

1. Coffee @ Long Grove Coffee Co.

2. Shop @ Epilogue Arts

3. Small Plates @ Corked Wine Bar

4. Pizza and Chicken @ Joanie's Pizzeria

5. Ice Cream @ Covered Bridge Creamery

6. Beer @ Buffalo Creek Brewing

7. Apple Pies @ Long Grove Confectionary

1. Long Grove Coffee

We’ve got a lot ahead of us, so we’re starting this guide with a caffeine kick at Long Grove Coffee. Like most of the businesses here, you’ll find this coffee shop located in what looks like a traditional country farmhouse. Now imagine these types of buildings all clustered together and you’ve got downtown Long Grove in a nutshell.

In terms of coffee, their menu has all sorts of fancy coffee concoctions using beans sourced from Chicago’s very own Passion House Coffee Roasters. Apples are going to be a bit of a theme to this guide, so if you need a drink recommendation, their caramel apple latte fits the bill.

With your caramel apple latte in hand, it only makes sense to pair that with these apple cider donuts. If you’re trying to convince a friend to come with you on this trip, just show them this giant pile of donuts. If they still resist, then maybe they don’t deserve to be your friend.

2. Epilogue Arts

So right next to Long Grove Coffee is another set of shops. The first is Epilogue Arts, a small boutique and the other is Corked Wine Bar.

Starting with Epilogue, this is an eclectic arts and gifts shop, and a visit here helps capture the mood this town has to offer. If you’re in the market for a 4 foot unicorn statute, then you’re in the right place.

3. Corked Wine Bar

Right next to Epilogue is Corked Wine Bar. When we said most businesses can be found in something resembling a traditional farmhouse, we weren’t exaggerating. Corked Wine Bar is literally an old house turned wine bar and event space.

We’ve got lots of eating and drinking to do on this guide so make a brief stop here for a cheese plate and a few glasses of wine before continuing on.

4. Joanie’s Pizzeria

About a block away is another cluster of shops in an area called Mill Ponde Shoppes. After browsing around the shops, start making your way down this winding path that descends down a multi-level outdoor plaza. At the bottom you’ll find Joanie’s Pizzeria which is where we’re stopping for another round of eats.

Along the path you’ll pass by another charming wine purveyor, Broken Earth Winery. While we didn’t stop in, you could easily repurpose these plans and turn it into a mini wine crawl while your here.

When you finally make it to Joanie’s, what you’ll find on the menu is some pretty damn good pizza and chicken. So what type of pizza will you find in this Chicago suburb establishment? Detroit-style Sicilian, of course. If you haven’t had this style before it’s got this super buttery, foccacia-like crust that gives every bite an airy crunch. Not going to lie, but this definitely gives Chicago-style deep dish a run for its money.

Lastly, they do something here called broasted fried chicken. Broasted chicken is like fried chicken but it’s cooked using some proprietary method using a mix of pressure cooking and deep frying. Whatever they are doing works, because this hits the fried chicken trifecta — super crispy, nicely seasoned, and non-greasy. That’s about all you can ask for in fried chicken.

5. Covered Bridge Creamery

After pizza and fried chicken, the natural thing to do is finish things off with ice cream. So head over about two blocks and you’ll find Covered Bridge Creamery at the center of another collection of shops.

There storefront has just an insane amount of small town Americana vibes.

As far as their ice cream goes, they’ve got a rotating mix of experimental flavors. If you’re having trouble choosing, how about picking the one ice cream flavor that’s mired in fierce debate about its exact origins. I’m talking about their blue moon ice cream, which is a flavor ubiquitous to the region. There’s so much intrigue around this that you actually had a reporter from the Chicago Tribune do some deep investigative work to uncover the truth.

One theory mentioned is that this was created by a Jewish chemist who fled Nazi-controlled Austria in 1939. Another theory credits an additive used in big pharma. Who knows, but this definitely makes trying blue moon ice cream way more interesting. 

6. Buffalo Creek Brewing

Our trip continues with our penultimate stop, Buffalo Creek Brewing. This is located a bit off from the main street, and if you weren’t looking for the place, you might not even realize it was there. From the ice cream shop, just follow the sidewalk towards the gravel lot. In the corner of that lot is where you’ll find our next stop.

Opened in 2017, this place has probably become one of the Long Grove’s biggest attractions drawing folks from all around the surrounding suburbs. It all started when owner Mike Marr entered into an amateur beer competition in 2012, and after getting a good reception, turned it into this place five years later — a microbrewery with two floors of space and an alpine beer garden in the back.

Their alpine garden is the place to be when the weather is cooperating. At the center of it is a massive tent with string lights criss crossing over top.   Right outside the tent and backing up directly into the woods are communal tables and different gathering spots. You can now finally have a drink in the woods without being asked intrusive questions like “what are you doing here,” or “get off my property.”

7. Long Grove Confectionary Co.

Before you head home, make one last pit stop to pick up some goodies for the road. Right next to Long Grove Coffee, where this day started, is Long Grove Confectionary Co. It’s basically like an old-timey general store filled with chocolates, baked goods, and apple cider donuts made in-house. This place also pumps out fresh baked apple pies all day long and we’re here take one home.

Here’s their apple pie in all its glory. Good luck not trying to devour this all in one sitting.