The Best of Oak Park!

farmersmarketCMYKBy Julie Chyna

We asked, you answered! Hundreds of Oak Parkers responded to our online poll about their local favorites. Here are the results of that poll—see if your picks were at the top of the list!

Best Oak Park dinner spots
Best Oak Park lunch spots
Best Oak Park breakfast spots
Best Oak Park shop for women
Best Oak Park shop for men
Best Oak Park shop for kids
Best Oak Park elected official
Best Oak Park business owner
Best Oak Park summer events
Best cup of coffee in Oak Park
Best outdoor spot to relax in Oak Park
Best indoor spot to relax in Oak Park
Best place to stop for a drink in Oak Park
Best place to exercise in Oak Park
Best non-Frank Lloyd Wright house in Oak Park
Best “hidden gem” in Oak Park
Best Oak Park business overall


Best Oak Park dinner spots:

  1. Maya del Sol
  2. (tie) Cucina Paradiso and Winberie’s
  3. Marion Street Market
  4. New Rebozo
  5. Hemmingway’s Bistro
  6. Trattoria 225
  7. Sen Sushi
  8. Kinderhook Tap
  9. Lake Street Kitchen + Bar
  10. The Little Gem Café

Downtown Oak Park and the Avenue have the highest concentration of restaurants, but it seems that Oak Parkers like to grab a meal at spots all over Oak Park. The top 10 choices featured establishments from the north, south, east, west, and center of our Village.
PhotobyMDS200957
Best Oak Park lunch spots:

  1. Winberie’s
  2. Munch
  3. Erik’s Deli
  4. (tie) Buzz Café and Jerusalem Café
  5. Prairie Bread Kitchen
  6. Avenue Ale House
  7. Poor Phil’s and Red Hen Bread
  8. Aripo’s Venezuelan Arepa House
  9. Marion Street Market
  10. (tie) Kinderhook Tap, Lake Street Kitchen + Bar, and Sen Sushi


Best Oak Park breakfast spots:

  1. George’s Family Restaurant
  2. Delia’s Kitchen
  3. Buzz Café
  4. Al’s Grill
  5. Hemmingway’s Bistro
  6. Winberie’s
  7. Cozy Corner
  8. (tie) Erik’s Deli, Poor Phil’s, Sugar Fixe
  9. Onion Roll
  10. (tie) Prairie Bread Kitchen and Red Hen Bread

Best Oak Park shop for women:lively shoes

  1. Lively Running
  2. Trends
  3. Muse
  4. Gem
  5. Careful Peach
  6. Filoni
  7. Nora’s Shoe Shop
  8. Sanem
  9. Studio 8
  10. Only She

Best Oak Park shop for men:

  1. Trends
  2. Beer Shop
  3. Careful Peach
  4. Studio 8
  5. Fleet Feet
  6. Brown Elephant
  7. Art Gecko
  8. Green Home Experts
  9. Hoodoo Headwear
  10. The Irish Shop

IMG_1262Best Oak Park shop for kids:

  1. Geppetto’s Toy Box
  2. Sugarcup Trading
  3. Magic Tree Books
  4. Pumpkin Moon
  5. The Book Table

Books are a popular purchase for Oak Park kids, with two of our independent bookstores making the top five.

Best Oak Park elected official:

  1. Anan Abu-Taleb (Village President)
  2. Colette Lueck (Village Trustee)
  3. Bob Tucker (Village Trustee)
  4. (tie) Peter Barber (Village Trustee), Don Harmon (State Senator), Teresa Powell (Village Clerk), Adam Salzman (Village Trustee)
  5. (tie) Glenn Brewer (Village Trustee), Ali ElSaffar (Township Assessor), Andrea Ott (Village Trustee), Jeff Weissglass (District 200 Board Member)

Clearly we have good representation in the community. Other officials who made the list were: Matt Baron (OPPL Trustee), David Boulanger (Township Supervisor), Mary Cozzens (Township Trustee), Rupa Datta (District 97), LaShawn Ford (State Representative), James Gates (District 97 Board Member), John Gearen, Sr. (former Village President, 1969, 1973), John Hedges (former Village Trustee), Sandy Lentz (Park District Board Member), Carmenza Millan (Oak Park Public Library Trustee), Jackie Moore (District 200), Jim O’Connor (District 97), Sharon Patchak-Layman (former District 200 Board Member), and Kristyna Ryan (Cook County judge).

Best Oak Park business owner:

  1. Kellie Scott (Divine Consign)
  2. Anne and Kate Pezalla (Lively Running)
  3. Laura Maychruk (Buzz Café)
  4. Ali Haynes (The Barre Code)
  5. Corazon Ballantine (The Mama Tribe)
  6. Melody Kratz (Studio 8)
  7. Heather Anderson (Muse)
  8. Karen Morava (Careful Peach)
  9. (tie) Amy Renzulli (School of Rock) and Nicole Sopko (Yoga Trek)
  10. Jason Smith and Rachel Weaver (The Book Table)

The fact that Oak Parkers know the names of so many business owners just shows what great community members these owners are. Other beloved Oak Park business owners include: Val Camilletti (Val’s Halla Records), Chloe Cunningham and Talley Hann (Oak Park Friends School), Barbara Dolan (Derby Lite), Mike and Ron Fox (Carleton Hotel), Mitch Goldstein (Oak Park Bath & Kitchen), Chef Paco (New Rebozo), Kristen Stafford (Balance Fitness Studio), Michelle Vanderlaan (Sugarcup Trading)

Best Oak Park summer events:

  1. Sunday Concerts at Scoville Park
  2. Day in the Village
  3. (tie) Festival Theater in Austin Gardens and Thursday Night Out
  4. (tie) Farmers Market and Micro Brew & Food Review
  5. July 4th GALA Fireworks
  6. Uncork Illinois
  7. Silent Movies on the Porch at Pleasant Home
  8. July 4th parade
  9. (tie) Oaktoberfest and What’s Bloomin’ on Harrison
  10. (tie) Art in the Park and the Summer Library Adventure for Kids

Best cup of coffee in Oak Park:

  1. Buzz Café
  2. Sugar Fixe
  3. Red Hen Bread
  4. Prairie Bread Kitchen
  5. Delia’s
  6. 206 Waffle Truck/206 Café
  7. Eastgate Café

The Oak Parker staffers appreciate a good cup of coffee, so none of these were a surprise. But we were especially pleased to see south Oak Park’s newest breakfast spot, 206 Café, make the list so soon after its opening.

PhotobyMDS200996Best outdoor spot to relax in Oak Park:

  1. Scoville Park
  2. Mills Park
  3. Austin Gardens
  4. Taylor Park
  5. Lindberg Park
  6. Rehm Park
  7. Rehm Pool
  8. (tie) Farmers Market and Pleasant Home
  9. (tie) FFC Rooftop Patio, Kinderhook Tap, and Poor Phil’s
  10. Barrie Park

While our beautiful parks took up most of the top spots on this list, a few respondents favored their own space, listing “my garden,” “our block party,” and “my back deck” as their favorite locations.

Best indoor spot to relax in Oak Park:

  1. Oak Park Public Library – Main Branch
  2. Pleasant Home
  3. Conservatory
  4. Lake Theatre
  5. (tie) Maze Branch and Dole Branch of the Library

Best place to stop for a drink in Oak Park:

  1. Poor Phil’s
  2. Kinderhook Tap
  3. Maya del Sol
  4. Avenue Ale House
  5. Beer Shop
  6. Lake Street Kitchen + Bar
  7. Marion Street Market
  8. Winberie’s
  9. Hemmingway’s Bistro
  10. Bar Louie

Best spot to exercise in Oak Park:

  1. FFC
  2. Barre Code
  3. Yoga Trek
  4. Orangetheory Fitness
  5. Tennis & Fitness Centre
  6. Rehm Park
  7. Bicycling around town
  8. West Cook YMCA
  9. Parks
  10. Outdoors

Many Oak Parkers visit popular fitness centers around town, but it seems that a lot of runners, walkers, and cyclists also like to use our parks, streets, and sidewalks as their gyms.

Best non-Frank Lloyd Wright house in Oak Park:

  1. The Burton Hales home
  2. Pleasant Home
  3. Cheney Mansion
  4. The Frank E. Long home
  5. Oak Park Public Library – Main Branch

Pleasant HomeBest “hidden gem” in Oak Park:

  1. Yoga Trek
  2. Oak Park Art League
  3. Pleasant Home
  4. Mama Tribe
  5. (tie) Divine Consign and Studio 8
  6. Mills Park Tower
  7. Conservatory
  8. Hole in the Wall Frozen Custard
  9. Oak Park Festival Theater
  10. Carnivore

Best Oak Park business overall:

  1. (tie) Divine Consign and Lively Running
  2. Geppetto’s Toy Box
  3. The Book Table
  4. Studio 8
  5. Careful Peach and Winberie’s
  6. Buzz Café and Yoga Trek
  7. Community Bank
  8. Felony Franks
  9. Muse
  10. Magic Tree Books

We hope you saw some of your favorites on these lists, and learned about some other Oak Park people and places that you didn’t know of until now. Oak Park and Oak Parkers truly are the best.

Julie Chyna is executive editor of The Oak Parker.

Photos by Michael D. Stewart.