As our community has continued to grow and develop over the years, I’ve seen a number of independent businesses, popular chains and franchises come to town.
There was a time, for example, when I had to go to Wisconsin to eat at Culver’s. Now we not only have a Culver’s in town, but if you drive out of town in just about any direction, it won’t be long before you pass another.
I first fell in love with Red Robin® Gourmet Burgers while on a business trip in Federal Way, Wash. There happened to be one near my hotel and after just one visit, I made a point to see if I could find one closer to home. At that time, the closest Red Robin was up in Warrenville, so I dragged my family there at the first opportunity and several thereafter.
When a new location opened in Bolingbrook, we had a shorter drive. But before long Plainfield has its own Red Robin and I have since made many visits.
Admittedly, there are a handful of restaurants and retail stores that I simply do not frequent – my personal choice. For the sake of avoiding libel issues, I will not list them here. Like you, I have not necessarily welcomed every new arrival in town.
I am far more interested in sharing my short list of businesses that I would like to see in Plainfield. So without further adieu, here are the top five places to which I travel, solely because we do not yet have them here in town.
- Trader Joe's – This specialty grocery chain won my heart with their affordable organic product offerings, to say nothing of their breads, wines and cheeses. Where else can one find a loaf of sprouted 7-grain bread and a bottle of Spanish amontillado sherry, pay for both with a $10 bill and get change back? There is a Trader Joe’s in Naperville and another in Orland Park; both are too far from me to be considered convenient.
- Meatheads Burgers & Fries – This chain presently has only half a dozen locations, all of which are in Illinois. What’s so great about Meatheads? They offer a fast food culinary experience that mere words cannot quite capture. The nearest location is in Naperville – not close enough for me.
- Big Boy Restaurant – I may be showing my age with this one. There used to be Big Boy restaurants in northern Illinois. The first Big Boy was stared in the 1930s in Glendale, Calif. There was a group of them owned by Marcus Corp. out of Wisconsin and another by Elias Brothers in Michigan, who eventually bought the entire chain. Both of those outfits are gone, though the chain still continues as Big Boy Restaurants International. This is not a fast food chain, but a family restaurant concept whose flagship meal happens to be a somewhat unique double-decker cheeseburger.
- Any Major Motorcycle Dealership – When you buy a car, you generally return to the seller when your vehicle needs service or you are thinking about buying another vehice. By comparison, motorcycle dealerships – at least the good ones – are closer to social gathering places. For example, I travel out to Fox Valley Cycles, a family-run Honda shop in Aurora, for monthly HRCA (club) meetings, to inquire about accessories for my bike and, sometimes, just to see who might be there on a given day. We don’t have a place like this. Harley-Davidson owners go to Joliet or Lisle. Japanese bike owners go to any of several dealerships in Joliet, Lockport, Aurora, Downers Grove and so on. The nearest Victory dealership is in Marengo. Ducati? Villa Park. You get the idea.
- A Decent Nightclub – Thriving centers of nightlife are few and far between in suburbia and, in that respect, Plainfield does not really trail very far behind its neighbors. On the other hand, that’s similar to saying we take third place in a field of three. Any community that offers a decent nightclub – whether for comedy, dance or live music – offers more than we do. To put it another way, good acts who play the Chicagoland nightclub circuit have nowhere to stop in Plainfield. Enough said.
This is my immediate wish list. How about yours? What would you like to see opening in Plainfield? Please share your thoughts via the comments feature below. I would really like to know your thoughts!