Top Five Businesses I would like to see come to Plainfield:

There are certain businesses to which I travel well beyond the boundaries of our fair village only because such places do not exist within said boundaries.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

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Lea Anne Stoughton May 16, 2011 at 11:17 AM
Five Guys Burgers and Fries! And I second your Trader Joe's vote.
David Fiday May 16, 2011 at 03:03 PM
Michael, I have always wondered why Olive Garden has not come to Plainfield- the corner of Renwick and Rt 30 would have been perfect-- instead of another awful Gas City!! Yucko! I second the Meatheads vote now that I have been there. David Fiday
Lori Janiec May 16, 2011 at 03:15 PM
I would love me a Portillo's!!! But maybe it's a good thing that they're so far away...hahaha The Meatheads vote has got me too! I'm sad we lost our scrap book store...SCRAP PAPER SCISSORS.
Lori Janiec May 16, 2011 at 03:18 PM
I prefer Meathead's to 5 guys.
Michael G. D'Aversa May 16, 2011 at 06:12 PM
Situation, I can only quote the Meatheads Manifesto, published on their website, which includes these words: "Real steakhouse burgers, hand-formed, made-to-order. Natural, never-frozen, 100% Angus beef." Truth in advertising laws aside, I have not yet sensed a frozen patty there. But hey, what do I know... Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Lea Anne Stoughton May 16, 2011 at 09:50 PM
Hmmm...as an amateur burgerologist, I'm going to have to try Meatheads. Strictly in the interests of science, you understand.
Jim Cowan May 17, 2011 at 06:51 PM
I'd add Chik-Fil-A to the list (I'm from Mississippi), as well as P F Changs.
Jerry May 18, 2011 at 01:50 AM
Funny, my wife and I were having this conversation a few days ago. We agree that PF Changs would be a very dangerous thing. Olive Garden and Chipotle are tops on our list. We remembered how excited we were when Chili's came and you had to wait an hour for a table at BWW!
Lea Anne Stoughton May 18, 2011 at 03:23 AM
Is this a serious list, or are you trying to make a point?
Michael G. D'Aversa May 18, 2011 at 04:20 AM
I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this list, conscience. Your vision for this community seems... unique. But look on the bright side: we already have a microbrewery and several liquor stores.
Michael G. D'Aversa May 18, 2011 at 04:25 AM
Hey Jim and Jerry, there must be something to this P F Changs. I have never been to one, but I guess I'll have to try it.
Michael G. D'Aversa May 18, 2011 at 04:29 AM
I have not yet tried Five Guys, but my son recently did and gave them pretty high marks. I apparently need to broaden my burger horizons.
jaw May 19, 2011 at 02:01 PM
I think we do need better food establishment's in Plainfield, but let's not over due it on the burger joints. I mean a Red Robin, Meatheads, 5 Guy's, Culvers and Portillo's .. Come on now! Lets mix it up.. Yes Olive Garden, and a PF Chang's would be great and it would give us a break from all the burgers. Then again I think we do need to stay home and cook as well, But that's just me....
Michael G. D'Aversa May 19, 2011 at 11:33 PM
I agree with you on all points, jaw. Even though I love good burger joints, I think we need more than just more burger joints and since I enjoy cooking, I'm a fan of staying home and doing that, too.
Jerry May 20, 2011 at 02:31 AM
Good one, situation. But I would eat off the floor at Larry's before I would eat anything out of the kitchen at Westfield Family Rest.
Sheila Raddatz May 20, 2011 at 02:31 PM
I have solicited the village board to think outside of the box. Plainfield needs something different to attract people away from Naperville/Oswego/Joliet/etc. and in to Plainfield. Opening more fast food joints is going to share the profits, which is good but I think it is time for the big guns. My suggestion was to target the Food Network stars and attract new business. Guy Fieri has a huge following in Illinois, he has restaurants in different states, why not open up here? Can you image what kind of money our area would generate if we had a Paula Deen option here, too? We need restaurants of substance that will make higher profits with less traffic. Problem is, the restaurants need a reason to build here and Plainfield, for whatever reason, will not give it to them. I am told that Plainfield already chased Portillos out twice, by the way. They chose White Castle instead.....
Becca May 20, 2011 at 05:58 PM
I would love more healthy dining out options including Sweet Tomato, Mongolian BBQ or Chipotle. And I love the Trader Joes suggestion! It would also be great to have the shops in the downtown area open when the restaurants are open (evenings, weekends) so that working people can support those local businesses.
Religious Teeth May 21, 2011 at 02:15 AM
How about a DENTIST office or a CHURCH? I can't seem to find any in Plainfield ;)
Michael G. D'Aversa May 21, 2011 at 02:44 AM
...to say nothing of banks. {8^D
Jerry May 21, 2011 at 04:39 AM
...and nail salons...and physical therapy places...
Lori Janiec May 21, 2011 at 01:29 PM
I am TOTALLY with you on Sweet Tomatoes or Mongolian BBQ, but these establishments like to spread out more...and they already have stores in Naperville....you know, the end all - be all of DuPage County. *sigh* As far as big name Food Network chefs...I've always wondered why Chicago doesn't have any of their restaurants. I've eaten at Bobbie Flay's BURGER PALACE out on Long Island, and that would fit in Chicago, beautifully, but sadly, they can't/won't come to Chicago, let alone a small little burg like Plainfield. How about another strip mall, Plainfield?
d2quinn May 21, 2011 at 05:00 PM
My Conscience, Please move out... maybe to the middle of some skanky trailer city.


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