Tag Archives: Social Frequency Media Communications

10 Reasons Why I Love Naperville Magazine and You Should Too!

Naperville Magazine_edited-1by Stuart Meyer

I grew up surrounded by the publishing business.  After my father’s early career years in radio, television and working for the local daily newspaper, he began publishing his own monthly shopper newspaper in Elizabethtown, KY which circulated continuously for over 30 years.

My favorite memories were riding around with him to visit his advertisers as they were all one big extended family to us.  As I got older and after spending enough time hanging out in his design/layout office, he taught me ad design layout… the old-fashioned way as he was somewhat of a “purist”.  No computers or desktop publishing… it was all border tape, polaroids, blue lines, matte books of artwork, hot wax, plenty of typeset and manual Royal typewriters.

Given my childhood in the family publishing business, I’ve alwaysNaperville Magazine_June 2013 Cover admired the work of Naperville magazine publisher Leah Rippe in her vision and determination over the years to build and grow a true Naperville-focused monthly magazine.  The magazine’s mantra and slogan is “Your City. Your Magazine” and they are true to their word.

Here’s my top 10 reasons why I love Naperville magazine:

10)  DESIGN worthy of a higher-end lifestyle magazine publication.

9)  Lots of LOCAL CONTRIBUTORS sharing both their talents and Naperville perspectives.

8)  Seemingly endless coverage of the LOCAL CHARITABLE EVENTS AND SOCIAL SCENE IN THE NAPERSCENE SECTION.  Our favorite challenge is to search for that rare event where our friend Ray Kinney isn’t pictured.

7)  Lots and lots of GREAT PHOTOGRAPHY.

6) I learn more about all the INTERESTING PEOPLE WHO LIVE HERE IN NAPERVILLE.

5) Publishing depends on advertising support and I admire the ways in which the magazine blends in BUSINESS STORYTELLING as part of the content.

4) Great FEATURE STORIES and commitment to COMMUNITY NEWS.

3) The magazine is truly presented from a true NAPERVILLE PERSPECTIVE.

2) From restaurant reviews, chef profiles to the Dining Out section, there’s always a strong FOOD FOCUS.

1) Come on… it’s ALL ABOUT NAPERVILLE!  Thanks Leah!

To subscribe to Naperville magazine and event eNewsletter, CLICK HERE

SM

Quick Getaways – New Glarus a Small Town Taste of Europe Less than 3 Hours Away from Naperville

 New Glarus_Train Stationby Stuart Meyer

Those who know me know how I feel about small towns.  Why spend allot of  money and vacation leave time to travel to far-off places in search of something interesting to see and experience when we are surrounded by a multitude of interesting places to experience within just a couple of hours off the well-beaten path by car.

A couple of weeks ago, our own family’s travels brought us to one such place… New Glarus_Main StreetNew Glarus, Wisconsin (Population 2,172).  Our journey into New Glarus left us feeling a bit like we were driving through Europe.   It’s no coincidence as New Glarus was settled by Swiss immigrants over 160 years ago and the town has proudly held onto their Old World Swiss heritage and traditions.  As a matter of fact, many refer to New Glarus as “Little Switzerland”.

The shops, bakery, meat market, cheese shop, hotel and restaurants situated within the historic architectural walls of New Glarus’s downtown buildings provide a wonderful combination of experiences.

New Glarus_Coffee ShopOur morning began with a craving for a nice cup of coffee and we didn’t have to look far to discover Fat Cat Coffee Works, a small coffee house situated in what appeared to be an old train depot.  The atmosphere was homey, the coffee terrific and overall it’s the kind of place that would leave any Chicago neighborhood coffee shop frothing with envy.  The interior is colorful and full of detailed touches that can only come from a small business where the owner is also the one welcoming you in from behind the counter.  Personally, I liked the 0ld arch top guitar that was hanging on the wall, which I discovered as we were leaving was perfectly tuned and ready to be played… to bad we had to move on.

Moving forward from coffee, dropped by the 100+ year-old bakery tradition of the New Glarus Bakery where the kids picked out their choice of fresh doughnuts and pastries.  I picked up a fresh loaf of sourdough bread to enjoy later on.  There is a very special place in both my heart and stomach for classic “old school” bakeries.  Where I grew up, these were the only types of bakeries long before the rise of low cost/quality, cheap ingredient-enriched industrial supermarket bakeries.

Since we were in New Glarus just for the day, we didn’t get a chance toNew Glarus_Hotel and Pizzeria experience the unique accommodations, including the New Glarus Hotel which appears to have been cut directly from the Swiss Alps and placed into downtown New Glarus.

After walking around downtown New Glarus and letting the kids burn off some energy in the park, we were ready for lunch.  While there are an array of options, we chose the Swiss-American culinary offerings at Glarner Stube (4.5 out of 5 stars on Yelp with over 50 reviews is impressive).  Once inside the modest rustic space you already feel as though you’ve been transported into a ski lodge within the  Swiss Alps.  The long bar is full of beer taps featuring nearly the full line of another local product we’ll get to in a bit.

Bring your appetite to Glarner Stube  as these authentic Swiss recipes are like a soothing wave of culinary comfort.  I ordered the Geschnetzelets “Stube Style” veal slices in a rich and creamy mushroom wine gravy with a side of Roesti, a Swiss-style fried potato dish a bit like shredded hash browns.  My wife and her sister split the traditional Weiner Schnitzel pan-fried veal cutlets with a buttery sauce.  Keeping to their Wisconsin roots, we also enjoyed some beer-battered fried cheese curds prior to the meal.  While the kids weren’t feeling adventurous, my oldest son ordered a BLT which was made with some of the most incredible bacon I’ve ever tasted.  I asked the waitress where the bacon was made, she told me just a couple of doors down at Ruef’s Meat Market where we determined would be our next stop.

New Glarus_RuefsYour first step through the door at Ruef’s Meat Market and the rich aroma of their on-premise smokehouse hits you right away.  The place reminds you of those vintage photos you see of the old-fashioned butcher shop where meat was cured and smoked mainly as a means of preserving food.  Today, meat is smoked and cured because it’s simply delicious.  Wish I had more photos to share, but unfortunately I was so enamored with the place that I forgot to take photos.  As I stared into the cases, it didn’t take long to feast my eyes on a dark-colored whole double-smoked pork belly that was just begging to be sliced.  I walked out with 2 pounds of fresh thick-cut slices of this gloriously indulgent pork.

New Glarus_BreweryThere are other historic sites and museums to experience in New Glarus, but unfortunately our time was somewhat limited.  I encourage you to check out this link to learn more about other New Glarus attractions.  Of course, there was one more stop we were interested in making during our time in town which is the home of the Spotted Cow, Cabin Fever, Two Women, Moon Man and an assortment of other characters… the New Glarus Brewery.  Over the past couple of years, I’ve become familiar with New Glarus beers during other visits to Wisconsin.  As a matter of fact, one of the things I love about New Glarus beer is you can only get it in Wisconsin… at least for now.  The brewery is certainly going through a growth spurt as construction abounds and much of the brewery you can visit as part of a self-guided tour has that new facility look-and-feel.  Nonetheless, the place has a great vibe and plenty of opportunity to sample from the source.  In their store downstairs, you can stock up on your favorite New Glarus beer styles.  On this particular day, they were selling a special 20th anniversary beer Belgian Dubbel Ale available for purchase but limited to two bottles per customer.  I recently cracked open both bottles to share with a home-brewing friend and they were outstanding.  Anyway, there is certainly a spirit of independent craft brewing pride at New Glarus and perhaps the resistance to out-of-state distribution is a testament.

So there you go, just a short drive from Naperville and you’ll feel like you’ve been around the world and back after a visit to New Glarus.  SM

Recent Visit to Naper Settlement a Reminder that Time Travel is Possible

by Stuart Meyer

Naper Settlement_Schoolhouse_FINAL

The interior of the Copenhagen Schoolhouse at Naper Settlement as it appeared in 1870. While it’s a historically accurate replica, many of the materials used are from the original schoolhouse.

Being both a filmmaker and owner of a Naperville-based production company about to move its operation into Downtown Naperville, every time I visit the grounds of Naper Settlement I continue to construct the storyline for a film which uses the Settlement as the setting.  From a production standpoint, the interiors of each building are nearly film-ready in terms of production design down to the fine details.  With just a bit of Hollywood-style magic, we could transform exteriors to a place which takes us far from the hustle and bustle of Downtown Naperville.  One day I predict we will shoot that film.

For now, anyone who doesn’t believe time travel is possible certainly hasn’t visited Naper Settlement.  Sure, you may have driven by and seen the buildings, but if you haven’t stepped foot into these magical historically-preserved spaces you are truly missing out.  The community, Naperville Heritage Society, the Museum Board and team over at the Settlement continues to do a terrific job preserving these treasures of our past bringing history to life year-round.

To the many of you who have embraced this community treasure over the years, there are many additional ways you can ensure this Naperville Legacy lives long into the future, such as (click on links):

Make a Donation for Become a Sponsor

Become a Member

Other ways to support Naper Settlement

SM

BEHIND RIBFEST – Feature-Length Documentary Film Provides All-Access Behind-the-Scenes Look at Naperville Ribfest

by Stuart Meyer

For the past 26 years, the Naperville Exchange Club has produced Naperville Ribfest as a charitable event which donates 100% of net proceeds toward the prevention of child abuse and domestic violence.  Prepare to be entertained and inspired as you journey behind-the-scenes of the Naperville Ribfest for an exclusive inside look at every aspect of this volunteer-run charitable BBQ and music festival.  Behind Ribfest  is a feature-length documentary film produced by my production company, Social Frequency Media Communications, and after making some rounds at film festivals we’ve decided to release the film online in two parts.  We hope you’ll watch and share this film with others.  Watch the film below or simply click here.

Naperville’s Q BBQ Converted Me to Chicken Wings

Q BBQ_Exterior_EDITED by Stuart Meyer

Anyone who knows me knows that I nearly have a pedigree in BBQ.  My father was a pitmaster and one-time BBQ restauranteur, I’m a backyard pitmaster, I produce BBQ food media, I shoot BBQ food photography, a couple of years ago I produced “Behind Ribfest” a feature length documentary film about Naperville Ribfest,  I’m a charter member of the Illinois BBQ Alliance, I’m a member of NBBQA and my company even manages social media efforts for one of Chicago’s legendary BBQ joints.  *Deep breath*

Needless to say, joy filled my heart last year when Q BBQ, based in LaGrange, opened its doors in one of my favorite places in the world… Downtown Naperville.  The restaurant space is a wonderful tribute to the BBQ culture, with glorious smoke aromas that cover a multi-block radius, counter service, visible stacks of wood and walls adorned with framed pages from Wyatt McSpadden’s “Texas BBQ” coffee table BBQ photography book (a must have for BBQ fanatics).

Since my first visit the first week of their opening last year, I’ve just about tried everything on the menu at least twice and they’ve really fine tuned their operation in terms of consistency and quality.  The Q BBQ  meat line-up is a deliciously flavorful salute to all the great BBQ regions, from your Carolina pulled pork complete with house made vinegar sauce to their Texas Brisket (chopped or sliced) and Smoked Sausage to their KC Burnt Ends.  Did I mention ribs?  I recommend their Memphis Sweet Sauce and you definitely don’t want to miss their more recent arrival… Smoked Turkey.  Sides include a short list of perennial BBQ favorites, including fresh cut crispy fries and mac-n-cheese with a cheese-cracker crumbled topping.

Q BBQ_Chicken Wings_EDITED

Memphis Chicken Wings at Q BBQ… heavenly!

Aside from all of the above reasons to visit Q BBQ, there is one reason that has led to an almost weekly pilgrimage into Downtown Naperville for lunch… one reason this particular menu item should on the list of 100 things to eat before you die… one reason that surprised me immensely in my love at first bite… Q BBQ‘s Memphis Chicken Wings.  Allow me to premise this obsession by saying that up until my first trip to Q BBQ shortly after they opened, I was never a big fan of chicken wings in general, but these little babies are different.  First the wings are slow-smoked to lock in that heavenly flavor, then fried with a sweet rub applied while they are still hot (I presume).  The result is a rich, smokey, lingering savory sweetness.  At my small company here in Naperville, my colleague and I have declared each Friday as “Q Wing Friday”.

Thanks to Q BBQ for bringing real deal BBQ to Downtown Naperville and to everyone else… go to Q BBQ and order some of those wings… I usually do the two-meat Q plate and add the smoked turkey.

SM

World of Naperville is Back – 143,542 Visits Strong!!!

Riverwalk_Shelby and Ben at SunsetOn May 26th, 2006 I first wrote my inaugural post in welcoming everyone to the “World of Naperville”.  This blog was born out of my frustration of feeling disconnected from the the incredible “can do” community I chose to live in and raise my family craving a sense of my former small town roots.

My daily commute was very long and there were many days during the winter months I never even saw Naperville by daylight during weekdays.   For the next 4 years, I would continue my plight to stay “virtually” involved and invested in Naperville by being a voice that documented all of the heart and soul of our community from the perspective of someone who actually lives here.

In this time, I’ve done everything I could to contribute my passion and talents to our community.  I shot and directed a documentary film about Ribfest, I’m working on a longer term documentary film about an internationally-renowned local arts icon in the world of opera and ballet, I participated in the Naperville Citizens Academy, I’ve coached little league football, exhibited my Naperville photography including 4 commissioned photos that hang in the lobby of a corporate building on Diehl Road, I’ve volunteered at my children’s elementary school, I’ve delivered a school assembly presentation about being a composer, I’ve worked with local restauranteurs producing food-based media and have observed many things that have changed and some that have not changed at all.  I’ve seen the prosperous times and the heartbreaking lows impact our community.

Over the past year or so, my posts have declined for a very good reason.  I started my own company and now work here in Naperville on a daily basis.  But now, I feel I’ve grown distant from my community by spending a little too much time in the office disconnected.  So two things are happening, first I’m renewing my mission to publish this blog and second, in the next couple of months I’m moving my office into Downtown Naperville inside the walls of one of the oldest buildings!!!  I’m very excited about the road ahead and hope you will stay tuned for more insights and observations from the World of Naperville.

With Gratitude.  SM

Small Town Flavor TV Show – Bardstown, Kentucky Series (Episodes 1-5)

Small Town Flavor is a TV show hosted by Panini Pete of Food Network fame which I created and currently produce.  The show is a beautiful portrait of a day in the life of American small towns… a dawn-to-dusk day trip journey through the one-of-a-kind history, people, places and food culture.  I hope you’ll watch, spread the word about Small Town Flavor and visit these amazing towns.  Below you’ll find episodes 1-4 of the current Bardstown, Kentucky series (featuring the music of award-winning singer/songwriter Michael Brunnock):

More series and episodes to come!  Become part our Small Town Flavor Family on the Small Town Flavor Facebook Town Page by clicking here.