Tag Archives: World of Naperville

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

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It’s All About Food, Community and the Experience at Twisted Olive in Downtown Naperville

Twisted Olive_edited-1by Stuart Meyer

While the concept of gourmet free sample olive oil and balsamic vinegar shops is no longer novel, there is one such place tucked away in Downtown Naperville where they have turned the concept into community through equal ingredients of passion for food, a love for people and a true understanding of the ways in which food connects us.

I first discovered the The Twisted Olive , which is tucked away down the quaint alley off of South Washington Street between Jefferson Ave. and Chicago Ave., shortly after they opened their doors I believe a couple of years ago.  The owner approached my wife and I that day with that fresh and enthusiastic smile you expect in the opening days of a new business.

With the smell of fresh baguettes in the air, I listened to the owner’s vision for Twisted Olive_bottlesthe store which stretched far beyond their gourmet oils and vinegars into classes and events.  From day one, The Twisted Olive aspired to become a community space designed to bring people together using one-of-a-kind foods as the ingredient.  The space itself includes an area with plush chairs designed for planned gatherings, events or a simple reprieve while shopping.  As for their products, the weight of our bag as we exited out to the alley was a testament to the quality.  We’ve returned a number of times since our first visit and our kitchen is regularly stocked with Twisted Olive Oils and Vinegars.  More recently, they’ve also added select wines and craft beers to their experience.

My personal favorites… OLIVE OIL – Fior Fiore EVOO and Truffle; VINEGARS:  25 Year Aged Traditional Balsamic and Lemon White Balsamic.

To those unfamiliar with The Twisted Olive, you are free to sample all of their oils and vinegars to your hearts content, which is always an experience in itself.

Congratulations to the owners and team at The Twisted Olive for your continued growth in popularity and thanks for being part of the World of Naperville!

The Twisted Olive is located at 232 S. Washington Street, Suite 6.  To visit their website, CLICK HERE

SM

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

A Rare Look At Naperville’s Centennial Beach You Don’t See Often

WoN_Centennial Beach_edited-1

In 1931, during Naperville’s Centennial Celebration, an old quarry was converted into an instant community Summertime treasure.

by Stuart Meyer

Napeville’s Centennial Beach is truly a one-of-a-kind nostalgic treasure and we can thank our community and incredible Naperville Parks District for all their efforts in keeping this tradition alive.

One of our favorite Summer traditions is to pack up a picnic and head out after 5pm on a sweltering weekday with the family when the crowds have dwindled a little.  After that, it’s always fun to make the short walk into downtown for a little ice cream or indulgent cookie dough at Cookie Dough Creations.

Centennial Beach_Then & now

Centennial Beach – Then & Now. (Photos taken from the Naperville Parks District website. http://www.napervilleparks.org)

Of course, the photo above is a different look at this Naperville icon.  As we move toward Spring, I thought everyone would enjoy taking a look at this rare photo of the swimming area I took back in April of 2011 as they were getting ready for the season. SM

The Many Ways Naperville’s Kidz Kabaret Helps Our Kidz

Annie_Ben takes a Bow

My youngest son, pictured in the middle, has found his passion in theater through Kidz Kabaret.

by Stuart Meyer

As any parent knows, no two children are the same.  As a matter of fact, its been my experience that siblings tend to be opposite in personality, interests and behavior.

As a parent, my dream for my children is for them to discover their own unique dream and support them as much as I can in their journey.

While my oldest son is a natural-born competitive athlete, it’s been a process of elimination for my youngest son in his journey to discover his own unique niche.

Over the past few years, we’ve worked our way through soccer, t-ball, cub scouts, coach pitch baseball, football and pottery.  He loved the pottery class he took through our incredible Naperville Parks District and this Summer took the leap, participated in a Theater day camp at Kidz Kabaret here in Naperville and fell in love.

The one detail I’ve left out is the fact my youngest son is a pretty shy kid and often struggles in relating and communicating with other kids.  Of course, once he gets comfortable just sit back and enjoy the entertainment.

Kidz Kabaret and its 501(c)(3) Fair Lady Productions is a Naperville-based non-audition children’s theater company that began in 2003 as a summer stock performance in Executive Director Kandiss Hernandez’s backyard.  Today, their facility on Quincy Avenue is pretty incredible in terms of its size, theater and rehearsal space.

“Non-Audition” means every kid gets a chance to perform even if that means having 15 different casts each with their own performance date.  They focus on helping kids develop self-confidence while learning the many exciting aspects of theater production.

For my son, the Summer Theater Camp “Aladdin” performance at Kidz Kabaret led to the Fall program where he performed in “Annie Jr.” to the Winter program where he just finished “It’s a Fairy Tale Life” heading toward the Spring Program. We were pretty amazed by how well these pint-sized triple threats were able to put it all together with the support of the Kidz Kabaret teachers.  Even more, we were blown away to see our little shy guy acting and singing solos… on a stage… with bright lights… in front of an audience.

It’s all the more comforting to see the absence of competitiveness and the sense that the biggest stage Kidz Kabaret is preparing our children for is the stage of life… to help them build confidence, commitment and discipline… to learn how to communicate… to work together as a cast… to express themselves and to enjoy the arts.

That’s about as much as a parent could ask for.  While there are plenty of great performance arts programs and activities in and around Naperville, I’m particularly grateful for the efforts of the whole crew at Kidz Kabaret.  Special thanks to De!  

Kidz Kabaret is located at 1665 Quincy Avenue, Suite 143 in Naperville and their Executive Director is Kandiss Hernandez.  You can learn more on their website at kidzkabaret.fairladyproductions.net

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

World of Naperville Reaches 110,000 Visit Mark

In May, the World of Naperville will be celebrating it’s 5th anniversary.  To date, this little blog about our small town in a big city has surpassed the 110,000 visit mark.

While there have been months that are very active in terms of content and others not so active, I’m still very proud to be able to provide this volume of content about Naperville.  Like any town or city, we’re far from perfect and certainly have our fair share of flaws, but it’s the celebration of the unique energy, the simple moments and vitality that ultimately matters in the end.

To those who truly know the real spirit of Naperville, you know that the overwhelming majority of us are nowhere near the stereotypes and images perceived by others and depicted in some local publications.  For the most part, we’re just another Midwestern town with an affection for “community”, the belief in helping others and the desire to live in a place which provides many opportunities and ways for us to enjoy life with our friends, families and neighbors.

Given my roots, I live by the belief that there is a little bit of “small town” in every city, no matter how large.   In the end, it’s the human and social capital… the energy, the accountability and the pride of those who inhabit a block, a neighborhood, a town or a city… which makes a community extraordinary and these are qualities which simply cannot be purchased with money at any price.

SM