Best of the ‘Burbs

(page 4 of 5)

The Best of Libertyville 

BEST ALFRESCO DINING
OUT TO LUNCH IN COOK PARK
The patio at 545 North Bar & Grill stands as the obvious spot for a meal under the sky. But the more communitarian choice takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Friday through the end of August in downtown Libertyville, when local restaurants and treat purveyors set up makeshift operations and turn Cook Park into a rollicking outdoor food fest.

BEST DESTINATION SHOPPING
KATHRYN KERRIGAN
A year ago, Kathryn Kerrigan, a 29-year-old Libertyville native and former Lake Forest College basketball player, returned home to set up a cozy boutique featuring apparel and her handcrafted line of women’s shoes made in Spain in sizes up to 15. 741 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 847-557-5067, kathrynkerrigan.com

BEST THING TO DO WITH KIDS
LAMBS FARM
Originally a pet store on State Street in Chicago that gave adults with developmental disabilities a place to work and grow, Lambs Farm is now a family destination with a pet store, farmyard, petting zoo, restaurant, and bakery. Families can spend the day walking through the red barn buildings viewing farm animals, riding the miniature train, and feeding the sheep, lambs, and goats. 14245 W. Rockland Rd.; 847-362-4636, lambsfarm.org

BEST PLACE FOR A DIP
LAKE MINEAR BEACH
Situated on a small private lake in the middle of town, Lake Minear Beach is a former gravel pit that for the past 52 years has been a spring-fed oasis for families insightful enough to join the local boat club that owns it (just $150 for the summer). Groomed and sandy, the beach is a tiny stretch of summer bliss. Oak Spring Road and Appley Avenue; 847-680-8897, lmbeach.com

BEST BEER
MICKEY FINN’S BREWERY
Mickey Finn’s is not your average beer bar; it’s a serious microbrewery that cranks out an average of 28 different styles of beer over the course of the year. The better-than-average menu of pub grub and steady flow of loyal regulars already foretell a good time, but the always-on-tap house stout—rich, dark, and smoother than Guinness—delivers it. 412 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 847-362-6688, mickeyfinnsbrewery.com

BEST PARK
INDEPENDENCE GROVE
Part of the impressively large Lake County Forest Preserves, the sprawling Independence Grove offers parky fun of just about any sort humanly (or caninely) imaginable. In it, you’ll find a pristine lake, a section of the 31-mile trail connecting Lake Cook Road to the Wisconsin border, 400 feet of sand beach, and a nearby 30-acre park dedicated to off-leash recreation for dogs. 16400 W. Buckley Rd.; 847-968-3499

BEST NEW RESTAURANT
MAIN STREET SMOKEHOUSE
This storefront 50-seater apparently filled a gaping void in the Libertyville restaurant scene, considering that residents bought out its first-day supply of ribs when it opened on Memorial Day. The dry-rub baby back ribs and brisket taste authentic to their respective traditions, and we secretly love the slightly strange appetizer mash-up: the pulled pork quesadilla. 536 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 847-247-4330