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Field Guide

Orland Park

From gas station carnitas to old-timey log cabins, there’s an abundance of unsung charms in this Southland burb.

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Above:Orland Grassland Photo: Michael Holtz/Chicago Tribune

It’s almost Pavlovian—you hear the words “Orland Park,” and you think of Orland Square. Yes, the mall is impressive—the massive shopping center is 1.2 million square feet and has some 150 stores. But explore other parts of the southwest suburb, and you’ll find some charming eccentricities, such as the Old Orland Historic District, which straddles the Metra tracks and features Queen Anne– and Italianate-style homes and quirky antiques shops. And here’s another surprise: Many of the settlers of the village, incorporated in 1892, came from … Luxembourg. Who knew?

Orland Park map
Illustration: Michael A. Hill
See
Space Golf
Space Golf Photo: Jeremy Hayes

1. Hostert Log Cabins

Take a trip back to the 1850s (spoiler alert: life was hard) at these two 10-by-12-foot log cabins that display tools of the pioneers, like a potato digger and a wheeljack. Also: You’ll learn what a wheeljack is.

2. John Humphrey House

This stately and, uh, haunted 19th-century American Foursquare residence was the home of the former Illinois senator widely considered the father of Orland Park.

Twin Towers Chapel
Twin Towers Chapel Photo: Orland Historical Society

3. Orland Grassland

A five-mile trail surrounds the 960-acre park, which includes one of the area’s largest native prairies (100 gently rolling acres, to be exact), shaped by a retreating glacier 12,000 years ago. Bird lovers, take note: More than 200 species flock here.

4. Space Golf

Tim Burton meets Ed Wood with a dash of Star Wars in this black-light indoor minigolf funfest.

5. Twin Towers Chapel

Yeah, it’s an unfortunate name, but it refers to the two octagonal turrets sprouting from the roof of this 1898 Queen Anne–style Methodist church. Inside, don’t miss the Louis Sullivan–esque tin ceiling.

Shop

6. Biologie Boutique

This clothing store specializes in local designers with a philanthropic bent. Bonus: Many items are eco-friendly and/or vegan. They’re affordable, too.

7. Chicago Clock Company

It’s all clocks, all the time (get it?) at this authorized Howard Miller dealer, where you can buy towering eight-foot-tall grandfathers or, if you’re into kitsch, those cute retro cats with tick-tocking tails.

8. Kay’s Old Orland Marketplace

This former bank building packs in more than 2,000 square feet of antiques and collectibles, from perfectly maintained mid-century modern furniture to Waterford Crystal collections. Don’t miss the huge vault door on the main floor.

9. Player Piano Clinic & Emporium

Dying to hear “Pennies from Heaven” or “(I’ll be with You) In Apple Blossom Time” on a Victrola? This spot can hook you up with all manner of musical antiques, including a $1,150 phonograph from the early 1900s.

Eat & Drink
Q Restaurant
Q Restaurant Photo: Courtesy of the restaurant

10. The Brass Tap

This hophead utopia has more than 60 beers on tap, including a stout aged in cabernet barrels. Yum.

11. El Mezcal Mexican Food

OK, yes, it’s in a gas station. But get over it and join the savvy locals who flock here for the melt-in-your-mouth tacos and creamy horchata.

12. Tradycja

Black-and-white photos of the Polish highlands tell you it’s authentic; the duck breast with apple mousse and raspberry-cranberry sauce tells you it’s legit (and delicious).

13. Q Restaurant

Asian fusion with a twist, such as a fajita with lobster and shrimp and mango, asparagus, tomato, and Asian vegetables.

14. Qasr Al-Deyafah

You could call a day ahead for the tender stuffed lamb. Or get the deliciously smoky baba ghanoush as takeout. But the smart diner hits the lunch buffet for $8.99.

This Month

March 13:Local breweries face off at Brass Tap during its March Beer Madness Tournament, which runs through April 2. The brewers get a point for each beer sold; you get to try artisanal suds. Everyone wins.

March 17:When the bar is named Square Celt, it’s no surprise St. Patrick’s Day features green beer, live music, Irish dancers, corned beef and cabbage, and more green beer.

March 24:Find that perfect knickknack at the village’s annual indoor garage sale from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Orland Park Civic Center.

March 24:Learn what makes the Village of Orland Park History Museum tick and how it preserves its valuable documents on the museum’s first behind-the-scenes tour.

Did You Know?

Chicago blues icon Buddy Guy lives in a 20-room house on 10 to 14 acres that he got to keep as part of his 2004 divorce settlement.

If You Want to Live Here

Population Median houshold income Median sale price (house)
56,800
(84% white, 6% Asian, 6% Hispanic, 3% black)
$86,000 $265,000

Listing of the month

10503 Misty Hill Rd.

10503 Misty Hill Rd.
Photo: Courtesy of Mike McCatty and Associates/Century 21

Asking price:$799,000

Specs:8,000 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 6 baths

Question: What can you do with a beautiful 8,000-square-foot home that boasts a wine cellar, a gym, and several outdoor decks? Answer: Anything you want.

NOTE: Real estate data are from December. SOURCES: Statistical Atlas, U.S. Census Bureau, Zillow
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