Are There Too Many Restaurants in Downtown La Grange?

La Grange has become known as a destination for great food in the west suburbs, but are restaurants overcrowding everyone else?

This is a problem that, actually, is not really a problem at all, right? Can we really have too many restaurants in downtown La Grange to choose from?

The downtown area has become a destination for diners in the western suburbs due to a wealth of great food and great options. Still, some residents have told me they're still hungry for something more. Specifically, residents seem to want more retail options in the village's downtown area. I don't think any La Grange resident wants to see a restaurant close, but it does sound like some want more diversity.

What do you think?

Vote in our poll below and tell us in comments if there is a specific store or type of business you'd like to see more of. Tell our readers about businesses which have closed in the past that you would love to see reopen? Or, tell us about your favorite store in another town, you wish would open here!

Bruno Fontana May 30, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Does anyone remember what the downtown was like before? Has anyone been to DT RIverside ?? Restaurants are the life's blood of the small towns providing tax revenue & employment. Would you rather see a McDonalds or a Yum Brand(KFC,etc). We'll save America's unhealthy eating habits for another day. Support the local restaurants AND support the small shops Buy something once in a while from them will ya? Would you like to see a WalMart where Borders was instead? Accordingly, and I've posted this before, what IS needed are a better Police presence. I dont like to see kids jacked up on Starbucks swimming in the fountain at 10:00 on a Saturday night when I'm walking with my wife. I've written to our mayor and been assured the coverage is sufficient...I disagree. It does keep people away. So parents-curb your kids so the rest of us dont have to suffer. To everyone else-support our local businesses!
Mary Jane May 30, 2012 at 02:33 PM
I have three adult children now who grew up here. I think there is plenty of police presence. The kids have got to go somewhere. Although perhaps now there's more kids coming from other towns which could be a problem. My kids tended to wander LaGrange Rd when they were younger and couldn't drive (junior high). It is their town too! We like having restaurants although there's only a handful that have good food in our opinion. The one shop I really miss is Great Harvest Bread. They have fantastic healthy bread that you just can't get in the grocery store. The closest one is now in Palos Hills. In Oregon, we went to a Great Harvest that served sandwiches made on the bread, and I think that could work here because we don't have a deli. Oak Park used to have a Great Harvest, it left and Red Hen moved in which I think is a similar concept and is doing well. I don't understand why we seem to have so many candy stores. Most of them go out of business and then another one opens up...
Mouse May 30, 2012 at 02:50 PM
I don't know how many restaurants are "too many" but I do know that most of the ones we have are "too mediocre". I actively avoid downtown La Grange now because parking is insane and I'm tired of almost being run down by idiots in their SUVs yapping and texting on their phones instead of looking where they are going. That includes in the parking garage.
Kate May 30, 2012 at 03:05 PM
If anything La Grange needs a new bar or two for the younger crowd... I hate having to drive to Kenny's, Brixie's, Brookfield Bars, etc. because the median age in any restaurant/bar in La Grange is 50.
Bruno Fontana May 30, 2012 at 04:12 PM
If I may..have you ever driven past a Kennys or Brixies in the morning? There's broken beer bottles, cigarette buts, etc. As a 50 year old, may i respectfully chime in that we tend to know when to say when and leave a place peaceably as opposed to having to "take it outside". With age comes widsdom. No doubt there are well behaved kids around town. I'm not advocating Footloose style justice but again if you have kids your probably a little partial(ie blind) to the problem. "Thats just kids being kids"....not really. Post a picture of a cop on the LG strip at 10:00pm on a Saturday night & I'll ammend my opinions.
Cindy P. May 30, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Can't we just go back to the "chicken debate". It seemed less ridiculous!
Mouse May 30, 2012 at 05:20 PM
That would be the fault of the "Kennys" or "Brixies" management, not just the patrons. And the problem with kids is the parents. These are the same self-absorbed mopes who honk at you crossing the street in...a crosswalk! . At some point downtown La Grange collapses under its own greed and we start over. That's what happened last time and it's coming soon. Landlords are getting wildly greedy and so is the Village.
Matthew Hendrickson (Editor) May 30, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Ha! Thanks Cindy.
Matthew Hendrickson (Editor) May 30, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Jeez, people in this poll are really missing their music and book stores. It'd be great if a little record store like the former Beautiful Day moved to downtown La Grange, don't you think? A Barbara's books would be cool too.
Bruno Fontana May 30, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Mouse...I mean no disrespect but I just have to goof on this for a minute: When you say "collapse and start over" do you mean like a post apocolyptic Road Warrior type of scenario..Just on LG road from say Ogden to 47th? Like ruins? Zombies? I gotta know! As for music...sorry dude, thank the king of the 1pct'rs..Steve Jobs & Apple for crushing free enterprise, vinyl, cd's,etc. I go back to Mouse's comments above "greed, collapse,etc". The record store has gone the way of the powdered wig. Cd's wont be made in a couple of years anyway-its a fact, all going digital. They just keep them around for our generation (Thats from an industry report btw). Ok...come on...back to Chicken!...Chicken Basket rules!
Matthew Hendrickson (Editor) May 30, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Personally, I'd prefer the Road Warrior scenario, Anthony. Zombies are way creepier. But I'd have to disagree slightly about the record store. Vinyl sales are actually growing. I'd agree I'm not prepared to abandon my digital music player for convenience, but an MP3 just doesn't have as good of sound. As more things go digital, I'd expect people will still want something physical... for awhile at least.
Mouse May 30, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Matthew, that's the last thing(s) La Grange wants downtown. Not enough sales tax money. The way rents have skyrocketed there is no way one of those could survive there today anyway. . Answering Anthony P. (below), I remember pre-TIF and what La Grange looked like prior to Cafe 36 (the original one at 36 S. La Grange Rd. with the eclectic menu) proving the concept that people would actually come here for a "fine dining experience". Sadly, that experience has been replaced by mundane restaurants with indifferent servers and loud, stupid patrons. Prasino had a good chance but blew it; the owners clearly have moved onto expanding the franchise and are not paying as much attention to the La Grange outlet, and everything else along La Grange Road is in a race to the bottom. About the only interesting place left is The Grapevine, but that isn't on La Grange Rd. . At least Western Springs seems to be embracing what La Grange has lost...Vie is world class (and recognized as such) while Mécénat is up and coming, bordering on brilliant. Plus, you can park right in front without risking your life.
Bruno Fontana May 30, 2012 at 07:21 PM
I never thought...but somehow feared that the Zombie Apocolypse would start in our town.....As for music....I do miss he ceremony of vinyl. Going to the store, then back home into the basement, putting an album on and having to listen to a whole side of music! Then, side two was a completely different adventure. It required patience. This brings me back full circle to kids, indifferent parents, jacked up on Starubucks, short attention span, bad diet, swimming in the fountain, lawlessness?...like Mouse says, it all starts with mediocre dining choices.
Earl Gough May 30, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Some seem to be too expensive. However, regarding the number, let the free market decide and the building owners rent to those they want. Successful restaurants will survive and others will not. It's not the business of the Village to interfere. (We've already lost Dr. Hura's office, Breen Cleaners, Wendy's, George's Gas Station, Discount Tire, etc.) If anything, the Village (as well as the schools) should be doing what it can to reduce property taxes which will help drive many businesses and homeowners out of the area.
KGS May 31, 2012 at 05:47 PM
“Nobody goes there anymore; it’s too crowded.” Yogi Berra- That said- I think the old Borders would make a great comedy club/perfromance arts centre. ( Spelled the fancy way.) I am not really interested in more rinky dink shops.
Matthew Hendrickson (Editor) May 31, 2012 at 09:27 PM
I like that idea, KGS! Western Springs is able to support a local theater. Might give the kids that everyone complains about in downtown La Grange something to do as well.
Nick Cosentino June 01, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Great Idea KGS...and as far as "too many"restaurants, who wrote this piece? Is the author simple minded or just out of touch? First of all, the smaller shops won't rent there because of two things...high rents for their kind of business and NOBODY shops there! They'd rather go to a mall. If anything the restaurant bring in needed revenue and attractions to those little botique shops or they would go out of business! And as far as excellent places to eat there are plenty...better than Oak Park. There's Nickson's (excellent), Bella Bacino's (off the charts good with a great wine list), Blueberry Hill (you can't get better for breakfast), Prasino's (superb)...and that's just to name a few. This is a ridiculous and totally generalized article. How old is the author...15?
Bruno Fontana June 01, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Right on Nick...Again, support the locals. The LG strip was a ghost town back in the day. Barring the kids in the fountain (sorry parents), look at Oak Park-Madison St., Elmhurst, those towns are thriving-people love going there. At the end of the day commerce rules! That being said...I am not part of the 1 pct but I'm trying! Oh yeah-dont forget the Pet Parade this w-end! Get out there & support the town.
Matthew Hendrickson (Editor) June 01, 2012 at 07:32 PM
I wrote the article, but it's just posing a simple question to take the pulse of the community and to create some discussion. I have nothing against the downtown restaurant scene in La Grange—I LOVE it! I've just heard recently from some residents who seemed to be say they would like to see some more boutiques in the village (a few have closed recently). I don't think the majority want LESS restaurants, just more options and diversity overall. From time to time when I pick up on trends like this from my conversations around town, I like to throw them out to the readers and get their thoughts. Thanks for providing yours!
derek denton June 01, 2012 at 08:08 PM
I grew up in Lagrange, I now I am 43. Does anyone remember Murray's party time? It was on the block where that 7-11 closed recently. Great kid friendly store. There used to be two pizza joints for kids to hang out at. One was in Calender court next to where the sushi restaurant is now.Sandwich court I think it was called? I played pong there! The other pizza joint was by Stone avenue station. It was a carve your initials in a giant wood booth kinda place.. I spent all my paper route money playing Defender there. I guess kids are all gaming at home these days.
Matthew Hendrickson (Editor) June 01, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Thanks Derek. Have you been over to Galloping Ghost in Brookfield? I wish we had something like that in La Grange. It's not far, but it would definitely be a cool thing to have downtown. They have all the old classics it seems, and it's usually packed with kids. Just wish they had some pinball!
Jean Kuhn June 01, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Mary Ann, Have you tried Aricelle's Bakery (pretty sure I spelled that wrong), but it is the store front that was Great Harvest? It is fantastic. I think there is great diversity in restaurant choices, Greek, Italian, Mexican, BBQ, Burgers, Mediterrian, Noodles, Bakeries, Pizza, etc. I live in Naperville, but because I own a business in LaGrange, and I do try to support that community when we eat out because the community supports me. Oh and I agree about too many candy stores. Fannie May and the one on Calendar St should close. Wink, Jean Kuhn Owner, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
Matthew Hendrickson (Editor) June 01, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Ha. Thanks Jean! Just had a great sandwich at Aracely's Bakery the other day. And yeah, the diversity of food in La Grange is what I love about it the most. Whatever your craving, this village will satisfy it! Those with a sweet tooth should definitely swing by Rocky Mountain (the chocolate factory, not the mountain range)!
OakLawnian June 01, 2012 at 11:47 PM
I think there is a good variety of restaurants in La Grange (however it could use a good wings place). What's lacking is the retail. Being a 30something woman, I don't see any shops that I would go into for myself. I usually just shop at The Urban Mutt for my dogs (which is great cause they have everything including homemade doggie cupcakes) and Hallmark once and a while. Other than that, most of the store are lacking in their offerings. La Grange needs at least one name brand womens clothing store such as Chicos, Ann Taylor LOFT or White House Black Market. There are a few clothing store such as Hot Rags (but I'm not 16), D'Oliva's (if I was going to prom), or that super small resale shop (that never seems to be open). Maybe I'm missing something. If anyone thinks there's more, I'm happy to check them out.
Matthew Hendrickson (Editor) June 02, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Hey OakLawnian! My suggestion would be to check out Vintage Charm at the corner of Hillgrove and Brainard avenues. It's not in downtown, but it might be just what you're looking for. Another would be Mary Anne's Shoppe at Calender Court and La Grange Road. Readers what are your favorites? Throw a local boutique a bone and tell this reader where you like to shop!
derek denton June 02, 2012 at 07:04 AM
Vintage Charm used to be an old school corner drugstore I bought candy from as a kid. Vintage and Charm are also adjectives I use to describe LaGrange, it oozes out of it pores.
Tom June 02, 2012 at 01:33 PM
OK, everyone. Stop your typing right now and go check out the pet parade. That's exactly what LG is all about. See you there!
Matthew Hendrickson (Editor) June 02, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Thanks Tom! Headed out right now!


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