FARM TO FARM TABLE
Locavore brings the table to the farm in peaceful rural Kankakee County.
When you daydream about where to spend your precious weekends or your much-needed vacation, what's the first thing that pops into your mind? Is it the thought of digging into mouthwatering dishes at a quirky restaurant that serves mind-blowing martinis? Or perhaps you picture yourself in a bustling bar scene, sipping on imaginative cocktails that make your taste buds dance? But hold on, what if you're someone who's on the alcohol-free express? Planning your dining and nightlife adventures during your trips can feel like navigating a tricky maze. Well, folks, worry not because Kankakee County is home to some cool cats in the business world who are all aboard the sober travel trend!
You might have heard of Dry January, Sober October, and No-Booze November, but Kankakee County is on a mission to offer our alcohol-free pals a year-round good time. And they're doing it in style! One of the ways they're doing this is through a fresh-to-the-scene crew called The AF (Alcohol Free) Social + Life. This isn’t your typical group; it’s a non-profit designed to bring together ladies who are on all sorts of journeys with alcohol. Whether you're just peeking at the sober life, questioning your relationship with booze, or a seasoned pro at the sobriety game, The AF has got your back.
The combined creativity of Sarah Marion and Laura Goodale-Platt brought the two different branches of The AF group to life. First up, we've got The AF Social, where they throw monthly shindigs that are all about adventure, camaraderie, and connection - and guess what? You don't need a drink in hand to have a blast. Everybody's invited to the party, and you can snag a spot by registering on their website or Facebook group. Now, onto the second part of this stellar crew: The AF Life. This one's for the players that are ready to take the next step on the alcohol-free journey. With a membership, you get a safe space to spill the tea on your struggles with alcohol, the shame, and everything else in between. Perks include The AF Sacred Circle, chill Sunday strolls or coffee meetups, an Empowered AF Life Newsletter, exclusive GroupMe access, sweet discounts on AF Social events, and the cherry on top - 10% of your membership dues go to Women United, a local United Way affinity group. Now, that's a win-win!
The AF Social + Life gang hits up spots all over the Chicagoland area to showcase the endless ways you can have a blast without the booze. But we're about to introduce you to some homegrown Kankakee County gems that are riding the alcohol-free wave!
Let's start with the newbie on the block, Stefari West Ave. These folks decided to shake things up in the spring of '23. They moved a couple of blocks and gave their place a makeover, transforming from a morning-to-afternoon breakfast and lunch spot into a full-on breakfast, lunch, and dinner joint. But here's where it gets exciting – they didn't just stop at expanding their food menu. They went all out and launched a brand-new drinks menu. And guess what? It's got a boatload of creative cocktails AND... a treasure trove of MOCKTAILS! You heard that right. Stefari spotted the need for our alcohol-free pals to sip on something fancy during brunch, lunch, or dinner, and they've got you covered.
You can take your pick from their crafty juice blends or go for the zero-proof spirits – either way, your taste buds will be buzzing (and only your taste buds, we promise).
Check out these hotspots that are making the sober scene sizzle!
First up, we've got On the Rox, that local bar right by the Kankakee River. They've stepped up their game and are dishing out some seriously handcrafted mocktails and zero-proof spirits. Picture this: you're chilling on their deck, taking in those river views, and sipping on a tasty zero-proof drink. It's the perfect end to an autumn night!
And don't miss out on Knack Brewing & Fermentations, our friendly neighborhood brewery. They're not leaving our booze-free buddies out in the cold. While you're soaking in those crisp autumn breezes on their brand-new four-season beer patio or vibing out in their eclectic tasting room, you can pick from handcrafted sodas, a lip-smacking NA IPA, or a stress-busting CBD-infused concoction. Cheers to variety!
Now, let's talk about The Well in Manteno. It's not your average joe coffee joint. Sure, they've got the usual latte suspects, but they also serve up a killer selection of lemonades and energy teas. And here's the kicker: the atmosphere here is so darn welcoming, it fills not just your cup, but your spirit too. Who knew a coffee shop could do that? Well, The AF Social + Life group does because it’s one of the spots they gather frequently!
Kankakee County is breaking out the big guns in the sober-friendly department, and it's just the beginning of the adventure. From riverside mocktails to brewery delights and soul-filling coffee shop experiences, we're on the verge of something fantastic. And we can't wait to see how this sober trend keeps our favorite businesses evolving and grooving with the times. So, if you're up for some alcohol-free fun, come on down, sip on some zero-proof magic, and let's see where this wild ride takes us!