Friday, June 12, 2009

Downtown Itasca, like small-town America

I for one had never heard of Itasca until we started looking for apartments in northern DuPage County. While we ended up in the next town over, we've been to Itasca several times now, and I'm realizing I'd like to spend more time there.

As people who've read this blog know, I like towns with some character, and with a centralized downtown business district that has an array of unique, local stores. While Itasca has a large office park right off I-290 and several large corporate headquarters, it also has an adorable, small downtown just a couple miles away.

The downtown area is centered around Irving Park Blvd and Walnut St., which is also where the Metra station is located. There are a few stores, some condos, and multiple restaurants and eateries. We've eaten at -- and I've reviewed -- Tree Guys Pizza & Pub already; tonight we went for some ice cream.

Delia's Deli and Ice Cream, at 100 N. Walnut St., is a small shop in the old Village Hall building. They offer a variety of deli sandwiches (made with Boar's Head meat and cheese), panini, soup and salad. They also have about a dozen hard ice cream flavors, soft serve fro-yo, milkshakes, sundaes and "tornadoes".

The ice cream was delicious, creamy and flavorful but not too rich. The sandwiches sounded tempting and we may have to return for some subs. Service was friendly.

And since we missed the turn onto Walnut, we swung around back and discovered a wine bar and shop in the same building, right behind Delia's, called Wine With Me. Its official address is 111 Line St., Itasca.

We were greeted warmly upon entering the store, which features a wine bar in the center of the room with high-backed chairs and snacks for nibbly. The store is divided into three sections: the "value" wines, all under $12; the pricier wines, mostly from $13 to $30 but with a few high-end selections, and the craft beer. We didn't investigate the beer much. :)

The wine selection was nicely varied, however, with a little something for everyone and a lot of lesser-known labels. Most of this stuff you won't find at Jewel, although you probably could find a lot of it at Binny's -- but prices were good, quite comparable to someplace like Binny's.

They have about 25 wines by the glass, most $6 or $7; they also have a variety of beers by the glass. You can also select a bottle in-store to drink there; they charge a $10 corkage fee. We were told they offer some light snacks (looked like that spicy nut-sesame mix to me) and that you can also bring in food or order some from a downtown business and have it delivered (like Tree Guys, which is across the street...).

While this is at least the sixth wine bar I can name in a 10-mile radius, I love the idea, and I love that it's so close. Downtown Elmhurst is fabulous, but we can get to Itasca in about three minutes instead of 15. So I have a distinct feeling that we will be back in the near-ish future, probably grabbing some take-out from Tree Guys and heading across the street to enjoy a glass of wine with our dinner and support two local businesses at once.

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