Monday was the kind of dreary day which easily could have kept me inside doing chores and sitting on the couch. However, I was feeling hungry for some comfort food in a cozy environment. Rather than being lazy, I got dressed and took my solo, rumbling stomach to Marion Street Cheese Market in Oak Park, IL. I had no legitimate excuse not to go. After all, I live across the street from the CTA Green line ‘L’ which travels directly to the Harlem/Lake ‘L’ stop in Oak Park (the very last stop on the CTA Green line). I was there in about 30 minutes. And, the best part is that Marion Street Cheese Market is located directly downstairs and across the street from the Harlem/Lake ‘L’ stop. Metra also stops there. Sweet!
For those of you who are not aware, Oak Park is an historic and very picturesque town in Illinois. It is also home to the largest collection of homes designed by the famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as the Frank Lloyd Wright Museum and Studio. So, if you are planning a visit there to take advantage of some of the tours of the neighborhood, be certain to stop in at the Marion Street Cheese Market for a bite to eat. It is a bistro, wine bar and a retail market. The atmosphere here is warm, cozy and friendly. There is even a small fireplace in the bistro.
Marion Street Cheese Market offers free wine tastings on Fridays as well as free live jazz on Thursdays from 7-10pm. Tomorrow, September 18th Maracujaz Brazilian Duo will be performing and on September 25th you can catch the Chris Bernhardt Duo. This sort of free entertainment in a restaurant is hard to come by these days.
I had been wanting to visit Marion Street Cheese Market for a long time and I am so glad I made it there, finally. My lunch was fresh, delicious and nutritious! Rachael, the bartender and my server that day could not have been nicer to me. I chose to try one of their sandwiches, the Cauliflower Melt on whole grain bread. This sandwich consisted of roasted cauliflower, honey & curry aioli, tart apple and somerset cheddar cheese. It came with fries. I washed it all down with a lovely pot of chamomile tea. What a yummy, comforting lunch. It definitely hit the spot for me!
The bistro at Marion Street Market offers lunch, dinner and brunch menus all of which include a nice array of meat, fish and vegetarian options. Since this is a cheese market, there is a “cheese flight” offering on the menu, as well. They also offer a limited snack menu for the couple of hours between lunch and dinner service.
Marion Street Cheese Market sources its food and libations from many domestic and international vendors. In particular, many local vendors from Illinois and Wisconsin are represented which is always nice to see.
I definitely will be returning to Marion Street Cheese Market during the upcoming chilly months to enjoy the food, wine and live jazz, as well as the beautiful Oak Park neighborhood. For more information, visit http://marionstreetmarket.com.
In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I urge you to leave your car at home and take the CTA Green Line or Metra over to Marion Street Cheese Market. Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive.