Three Years Strong

Fans of great food in-and-around Barrington (and many from farther away because it’s well worth the drive) have discovered over the past three years how freshtastic a genuine farm-to-table meal can taste.

Spooky Travel

Gruesome wars, mysterious witchcraft, infamous killers, eerie underground crypts, and horrific exorcisms: let Europe's dark past send chills up your spine as you uncover the legends that haunt the cities at night. Descend into dark catacombs with walls entirely made of human remains. Hear accounts of medieval methods of torture, body-snatchers, beheadings, vampires, and cannibals. The ghost stories and disturbing…

Indulge the Obsession

We’re blessed to live in a food destination. People from across the country travel to our area to indulge their foodie obsessions. Some recent examples spring to mind. This summer while picking up a rental car in San Francisco the counter agent, noting that I was from the Chicago area, talked about fulfilling a bucket … Continued

October 2019 Around Town

Poke Burrito Deer Park Celebrates Opening with Ribbon Cutting Barrington’s Chamber and Deer Park officials recently gathered to celebrate the opening of Poke Burrito, 20530 Rand Rd., Ste. 442, in Deer Park Town Center. “Poke Burrito is a unique fusion restaurant that combines Japanese, Hawaiian and Asian food using the highest quality, fresh ingredients and … Continued

Street Dances Let Music Lovers Get Footloose

Street dances in Lake Zurich and Wauconda are community music celebrations held right downtown. In Wauconda's 20th annual event there were firefighter water fights, a bags tourney, bouncy house, a late rain that didn't ruin the party, and bands rocking both the newly-dubbed Wauvinia Stage and Main Stage. (Photos by John Kelly, Stephen Neilson & Sara Orgler.)

Perfect Pairings

Editor's Note: From the intimate and newly-expanded Zin GastroPub, owner Bob Kryscha shared some of his favorite wine and food pairings:

Chef Brings Delicious New Food Concept to Deer Park

Jimmy Chen took a long, circuitous journey to opening his new restaurant, Poke Burrito, in Deer Park Town Center this summer. Born in China, raised in Iowa and once a teenage helper in the kitchen of an uncle’s restaurant, Chen put in lots of time and invested plenty of sweat equity before striking out on his own. His Deer Park…

Suburban Suds Sensations

Tucked away in an obscure corner of downtown Mundelein is a homey taproom sporting beer made in the backroom by the husband and wife team of Greg and Brigitte Bosacki. Scattered around the u-shaped bar sit some regulars. A family is over in the corner making carryout pizza disappear. Outside between the front door and parking lot a couple is…

Fall Fashion Trends

Stretching summer into fall is an art well practiced by the warmth-loving faithful in beautiful SW Lake County, who are always looking for the best leads on transitioning into autumn in style. 

Be Alert for Opportunities When Preparing for College Costs

Summer is winding down, and the kids are back-to-school. When children are young, logistics for the new academic year may involve little more than a trip to buy school supplies. But to send kids (or grandkids) to college someday, be prepared to plan far ahead to meet the financial demands. And, as part of that planning, be on the lookout…

Stately Home Defines Style in Long Grove

Tucked away on a private two-acre lot at the end of a cul-de-sac, marked by stately brick pillars, is a lovely brick Georgian home that is synonymous with style in the Village of Long Grove.

Defining Style is a Personal Journey

Style is a big part of my life. It was an honor to be approached about being the Guest Publisher for the annual Style issue of SW Lake Lifestyle. I can honestly say in my work as an interior designer it’s a thrill every time I start a new project. The process of meeting new … Continued

September 2019 Around Town

Home Automation Expert Expands His Business In August, ECO Automated Designs, a leading home automation integrator serving the Chicagoland area, has agreed to assume select business assets of FortiFi Technologies, a Barrington-based home automation contractor. ECO was founded in 2015 and is owned and operated by Erick Olech. A Control4 premier dealer with a certified … Continued

Celebrating Business, Events, Friends and SW Lake Award Winners

We love celebrating good times across the area. Here’s a collection of photos from good folks we call friends and clients. Want to share your Good Times? Go to the Contact Us page at, submit high quality photos with a short description and give us your contact info in case we have a question or … Continued

What’s Your Style?

Refer to a dictionary for a definition of style and you’ll likely find something like this: “A distinctive appearance, typically determined by the principles according to which something is designed.”

Vibrant Culture Makes Peru a Stylish Destination

When invited on an educational journey to Peru, my mother and I weren’t sure what to expect. What we learned caused me to absolutely fall in love with the country. From the vibrant culture and delicious cuisine, to the country’s magnificent landscape and friendly people, Peru is a magical place.

Home Automation: Easier Than You’d Think, Better Than You’d Imagine

 SW Lake: What’s your experience in home automation?  Erick Olech: ECO Automated Designs was founded in 2015 to serve the home technology needs of Chicagoland families. We are a full-service company offering design, product sales, installation and system maintenance. We are a Control4 premier dealer, and never sub-contract work to other vendors. I got my start in 2003 at Tweeter…

Pet Advocate Opens Shop in Wauconda

Colleen Berg is a single mom of five now-grown children, and a grandma of a beautiful granddaughter (with another grandchild on the way). She’s been very active in animal rescue for more than 15 years, and is an untiring advocate for better pet health. A serial entrepreneur, she owns a pet bakery called Animal Crackers that concocts an amazing variety…

63,000 and Counting

The scene was surprising: guests gathered under colorful tents while music played. Bright-shirted volunteers directed parking, served food, answered questions and kept smiling broadly. A minister offered a moving prayer. The guests of honor walked around with a spring in their step and were incredibly well behaved. They looked totally spiffed up and thoroughly enjoyed the non-stop parade of other…

Now’s the Perfect Time for Kids and Pets

Back-to-School. It’s a phrase that can strike terror in the hearts of children and evoke sweet relief for parents. In this issue of SW Lake Lifestyle we’re focusing on the positive as we present a collection of stories on Kids and Pets. If a child has trouble seeing the black (or more likely white) board … Continued

August 2019 Around Town

Classical Viola Recital by Stephanie Block An “exceptionally talented” and “virtuosic performer,” Block is a first-year Viola Fellow at the New World Symphony and has performed as a soloist locally in Chicago and internationally, as well as an award-winning chamber musician. In the Barrington White House’s intimate ballroom, this Barrington native will perform works by Beethoven and Zimbalist alongside … Continued

Celebrating the Best of SW Lake

SW Lake Lifestyle enjoys working with a variety of clients who help subsidize the magazine by investing their hard-earned money in marketing campaigns with us. All summer we’ve visited winners of the 2019 Best of SW Lake Awards as selected by readers. In 2020 the awards program will be enhanced with new categories honoring entrepreneurs, not-for-profits, volunteers … Continued

Main Street Center Celebrates Grand Opening

Main Street Center, in the heart of Wauconda’s downtown, is a revitalized multipurpose building with offices, a future restaurant and its anchor tenant, Threads, an apparel boutique. To commemorate its Grand (Re)Opening a Sunset Celebration was enjoyed by friends, family, civic leaders and fellow local business owners.

Time for Back-to-School Eye Care

Excellence in school begins with your child’s vision. An annual eye health exam should be at the top of every family’s back-to-school checklist.

The Time to Adopt a Child is Now

I discovered something a few years ago that is both interesting and sad. I’m a professional photographer who for 10 years for the State of Illinois photographed children awaiting adoption. The photos were displayed in “The Heart Gallery of Illinois” to increase their chance for adoption. As an adoptive mom with a home full of four children, our family’s plate…

Teens Teaching Science to Young Children

Science For Future (SFF) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2012 in California by Snigdha Banda, a high school student who noticed that many elementary school students in low income areas were not receiving much in the way of science instruction. 

Nature’s Gym

It's summer and I’m excited to get out and enjoy all the amazing health benefits that come with warmer weather. Now is the perfect time to set fitness goals, try new outdoor opportunities and eat healthfully. Spending time outside with the changing sights and sounds reduces stress, improves mood, boosts energy and enhances cognitive function. Simply stated: nature’s gym makes us…

Summer Smorgasbord

Putting together our July 2019 SW Lake Lifestyle reminded me yet again what a splendid smorgasbord of life experiences is served up hot and steaming, without fail, in beautiful SW Lake County. It was way too much fun being the photographer fly-on-the-wall guest at the equipment fitting session to kick off the newest season for … Continued

July 2019 Around Town

Adoptive Parenting Events Coming Up Let It Be Us, a Barrington-based not-for-profit, recruits foster and adoptive parents for waiting children. In Illinois there are 18,000+ children in foster care, many of whom never return home. The group hosts events where prospective parents can learn about the issues and become part of the solution. The charity, … Continued

New Work-Share Space Opens

Shoppers at the Lake Zurich Office Max were greeted earlier this year by workers busily remodeling the store to include Workonomy Hub, a co-working space suitable for area entrepreneurs, start-ups and anybody who normally works from home. This is the second Workonomy Hub in the US.

Farm Fresh Goods Now Available at Seasonal Markets

Summer's when the eating is good, especially when shopping any of the bountiful farmers markets in the area. A few of the best: Libertyville, 7am – 1pm, Thursdays at Cook Park; Barrington, 3-7 pm, Thursdays at 105 S. Park St.; Wauconda, 4-7 pm, Thursdays on Main Street Downtown, and Lake Zurich, 3-7 pm, Fridays at Paulus Park.

Summer Sammy

Visit Kooker’s in Lake Zurich (620 E. Route 22, 847.381.3309) for this awesome-anytime summer sandwich: the Avocado BLT Flatbread.

Get Up and Really Go with an Electric Bike

When Paul Wheatland moved back to SW Lake County a few years ago he was ready to pursue two of his passions: music and an outdoor lifestyle. When he and his partner, Tammy, purchased Main Street Outfitter (MSO) in Wauconda, a bike shop & pub, he satisfied both pursuits.

Why My Sons Play Football

I’m a girl’s girl who grew up dancing. I gravitated to team dancing where our hard work was more than just individual achievement. Doing my part was necessary to be successful.

Guys Who Make Stuff

SW Lake Co. features many creative men, many of whom make really interesting stuff. Meet five of our favorites here.

June 2019 Around Town

Cooling Season is Here: Remember AC Maintenance “Understanding air conditioner maintenance means knowing how a system works,” says Fred Martin, Jr., of Martin Enterprises. Most times, central air includes a system with indoor and outdoor units connected by copper tubing and wiring. Having a system in good operating order is vital to comfort, efficiency and keeping … Continued

Student Scholars Win College Awards in SWL-Sponsored Annual Program

For the third consecutive year SW Lake Lifestyle was lead sponsor of the Barrington Chamber's annual scholarship program. Awards were made at Biltmore Country Club to Miah Cramer (St. Louis University),  Campbell Henry (Indiana University), Kristina Lymperis (undecided), Patrick Mantatsky (University of Illinois), Alejandro Reyther (Michigan State), Ashley Rocco (Southern Methodist University), Jeffrey Rosauer (Loyola), and Zachary Rowley (undecided). 

It’s Raining Men’s Stuff

Welcome to our one-and-only annual issue dedicated to the guys. This is a veritable Bro Fest (or what passes for one these days in our neck of the woods). In these pages we share stories and photos that we hope EVERYBODY finds appealing because we have such a plethora of local talent in our midst. … Continued

A Perfect Father’s Day Gift: A Golf Getaway

Planning the perfect golf trip can be difficult. It takes much research and experience to know where to play, when to play, where to stay and how to get there.

Good Times in the Northerly side of SWLake Co.

SW Lake Co. is always chock-full of good times, whether it's great music, celebrating public servants who stepped up to make a difference, honoring personal milestones of those who changed many lives during their teaching years, savoring a sip of world-class wine poured by the winemaker, or getting together at the lake for a family … Continued

Dads & Grads Will Love This

 Wear it Like JFK  In 1937 when still a student John F. Kennedy met Albert Fouquet in France. He was captivated by Fouquet’s hand-crafted scent and ordered eight bottles and “one for Bob” (his brother, Robert F. Kennedy). In addition to this cologne, The Gent’s Place offers great haircuts and grooming services for men.  $115

MAHALO, Hawaii!

There are so many good reasons to visit the beautiful islands of Hawaii! I've visited all of the islands over the years, including a special Mother/Daughter trip to some of the less-visited islands of Lanai and Molokai, and enjoyed many wonderful experiences. Here are some of my personal highlights for each island:

May, May Come and Stay

On the day in mid-April when I penned this note my lawn care provider was prepping the yard for spring during a snow flurry. Spring is fleeting and tenuous around here. It got me wondering about why this month is called May. Turns out we can thank the ancient Greeks. The fifth month of the year … Continued

Role Models In Our Midst

 Sam Oliver   President  Non-Profit Consulting

Long Grove Beauty is Quiet, Relaxing and Homey

Sometimes it’s good to be the Builder…especially when building your own home while developing a new neighborhood in SW Lake County. 

May 2019 Around Town

Date Set for Tunnel to Towers Run/Walk Paulus Park in Lake Zurich will be the setting on June 9 for another Tunnel to Towers 5k Run/Walk honoring the fallen heroes of 9/11. Organized by the Lake Zurich chapter of the national Tunnel to Towers Foundation, the funds raised benefit charities that support the families of … Continued

Everything Was at the Lake Zurich Expo

Spring-like weather brought big crowds to Concorde Banquets for the annual Lake Zurich “Everything Expo.” Organizers pegged total attendance at more than 1100 giving local families the chance to learn more about local businesses and not-for-profits.

A New Take on Gray

When someone says a color is “neutral” do you immediately think of a white or a nondescript beige? Neutral does not have to mean plain. Benjamin Moore’s color of the year for 2019 is Metropolitan AF-690. The color is a not-too-light, nor-too-dark gray with a hint of silver underneath. While many neutral colors wash out in bright light, Metropolitan is…

Women-Launched Businesses On the Rise

Claire Slattery Executive Director Lake Zurich Area Chamber of Commerce Have you seen an increase year-over-year in women launching new businesses? Between 40-50% of our member companies are women-owned businesses. The number of women who have joined the Chamber either as owners or as lead representatives of their organization quadrupled from 2017 to 2018. Is it possible to characterize by…

Adopting a More Eco-Friendly Lifestyle

Many of us are trying to be more eco-friendly in our daily lives. We’re more aware of what we put into our bodies, as well as the general state of the planet. Clients of my interior design business ask frequently, “How can I bring greener design into my home?” Here’s a short list of my … Continued