Explore Suburban Geneva, Batavia, and St. Charles, Illinois

by Bob Glaze

The western suburbs of Geneva, Batavia, and St. Charles are some of my favorite Chicago suburbs to explore.

Geneva, Illinois

The city of Geneva, Illinois, the county seat of Kane County, has a population of approximately 22,000 people and is located 36 miles west of downtown Chicago. It has a charming city center with many restaurants and shops. It’s a great day trip or weekend getaway from the city. Easily accessible by Metra train from downtown Chicago. USA Today featured it in an article on October 15, 2018, as one of the perfect cities for a weekend trip in every state. My top recommendations include:

Where to eat in Geneva

ACK – All Chocolate Kitchens: At 33 S. Third, this is a popular restaurant in downtown Geneva that serves ice cream, pastries, coffee, hot chocolate, and chocolate. They also feature crepes, pancakes, and Sunday brunch. Ice cream and gourmet hot chocolate on a cold afternoon was fantastic!! On my last visit, I chose a great latte.

Every kitchen is a chocolate

They recently widened the next door to open it Primo. It was originally only open for dinner, but now serves afternoon tea only. They serve tea sandwiches, pastries, warm scones, clotted cream and jam with a choice of loose tea or upgrade to Prosecco or Champagne.

Patten House Restaurant & Bar: This restaurant and bar is at 124 S. Second St. It is the perfect place for lunch or dinner. Housed in a recently renovated mansion, it features a menu of soups, salads, sandwiches, and entrees with a Cajun twist. I loved my duck entree with grits and reduced figs.

Patten House Restaurant & Bar

Patten House Restaurant & Bar

On my last visit, I really enjoyed my Sunday brunch at urban crafts. It is located downtown at 211 James St. It is a casual restaurant with an emphasis on ingredients sourced from local artisan producers and craft cocktails. The staff was great as was the food and design. Loved the toast topped with scrambled eggs, tomatoes and crab! I read about him on Eater.com and in the Chicago Tribune, where he said, “Craft Urban brings a city vibe to the outskirts of Geneva.” I will definitely come back.

urban crafts

Graham’s Café 318: at 318 S. Third St. It’s a fun casual place for coffee, ice cream and lunch items. Enjoy the chocolate fondue in front of the fireplace. Next door at 302 S. Third St. is popular, Beautiful chocolate and graham ice cream, opened in 1987. Here you can watch as they make homemade chocolates and sweets. They also have homemade ice cream and Italian soft drinks. I just came back and loved the English dessert!

Graham’s Café 318

Beautiful chocolate and graham ice cream

Since 2007, nosh It is a fun place to have breakfast or lunch at 211 James St. specialty It is also a popular choice at 14 S. Third St. It features creative American cuisine along with a selection of over 400 whiskeys.

Barrel + rye, at 477 S. Third St. It is a popular restaurant open for lunch and dinner. They specialize in specialty whiskey cocktails, charcuterie, and American bistro fare. From Mezcaleriaat 507 S. Third, is a good spot for Mexican food along with a great selection of tequila and mezcal.

Barrel + rye

at 410 W. State St., Good trout It is a popular place for fine Mexican food. It has received excellent reviews in a number of local publications.

Good trout

Recently opened Firewater BBQ At 524 W. State. As a big fan of barbecue, I made a point to go on one last trip. I enjoyed the pulled pork sandwich with great BBQ sauce, french fries and a coleslaw.

Firewater BBQ

I also just read that sugar pathway It is a classic bakery in town that has cakes, cupcakes, biscuits and pastries. 315 W State Street

Shopping in Geneva

Geneva has a large number of antique stores, gift shops, and home accessory stores. My major discoveries include:

gift box: Since 1947, this is a store displaying Scandinavian imports and gifts at 310 W. State.

Artemisia It is fun antiques, home accessories, arts, clothing and jewelry. 101 Third Street


little traveler Gift Shop 404 S. Third St. It is also very popular.

little traveler

Beer and wine lovers will enjoy

Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery477 S. The friendly staff can help you with tastings of white and red wines. I recommend Chambourcin, which is a full-bodied red.

Stockholm Brewpub: At 306 W. State, this is a casual restaurant and microbrewery that makes pilsners, ales, porters and more.

Stockholm Brewpub

Penrose Brewing Company: at 509 Stevens St. Stop in to enjoy the taproom or take a brewery tour of this famous local brewery. They focus on Belgian-style beers and make a variety of ales, beers, sauces, porters and sour beers. Tried two types of sour beer including sour and sour raspberry. Both are light and refreshing.

Penrose Brewing Company

Batavia, Illinois

Batavia is located just south of Geneva. Founded in 1833, it is the oldest city in Kane County, Illinois. I had been to the past, but I never stopped to explore. I read that it was a charming town that was perfect to visit for a day trip in the fall. So, I went out on a beautiful day in mid-October 2021 and really enjoyed the experience!

My recommendations include:

Where to eat in Batavia

After watching a clip about this restaurant on a Chicago TV station, I had to try Gammon Coach House On 3 South Batavia Ave. This is a casual restaurant and pub located in downtown Batavia. It is known for its comfort food and a large selection of locally made beers. I really liked the warm indoor space, as well as the al fresco dining. I had the excellent pork sandwich and my friend had a great appetizer of meatloaf. I highly recommend the experience.

Gammon Coach House

Daddio’s dinner It is an old neighborhood diner in downtown Batavia known for its breakfast menu. 134 W. Wilson Street

Daddio’s dinner

For a coffee, be sure to stop at Limestone coffee and tea, downtown, at 8 W. Wilson St. They have a large menu of coffee and tea drinks as well as baked goods.

Limestone coffee and tea

across the street is Batavia Creamery It is a fun place with over 40 flavors of ice cream, syrup and yogurt served daily. The amaretto cherry was a great choice! They also serve malt and shakes, sundaes, floats and shaved ice.

Other sites to check out include oak + pigs For BBQ favorites at 107 E. Wilson St. and twist bar For food and drinks at 27 N. River St. They also have live music on Friday and Saturday evenings.

twist bar

Across from Bar Evolution and good for live music, food and drinks is Sidecar Dinner Club and Beer Garden At 12 N. River St. The building dates back to the 1880s.

What to do in Batavia

Make sure to visit Batavia Boardwalk Shops On the northern edge of downtown at 114 E. Wilson St. This is a collection of small, local stores, open Friday through Sunday, featuring handmade accessories, vegan baked goods, skincare, home décor and gifts, artwork, greeting cards and more. This is a great way to support a small local business.

Batavia Boardwalk Shops

Batavia Depot Museum: At 155 Houston Street, this was once the city’s main train station. It was the first of many depots constructed by the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 as the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad Depot. Today the warehouse is a museum with exhibits on the history of the city.

Batavia Depot Museum

Batavia River WalkThe River Walk is located at 100 N. Island Ave. The Walk is located along a 12-acre peninsula in the middle of the city. It is a beautiful park with gardens, playgrounds, fountains, ponds, walkway and pavilion. You can ride bicycles, rent kayaks and sailboats, and go snowboarding in the winter.

Batavia River Walk

River Street in Batavia

Although it was closed when I was in town, the Water Street Studios It offers art classes and exhibitions. At 160 S. Water St. The building dates back to 1886.

tea tree It is a nice shop that offers tea, oil, vinegar, spices and essential oils. 29 n.

around the library At 15 N. River St. An independent bookstore with new and used books.

AW Gridley “Ravine” House: Located at 637 Lincoln Hwy, this is a stunning Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home from 1906. “Typical of Wright’s Prairie style, the 5,100-square-foot, fourteen-room home is defined by a low, cantilevered roof and three ceilings Huge, Roman brick fireplaces.”

AW Gridley “Ravine” House

A short drive north, in nearby Geneva, in the Fabien Forest Reserve, is Fabian Villa Museum and Japanese Garden. The villa was the home of George and Neil Fabian from c. 1908-1939. The house is notable for its 1907 redesign by Frank Lloyd Wright. It was the centerpiece of Fabian’s country estate, which they named Riverbank. 1925 S. Batavia Ave.

Fabian Villa Museum and Japanese Garden

Fabian Villa Museum and Japanese Garden

George and Neil Fabian developed a keen appreciation for Japanese culture after visiting the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition, which included a Japanese pavilion. After moving from Chicago to Geneva, they commissioned famous landscape designer Taro Otsuka to design a Japanese-style garden on their property. It is a very beautiful and quiet place to visit.

Fox River – Fabian Forest Reserve

I recommend parking across the Fox River at 1500 Crissey Ave. at Fabian Forest Reserve And walk across the two bridges to the west side. The reviews are really great. Then, while standing, you can also visit Fabian mill, an authentic Dutch working windmill dating back to the 1850s. The mill originally stood on a site in what is now Blombard, Illinois. In 1914, it was purchased by George Fabian for about $8000, and was moved here to Riverbank on the East Side.

Fabian mill

Saint Charles, Illinois

The town of Saint Charles, Ile is a short drive north of Geneva. Although not as charming as Geneva, it has a number of shops and restaurants.

Not to be missed is history arcade theater. The theater building opened at 105 E. Main St. In September 1926, as a venue for showing silent films and organizing live vaudeville performances. Today it is a major performance venue that offers a full calendar of concerts and musical acts. I attended a great performance by the Glenn Miller Orchestra four years ago. Not to be missed is Arcade Club On the third floor. This is a fun and interesting restaurant where you can enjoy drinks or meal. It also features music entertainment. The afternoon I was there, they showed up as a guitarist singing Frank Sinatra songs!

Glenn Miller Arkada Orchestra

Arcade Club

there now Barcadaold-fashioned bar Rock and Ravoli for Italian food and zag rock For wood-fired pizza.

I recently read in Chicago Magazine that one of the best new restaurants in Chicago in March 2022, is a new bar with a great menu, graceful normalIt is located at 3 E. Main St. It is open for dinner and lunch on weekends. I will definitely try when I’m back in town for a concert.

Good choice for eating before or after the concert Francesca by the river At 200 S. 2nd St.

For more travel destinations and recommendations, visit globalphile.com.

%d bloggers like this: