Recently, my husband made the switch from diet soda to coffee as his morning pick me up after reading articles about the health benefits of java. Me, I’m more of a hot chocolate drinker. But when the weather outside is frightful, there’s something comforting about settling in, warm beverage in hand, and losing yourself in a good book or, if you’re like my husband, writing your own. Fortunately, there are plenty of local places to get your caffeine fix while waiting for the train. Or, in the midst of the morning rush, to hop off and grab a cup to get your day started.
First stop – Loca Mocha Cafe in Brookfield (north of tracks, 8836 Brookfield Ave., www.locamochacoffee.com). A quaint place just across the street from the Brookfield Metra station, Loca Mocha Cafe serves up an array of gourmet and flavored coffees, and traditional espresso drinks. The house specialties are sure to satisfy the sweet tooth with options ranging from the turtle latte (espresso, praline, caramel, chocolate and steamed milk) to the chocolate monkey (espresso, chocolate, banana and steamed milk).
There are plenty of other beverage options – from hot chocolate and chai tea to chocolate milk and smoothies – and if you’re hungry, the café offers bagels, muffins, biscotti and other treats. Whole bean coffee is available by the pound and half pound if you’re looking to brew a pot at home.
Second stop – Quinn’s Coffee House in Clarendon Hills (south of tracks, 2 S. Prospect Ave., (630) 323-3027). Steps away from the Clarendon Hills Metra station, Quinn’s Coffee House has been home to many of its regulars since it opened in 1986. The store’s homemade Irish soda bread is only second to the popular homemade chocolate donuts for which Quinn’s is known. A variety of coffee, lattes and cappuccinos are available to complement those treats.
A popular community hangout, Quinn’s honors its commuters with a handmade train schedule, created by a customer, showing departure and arrival times from Clarendon Hills to Chicago. Quinn’s also strives to be a good neighbor by donating funds from its charity bucket (customers’ spare change) to local schools, churches, the Lions Club and Salvation Army. About $50,000 has been donated the past 27 years.
Last stop – The Nook in Lisle (north of tracks, 4738 Main St., www.thenookinlisle). Part coffee house, part neighborhood hangout, this gem has been part of downtown Lisle for more than 50 years. The Nook offers a selection of gourmet coffee, cappuccino and espresso along with hot and cold teas, hot chocolate and smoothies.
After your day is done, if you’re looking for something sweet when you get off the train, the Nook has an ever-changing selection of Petersen’s ice cream among its treats. For the crafty type, the Nook offers knitting and crocheting classes and sells an assortment of yarn and supplies for knitting and crocheting…yet another great way to spend your commute.