This cafe has a menu of coffees, light meals and bakery items. But the owner really shows her talents with the made-to-order cakes. You can choose from the standard designs or work with staff to create your own personalized cakes. The things she comes up with are almost too beautiful to eat. Almost.
PROS: cake!, creative designs
I bought an entire work wardrobe at Disgraceland for what it would have cost to buy a couple suits at retail prices. The clothes there are more fashionable and current than you might find at other resale shops, and they are not limited to high-end brands like most consignment shops. The organization is good and the standards are high so it usually doesn't take much time to find something worth buying.
PROS: price, interesting finds
This studio has a constant stream of interesting workshops and training programs in addition to a regular schedule of classes. Most of the classes I've attended have had low attendance, which means I've received private lessons for price of a drop-in lesson. Perhaps the small class size is due to the location of the studio in the building--look for the signs to lead you through the maze.
PROS: good classes, good instruction
CONS: a little hard to find your first time
Magic Touch isn't the kind of day spa where the surroundings transport you out of the mundane and into a world of pure relaxation. That is to say, it's not a "spa experience". What you can get there are reasonably-priced a la carte spa services. The store is large and the staff friendly.
PROS: price, friendly staff, location
This bookstore, down the street from the Green Mill and close to the Lawrence Red Line shop, has a good selection of old records, particularly soul and rock. They also have a lot of old celebrity magazines and pulp fiction paperbacks. The rest of the store is the usual mishmash of random books. Even though the store is not all that big, you could easily wile away half a day browsing.
PROS: eclectic collection, location
The base fee for the car wash is cheap, and pays for a standard automated wash. Once the wash is done, you pull out and there are a bunch of guys waiting with towels. You select one and he dries off your car for a tip. The dryers work hard for their tips and are very thorough.
PROS: location, thoroughness
CONS: it's not clear how much one should tip
I signed up for the diving class and purchased my diving equipment set at the store. The instructor seemed to have a lot of diving experience but was only a fair teacher. We rushed through the fundamentals so we could practice in the pool, but then he picked on people who made mistakes. He was trying to drive home the seriousness of safety precautions, but I think it just increased everyone's stress level.
I had to quit the class midway, and did not receive much in the way of a refund. The fact that I had spent so much money--in addition to the substantial class fee, you have to buy fins, snorkel and mask--and had nothing to show for it left me with a lot of bad feeling.
CONS: price, instruction style
A recent survey of Chicagoland auto repair shops put Diversey Ignition in the top ranks. When our Jeep was having some engine trouble, we decided to take it there for repairs. The mechanic gave us a preliminary assessment and was up front with the time and price estimate. The work was completed as promised and the problem was fixed. The best thing was the price--it was cheaper than average.
PROS: good service, reasonable price
My boyfriend had a very specific and hard-to-find snowboard request--the 2006 Burton Ross Powers. We checked out all of the stores in Chicago to no avail and called Vertical Drop out of desperation. We were in luck--they had it. When he went to the store to pick up the board, he was quite impressed by the depth and range of their selection. If you can't find what you're looking for, give them a call.
CONS: location (for Chicago residents)
Don't let the "sports" in the name mislead you--Ed & Shirley's is all about fishing. If you are new to fishing or an old hand, you will find the supplies you need to have a great day at the lake. The people behind the counter are knowledgeable fishermen themselves, so you can get honest advice and swap fishing tips. This location is one of four--there are also stores in Markham, Countryside and Morton Grove.
PROS: selection, staff knowledge