Graham's 318 expansion plans to include sensory garden
Since the spring of 2017, Graham's 318 Coffeehouse on Third Street in Geneva has had its expansion plans in the works.
The Daily Herald reported earlier this month that this project, adding more than 3,500 square feet, is going to result in expanded food offerings and even beer and wine added to the menu at this popular gathering place.
The shift of the coffee shop temporarily to a spot on Franklin Street has kept loyal customers satisfied while waiting for the new experiences at the 318 S. Third St. site.
Once completed, it's going to be interesting for anyone walking by Graham's 318 to also notice a major change outdoors.
The new brick walkway leading back to the expanded area will feature an array of plants that will make up a sensory garden.
That concept came from the daughters of Graham's owners Bob and Becky Untiedt.
Maddi Smith and Jayni Wunderlich started to think about what would make the new Graham's setup interesting for young kids.
"My sister is the one with the kids, so that's what got us thinking about this," Smith said.
The result of brainstorming was the sensory garden, an area in which kids can touch and smell plants and learn about them.
"We have seen a sensory garden at Peck Farm Park, near the butterfly house, and we just felt it would be nice to have an area like that," Smith added.
Visitors can expect to see the sensory garden taking shape with plantings in March.
"Our landscaper, Chris Conrades, is so excellent," Smith said. "His company (Conrades Landscape Design in St. Charles) also did the trellis that will be up at Graham's 18."
It all adds to the anticipation for the new site opening soon, most likely after the holiday season.
Craving some noodles
After many years of housing restaurants selling Mexican food, the spot at 113 W. State St. in Geneva will soon be home to Cravings.
As of last week, there wasn't a lot of information on the Cravings home page on Facebook about when the new restaurant would be in business.
But it's going to be a spot that those who enjoy Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, Malaysian, Korean or Thai noodles will likely check out.
The spot most recently housed a Taco Madre restaurant, which decided to go strictly with its St. Charles location for now in the Tri-Cities.
Before that, it was the original site for El Molcajete restaurant in Geneva as that expanded to a second site at 227 S. Third Street, which has been a popular spot. It didn't take long for all the focus to go to Third Street, and the State Street site was turned over to Taco Madre.
For the rescues
Paula Mueller has spent a good part of her adult life finding nice clothes for women, resulting in her Paula's Couture Consignment store in Batavia.
However, this holiday season Mueller has included our four-legged friends, specifically the dogs at the Safe Haven Dog Rescue in Elburn.
She's been collecting new dog toys, collars, harnesses and leashes for the past few weeks at her store at 4 ½ W. Wilson St. Those interested in donating have one more week to do so, as she'll be collecting those items through Friday, Dec. 20.
Changing the walk
For the past few years, I would be boasting a bit around now about how I made it through the TriCity Family Services' Snowflake Shuffle 5K fundraising event. Of course, I always just walked that distance.
But the agency didn't stage the Snowflake Shuffle this year, opting to move a running event to May 2, when it will host the Green Means Go 5K at Gunnar Anderson Forest Preserve in Geneva.
Registration for that event will begin in early 2020, so keep an eye on the TCFS website.
Snowflake Shuffle was fun, but there's a far better chance for warmer weather and maybe fewer conflicting events. Notice we didn't say drier weather. We'll keep our fingers crossed on that.
As it has in past years, Colonial Café and Ice Cream is matching donations to all Salvation Army Red Kettles in the Tri-Cities on Saturday, Dec. 14, up to $40,000.
It's a day when those who throw money into the holiday buckets can count on it being doubled to the benefit of the Salvation Army.
The two Colonial Cafes in St. Charles will have red kettles in front of the restaurants that day.
Those of us who live in the Tri-Cities area have surely, at various times, had visitors from other states spend a few days here.
My sister and brother-in-law did that a week ago, coming into town just in time for us to attend the Bears game against the Dallas Cowboys and also attend Geneva's Christmas Walk. We also spent some time in downtown Naperville to celebrate my sister's birthday.
Their assessment just before heading back to their home in Albuquerque, N.M., is something we know we don't take for granted.
Sure, they thought it was pretty crowded in the Chicago area, and the number of people in one place at one time during Christmas Walk along Third Street is probably something they don't see too often. The traffic getting into and out of a Bears night game may have skewed their vision, but we all know the population in these parts is significant.
They also thought it was too cold here. My answer to that was, you should see it when it really gets cold. The weather was quite pleasant while they were here.
But their other comment was that the quality of life here is far better. They could see that most people were quite nice. They were amazed to see delivered packages on porches, saying in their area those packages would surely be stolen. And they loved the walking and biking trails and parks along the river and had a good time getting tours of Sholes School and the Durant House at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve.
We know all of this, but it's good to get that third-party viewpoint on occasion.