Notice and go where the young, new things happen

Updated 5/28/2023 12:57 AM

We have all heard that age is just "a state of mind." Or age is "just a number."

Well, No. 1 -- What is considered young or old depends on one's own age. For instance, to me, young seems like 20s to 40s. No. 2 -- It depends on openness to new ideas and experiences. And then, No. 3, it depends on where we go and how we spend our time.


Another big factor is keeping up with the new trends, or at least being aware of them. I had such a chance recently and took it.

A dear friend called me on the spur of the moment, late one Friday afternoon, and asked if I wanted to meet her at a new place in town for early supper. She said it's a "bring your own food place" that serves drinks but no food. It offers anything from water to drinks of all sorts. It's called The Distance Social on River Street in downtown East Dundee. That's a nice play on words after the long pandemic period of "social distancing" where people seldom went out at all.

My friend is always great fun, so I said, "why not?" We agreed to meet at 5 p.m. when they opened. She planned to order a pizza delivered from nearby. So I went.

Well, well, well -- what a nice discovery. This place has an extremely modern and pleasant interior, and it's very friendly. Upscale decor. There's lots of separate seating clusters and spaces for groups of friends to gather. Our pizza arrived, delivered by a friend of my friend. We sat and chatted while the place filled up with others. Some people brought food, others didn't. Some just had a drink. It specializes in whiskey or any kind of drink or cocktail. Drinks don't have to contain alcohol. It seems people just come to relax and hang out, and see friends and chat.

Turns out this is a new trend. It's the second place in East Dundee where there are just drinks served, no kitchen -- a meeting place where you bring your own snacks or sandwich, pizza or whatever. The other one is Black and Gray, just down the street, a microbrewery.

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And one of the interesting facts is that both were established, and are owned and operated, by young 20- or 30-something entrepreneurs with a new business model. Because most restaurants and clubs actually make more of their profit from drinks rather than food, this new model just eliminates all the expense to serve meals, such as kitchen equipment, wait staff, food costs, thus maximizing profit.

These places can operate with way less staff and reduce hiring time and labor costs. Smart. And it seems people are just happy to have a nice place to gather.

And further, they attract people of all ages, not just younger folks. But there is a young vibe in the decor and general atmosphere. Yet it's nice for people of any age -- a calm atmosphere.

Of course, families and others love to go out for a meal so regular restaurants are still in demand and both East Dundee and West Dundee have many good ones. Several also cater to a younger crowd with decor, menus, activities and music.


The point is: Being spontaneous and adventuresome is probably good for any person of any age. At the least, being aware of the new trends is also probably a positive. We must stay in tune to what's happening around us.

My dear Baheej was always one for seeking out new places and new activities, curiosity being one of his very many qualities I so miss.

I'm lucky to have good friends who instigate exploration Anyway, I'm very glad I joined my friend that Friday eve. All very enjoyable and interesting.

• Susan Anderson-Khleif of Sleepy Hollow has a doctorate in family sociology from Harvard, taught at Wellesley College and is a retired Motorola executive. Contact her at or see her blog See previous columns at

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