Daytripper: Barrington

The town of Barrington is seeing a renaissance, with new shops and restaurants opening their doors in the charming downtown area.


This is only heightening the sense of community. “There’s a homey feel, and it’s nice being able to walk through town and know the store vendors,” says chef Mary Rose Hoover. “There’s a little bit of everything.”

Here are some of our suggestions if you’re spending the day in Barrington…

In the morning, swing by…

Cook Street Coffee
Sit and relax or take your caffeine fix to go at this family-owned coffee shop, which also offers freshly baked scones and free Wi-Fi. On a sweltering day, cool off with one of their icy granitas.

Mia Sorella
This unique establishment is both a clothing store and a full-service salon and spa, with the mission to make women feel welcome and beautiful. Shop the serene boutique for trendy and ladylike labels like Tulle, Velvet, Three Dots and local designers Piper & Penelope, then pamper yourself with a massage, No Chip manicure or Keratin hair treatment. Kids and husbands can hang out in a lounge area complete with television, games and toys.

We felt like Alice exploring Wonderland in this colorful boutique full of whimsical gifts, accessories and paper goods.

Vintage with a twist: Owner Laura Knecht takes retro clothing, fabrics and jewelry and “repurposes” them to create one-of-a-kind pieces with more modern silhouettes.

In the afternoon, try…

This old-world deli is right next door to the historic Catlow Theater and even has spillover seating in the theater lobby. Admire the black and white glossies of old movie stars on the wood paneled walls while munching on a Reuben or their signature turkey salad—perfect for lunch!

Cucina Della Rosa Cooking School
“Cooking is coming into its own. People learn that they can do it, save money and entertain at home,” says school founder Mary Rose Hoover, who grew up cooking with her Italian mother and aunts. She specializes in teaching students how to prepare healthy, Mediterranean meals, and sees all kinds of groups schedule time in her gorgeous kitchen, from birthday parties to corporate retreats.

For dinner, unwind at…

Barrington Country Bistro
Sit and enjoy a glass of chardonnay in this sunny bistro, where the wait staff is well versed in the ever-changing menu and wine list. The Salad Nicoise is a specialty, but don’t leave without trying one of their soufflés. The cheese version is a delicious savory option, and the Grand Marnier dessert is bliss itself, and worth the 25 minutes it takes to make.

Don’t miss Barrington’s…

Farmers’ Market
Thursdays, June 20 to October 17, 2-7 p.m.
Corner of Main (Lake Cook Rd.) and South Cook Street

Cruise Nights
Thursdays, May 30 to August 31, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Downtown, South Cook Street

Sidewalk Days
July 25-27
Downtown Barrington