Thursday, July 19, 2007

A culinary tour...of Bolingbrook? Yes!

What does food have to do with dirt? Development, development, development, my friends.

Let me say this right out of the box: I come not to bash Bolingbrook but to praise it. My parents moved to Bolingbrook when I was a little kid, and I consider it my hometown. And I still own property in Bolingbrook.

I've written about this to some extent before so I will try not to bore you too much. Bolingbrook in the early 1970s was a small town in the middle of the world's largest cornfield. No stoplights, one grocery (Totura's, which is still in Lemont), no post office, one fast food restaurant (Mr. Quick), a 7-11 and, if I recall correctly, a Union 76 truck stop and three gas stations (Shell, Standard and Hauck Oil [now Speedway]). That was about it.

The growth of Bolingbrook into a village of 75,000 has been a sight to see. And I have enjoyed the ride, even though the 70s and 80s were bumpy because of crowded schools, congestion and other growth-associated problems. It took about 20 years and my mother's neighbor, Roger Claar, to point the ship in the right direction.

So, when I read a story in the Tribune about being able to go to Bolingbrook for what amounts to a progressive meal of good dining, I am excited. And they barely mentioned Ted's Montana Grill.

Okay, no Arun or Charlie Trotter. And that's okay by me. There's some even nicer dining in Naperville if you can find parking on a weekend, and Chicago still beckons. It is just nice to know that, when I visit my hometown, my dining options are not limited to White Castle (not that there's anything wrong with that).

By the way: Bolingbrook is, in my opinion, a lesson for the powers that be in Kankakee, Bradley and Bourbonnais about development -- yes, it is great, but it comes with a price until the tax revenues catch up with the infrastructure needs. I encourage them to get in touch with Roger to see how he did it.