The Chicago Bears have a more limited schedule in Bourbonnais this training camp season than they’ve had in years past, but that doesn’t mean fans should dash out of town when the team is done working out at Olivet Nazarene University.
Instead, fans can check out the number of restaurants, family friendly events, and golf courses in the Bourbonnais area after the team heads off the fields for the day.
For those looking for quality pizza, there are several places worth visiting. Sammy’s Pizza has three locations in the area (including one close to the ONU campus just off of Route 45), and their thin-crust pizza and solid beer selection make for an excellent lunch spot.
If pizza isn’t the only thing your family craves, then Mancino’s is the right place. With locations on Route 50 and on Kennedy Drive (across the street from Perry Farm, a great place for families to take a walk through nature or feed farm animals), this restaurant boasts both pizza and sandwiches, affectionately dubbed “grinders” by the owners, and the portions are massive and filling.
If barbeque is more your speed, the area boasts two quality options. Jimmy Jo’s, located just northwest of campus on Route 45, features all of your barbeque favorites, including ribs and brisket, and also tantalizes the taste buds with pulled pork tacos and other carnivore delicacies.
For those willing to make the trip to Kankakee, Bulls Barbeque is a great spot too. Heaping portions of food, along with a great variety of sauces, make this a must-visit place for those looking to add more meat to their diet.
Mexican food has also made a big dent in the Bourbonnais food scene, and two of the best places to eat are close to Olivet’s campus. La Siesta restaurant (a favorite of Bears head coach John Fox) is just south of the college on Kennedy Drive, and features a variety of margaritas for the adults and gigantic burritos and other Mexican cuisine for the entire family.
If you’re unsure of what kind of Mexican food you’d like, then Martinez Tacos in Kankakee has you covered. A massive lunch buffet spread dominates the restaurant, and features a wide variety of dishes to fill your plate with on multiple visits.
For those looking for a more grown-up dining experience, two options are worth checking out. Brickstone is a mainstay on the Bourbonnais dining scene, featuring beers brewed at a facility just down the street and a massive variety of food options. The Hoppy Pig, located on Route 50 in Bradley, also features over 40 beers on tap, dining options, and a spacious outdoor area for those looking for a bit of fresh air after practice concludes.
Finally if you’re spending the night in Bourbonnais, a quick stop at Yolks and Berries for breakfast is an absolute must. Piping hot, delicious breakfast food is the order of the day, and the stuffed biscuits and gravy (featuring sausage and cheese stuffed inside the biscuits) will leave you feeling full for the rest of the morning.
For those looking to spend more than a morning in the area, there are two festivals taking place that are good for the entire family. On July 29 and 30, the Merchant Street Music Festival will take over downtown Kankakee, with a variety of musical acts (including Coolio) hitting the stage and performing. Food vendors and art galleries will also have tables set up for the event, which has grown into one of the biggest events on the calendar in the area.
The following weekend will feature the annual Kankakee County Fair, located just south of town off of Interstate 57 exit 308. Demolition derbies, rodeos, school bus Figure-8 races, and of course, carnival rides and cuisine dominate the proceedings as the fair takes place over a five-day stretch from Aug. 3 to Aug. 7.
For fans willing to lug their golf clubs down Interstate 57, Kankakee County features numerous golf courses worth checking out. For those looking to stay in Bourbonnais, Aspen Ridge Golf Course is located just off Interstate 57 and features 18 holes of lightning-quick greens and water hazards.
For other options, the Kankakee Elks Golf Club in St. Anne is an outstanding course, having hosted several LPGA Futures Tour events and featuring some of the most beautiful holes in the area. Oak Springs Golf Club, located just south of the Elks, is another tremendous option, with a variety of holes winding through trees and presenting a challenge to golfers of all skill levels.