When sports teams come to town for training camp, local businesses and restaurants often roll out the red carpet for athletes and fans, and Bourbonnais is no exception as the town prepares for the Chicago Bears to arrive this week for training camp.
Whether it’s “The Three Little Pigs” meat platter at The Warehouse Grill, or the deep-dish pizzas at Beggar’s Pizza, there are a slew of businesses that see an uptick in sales when the Bears are in town, and they are ready for the influx.
“Bears camp makes a nice spike in business for us,” TJ Donlin’s owner Tom Richmond told The Kankakee Daily Journal. “It doesn’t make our year or anything, but it comes at a good time. It’s usually a slow part of the year. But not for the last 13 years."
The team has traveled to Bourbonnais for camp ever since 2002, the year after they left Platteville, Wisconsin, after a 17-year run. Olivet Nazarene University hosts the team for three weeks every summer, and with massive crowds and a completely renovated complex, the team has agreed to a long-term deal to come down to the school for the foreseeable future.
With places like The Warehouse and Beggar’s Pizza, there’s no shortage of good food options in the Bourbonnais area for fans who make the trek down I-57 for camp. There are several other places that you need to make sure to check out if you’re making the journey over the next few weeks.
If you’re in the mood for breakfast dishes, try these two places. Yolks and Berries, a breakfast eatery that’s just two miles from the school, has a huge variety of dishes, and their stuffed biscuits and gravy, complete with cheese and sausage stuffed right into the bread, is heart-stoppingly good.
For those fans looking for homemade doughnuts, cookies and other types of bakery treats, El Guero Panaderia on Broadway in Bradley is a must-visit. They’re open all day long, so you can either check out their selection of breakfast goodies in the morning before camp (it’s just over a mile away from Olivet’s campus) or you can swing by after practice is over and check out their cookies and muffins.
For the after-practice lunch crowd, there are several delicious barbeque places in town that hit the spot. Jimmy Jo’s BBQ, located about a mile north of the school, offers delicious beef brisket, rib tips and a fantastic platter of pulled pork tacos that is enough to feed even the hungriest Bears fan.
For those fans who are comfortable driving a few miles, Bulls Barbecue in Kankakee is another can’t miss spot. They routinely clean up at the annual BBQ Fest in the Kankakee-area (their beef brisket took home the title earlier this month), and their delicious menu is accentuated by side dishes like barbecue spaghetti and fried pickles.
If fans are looking for a place to get a drink after practice ends, with a good lunch menu to match, then they should check out the Ale House Pub & Eatery in Bradley. The bar has over 40 different beers on tap, and the massive dining area comes in handy when the lunch crowd comes in to feast on their gourmet burgers. Brickstone Brewery is another good spot to go, with a wide selection of freshly brewed beer and an extensive food menu.