The Department – Joliet, IL

23 09 2009
  • 205 N. Chicago Street
  • Joliet, IL 60432
  • (815) 714-2280
  • Website
  • Menu
The Department in downtown Joliet

The Department in downtown Joliet

First day back in Chicago and J and I had a lot of errands to run.  We got up early to take care of our first major task at the Cook County Courthouse in Bridgeview.  After that, we needed to run to Joliet to see my grandma.  By the time we left her, it was lunch time. 


I lived in Joliet for four years and there wasn’t much reason to ever go downtown.  Things have changed a lot in the last seven years.  They’ve brought in a great Independent League baseball park and the Harrah’s Casino has invested a lot of money downtown.  With the influx of things to do, the dining scene has picked up dramatically.

In June, J and I went to a Joliet Jackhammers game with my parents.  They wanted to eat at the only reason there was to go downtown when I was there..Chicken ‘N Spice, but on our trek through town, I noticed a number of restaurants that I tucked away into the ol’ memory bank should we ever get back to Joliet.

After driving around the block a few times, the restaurant I settled on was The Department.  It was a neat looking restaurant from the outside, but what we found inside blew us both away. Read the rest of this entry »


Silver Cross Field – Joliet, IL

20 06 2009
  • 1 Mayor Art Schultz Drive
  • Joliet, IL 60432
  • (815) 726-2255
  • Website
Silver Cross Field in downtown Joliet.

Silver Cross Field in downtown Joliet.

I think I’ve already mentioned, I really like baseball.  Most guys spend all year getting ready for their fantasy football draft….I look forward to April because baseball’s starting.  I’ve been very lucky the last seven years having a Midwest League team in the city I’ve lived in.  Trust me, I’ve taken advantage of that. 

For my first two years of college, I played baseball at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, IL.  We played our home games on a pretty nice field at Joliet Catholic Academy (high school).  Since I went to a small high school, this field was a huge step up, but for most of the guys I played with, it was a step down.  In 2003, USF got a huge opportunity to play it’s home games at the newly built Silver Cross Field in downtown Joliet.  I never got to play there or even see it before I left school, but the park’s main tenant is the Joliet Jackhammers of the Northern League. 

J and I were at my parents house and it’s always nice to be able to get my dad out of the house.  He likes baseball like I like baseball so I suggested the hour drive north to Joliet.  Once we figured out the rain might actually hold off, my mom and aunt also wanted in, so we loaded up the van an headed to Joliet. Read the rest of this entry »

Chicken-N-Spice – Joliet, IL

18 12 2008
  • 251 N. Chicago St.
  • Joliet, IL 60432
  • (815) 727-1100
  • No Known Website
  • No Online Menu
Chicken-N-Spice in downtown Joliet, IL

Chicken-N-Spice in downtown Joliet, IL

The biggest chicken breasts you’ll ever see.  That’s how I used to describe the chicken from my favorite chicken joint.  I went to school at the University of St. Francis in Joliet.  I wasn’t quite the foodie then that I am now.  When I ordered out, it was usually to Papa Johns or one of the other national chains.  I wish I knew then what I know now about food in the Chicago area.  I’m sure there are hundreds of places I missed out on.

Fortunately, one of the places I didn’t miss out on was a little chicken joint in downtown Joliet.  Chicken-N-Spice sits on Chicago Street near the ballpark, theater, and casino.  There’s not a lot of food options in downtown Joliet but as far as I’m concerned, there only needs to be one.

I was on my way to my parents how from DeKalb when I got the idea to detour to Joliet.  I was tired of paying tolls anyway and I was running out of cash.  I now owe the Illinois Toll Authority some money since they still have the change baskets on I-88.  Seriously, who carries $1.10 in change?   I thought they were doing away with all of those and didn’t bring enough home with me.  Instead of dealing with that, I got off  I-88 and made my way to Route 30 which would eventually take me into Joliet.

Chicken-N-Spice is the kind of place you look at and think twice about before going in.  It’s not a very inviting building.  It’s a small store that needs some work down to it.  The thing I always notice is that it’s constantly surrounded by Joliet PD, Will County Sheriff and a number of prisoner transport vehicles from surrounding counties.  For once, that’s not a bad thing.  Chicken-N-Spice is a gathering spot and if the cops eat there, it must be a good place. Read the rest of this entry »

Chicagoland Speedway – Joliet, IL

8 09 2008
  • 500 Speedway Blvd.
  • Joliet, IL 60433
  • (815) 722-5500
  • Website
The outside of Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL

The outside of Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL

My final stop in Illinois this week was at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL for the IRL Peak Antifreeze Indy 300.  I went to school in Joliet and this track was being built during my senior year.  The first race was the summer after I graduated.  Chicagoland doesn’t sell individual race tickets.  The only way to get tickets to any of the races is to buy tickets to all the races.  That first year, a buddy was able to get Busch series tickets off eBay, and until this weekend, that was the only race I had been to other than NASCAR qualifying.  My dad’s cousin buys the track pass every year to get tickets to the Nationwide and Sprint Cup race, but they couldn’t care less about the ARCA/IRL weekend.  For the last few years, I’ve wanted to get their IRL tickets, but I always had something going on.  This year, it just worked out that I was going to be in town, so my dad asked for the tickets and he and I finally got to go to an IRL race.

Chicagoland is great for the Indy Cars.  It’s the last race of the year and for some reason, the track provides a really racy surface for the open wheelers.  The two closest finishes in IRL history have come at Chicagoland and this year added another one as Helio Castroneves edged out Scott Dixon by .033.  The race saw a lot of three wide and side-by-side racing and that’s not just for half a lap.  This was going on for 10 to 15 laps at a time. Read the rest of this entry »

Big Ten Weekend Update

3 09 2008

I’m heading back to Illinois AGAIN this weekend, but this time, it’s for work.  I’ll be in Champaign for the University of Illinois football game against Eastern Illinois.  The Big Ten Tour will start up again as I will find at least one if not two or three places for a meal in Champaign-Urbana and I’ll let you know what the new Memorial Stadium looks like since MSU won’t be making the trip to Champaign or even playing U of I this year.

On Sunday, I scored free tickets to the Indy Car race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL.  I’ve been to Chicagoland once before the year it opened, but I’ll probaby post about my experience for the open-wheel racers. 

The whole weekend should lead to a handful of reviews of places I stop along the way.  Posting will be light for a while…just wanted to let you know why.