It’s true the suburbs are no Chicago. There are no skyscrapers (no John Hancock Building, no Sears—I mean, Willis—Tower). Most things are spread out, so you can’t just hop on the train, and you have to get in the car to go to work, the store, even the park where you ride your bike. There’s also less of certain things, like boutiques or restaurant options, cheap apartments or people to run into at the corner coffee shop. We have some farms. We have bigger houses. We brag about lower crime rates.
But you who have lived in suburbs, tell me this: have you ever tried to find a bakery? At least in the Chicago area, it’s not easy. The few there are aren’t much of anything special, or overpriced, or hard to get to. One exception would be Vesecky’s in Berwyn, a long-time favorite of my family’s, which makes addictive hoska, that eastern European sweet bread with raisins and soft yeasty insides—if you haven’t been, go. And another exception would be this adorable little shop in Downers Grove, a long-standing establishment that is like one point for suburbs everywhere, and I say that proudly: Ingram’s Busy Bee.
The truth is, I’ve grown up loving the suburban things about Downers Grove, including its cute downtown—they have a little barber shop! and regular festivals! and gorgeous historic houses!—and its Tivoli theatre (where I recently saw and cried through the beautiful movie UP—have you seen it?), but I didn’t get to try Busy Bee until this year, mainly because it’s only available mornings (and never Mondays), and I’m usually not.
Last month, though, on a rainy Saturday in my flip-flops, walking over from the library where I’d met my brother who took the Metra into town, one bite was all it took for me to know one thing for certain: Ingram’s Busy Bee Bakery makes amazing, you-will-love-them, and-all-of-this-just-for-one-dollar? pastries.