Yesterday, Grub Street unveiled a list of one great food pilgrimage take in every state this summer. While no one is going to be able to visit all of them — though the McCarthy Lodge in Alaska does sound intriguing — there are enough picks for one to keep busy for a long time. That’s especially true for the Midwest. Our pick for Illinois was a trek down to 17th Street Bar & Grill in Murphysboro. It’s a must for any barbecue aficionado, even if we do realize that it’s about six hours away. While some might consider a six hour drive both ways a fair price to pay for exceptional barbecue, we realize that there are still other options within three hours of Chicago. Below are four more pilgrimages to take this summer.
The Destination: Ferrara Pan Candy Factory in Forest Park, Illinois
How to Get There: It’s fifteen minutes from downtown, right off of I-290.
When to go: Open all summer, Monday through Saturday
You can’t actually take a tour of the candy company that produces Lemonheads, Atomic Fireballs, Boston Baked Beans, Red Hots, and Jawbusters, but you definitely can visit the outlet store connected to the main facility. There you’ll be able to buy all the candy you want in bulk. Oh, and if you really want a look around the factory, you can take a virtual tour anytime you want.
Ferrara Pan Candy Co., 7301 W. Harrison St, Forest Park, IL 60130
The Destination: Brat Days in Sheboygan, WI
How to Get There: It’s two-and-a-half hours straight north.
When to go: August 4 through 6
If it’s bratwurst that you love, then you’ll have a hard time finding a better place this summer to chow down than the 58th Annual Brat Days Festival. It features live music, parades, a carnival, and way more sausages than you’ve probably ever seen at one time. If you’re feeling especially hungry, perhaps you should enter the brat eating contest.
Brat Days, Kiwanis Park Rd, Sheboygan, WI 53081
The Destination: Three Foyds Brewpub in Munster, Indiana
How to Get There: It’s about 45 minutes south of downtown.
When to go: Brewpub open everyday, tours only available on Saturday.
Now that all that Dark Lord chaos has died down, you can visit one of the best breweries in the area without needing a ticket. We suggest a Saturday visit when you’ll be able to visit the brewpub — which features the cooking of Mike Sheerin — and take a free tour of the brewery. Sign up for available tour times here.
Three Floyds Brewpub, 9750 Indiana Parkway, Munster, Indiana 46321; 219-922-4425
The Destination: Milk Days in Harvard, IL
How to Get There: Just take I-90 west for 50 miles, and then head north for another 20 minutes.
When to go: June 3 through 5
Believe it or not, but the 70th annual Milk Days is the longest running festival in the state. It’s held in honor of the diary industry in the area, and features farm tours, an outdoor grilling competition, and even a milk drinking contest.
Milk Days, 300 Lawrence Rd, Harvard, IL 60033