Definitive Guide to Visiting Bourbonnais for Bears Training Camp

provided by David Koch, Two Roads Lending Team Member

Football season is only 2 months away, which means that NFL training camps are about to get started all across the country.  Training camps present a unique opportunity for fans to connect with their team, and that couldn’t be more true for the Chicago Bears and their fans.

Since 2002, the Chicago Bears have held training camp in my hometown of Bourbonnais, IL.  In fact, The Chicago Tribune recently wrote a story about Bears Training Camp in Bourbonnais!

As much as I appreciate the Tribune giving press to my hometown, I distinctly feel like they missed some important details, and I’d like to set the record straight about everything there is to do in this “sleepy” town when you go to visit, which you definitely should plan to do!

Here is my definitive list of the best places to go.

FOOD & DRINK

Beer / Bars

Brickstone Brewery – Perhaps you’ve seen cans for this premier Illinois brewery in your local super market, but did you know they also have a restaurant with AMAZING food?  You’ll also get to enjoy all the latest beers before their can release. 

Steam Hollow Brewing Co. –  Brickstone is not the only microbrewery in town anymore.  Just 10 minutes up the road in Manteno, IL is Steam Hollow Brewing Co.  You can pick up a growler on your way back to the burbs, or stay for the live music they have most weekends.

Burgers & Beer – For the best and most ridiculous cheeseburgers in the county, you won’t be disappointed venturing into Kankakee to discover Burgers & Beer.  Not only are the burgers HUGE, but they have a wide selection of craft beers in bottles and cans for your enjoyment.

The Hoppy Pig –  Located on Rt. 50 in Bradley is this great place for BBQ (try the pulled pork sandwich) and excellent craft beer from across the midwest on tap.  

Wine / Whiskey

Flight 102 Wine Bar – If relaxing with a glass of wine is more your thing, Flight 102 Wine Bar on RT. 102 in Bourbonnais will be your spot.  Their executive chef was even on an episode of Cutthroat Kitchen with Alton Brown.

Grapes & Hops – Another excellent wine bar located in Kankakee is Grapes & Hops.  They also feature a fine selection of whiskey’s distilled in the Chicagoland area.

Family Dining

Jaenicke’s Root Beer Stand – Janicke’s is a Bourbonnais staple and an experience right out of a John Mellencamp song.  Get your Chicago style hot dogs here.

Monical’s Pizza – The Family Pleaser is a surefire hit for the whole family.  Best for lovers of thin crust, square cut pizza.

Aurelio’s Pizza – And for the deep dish lovers, Aurelio’s Pizza on RT. 45 is going to be your best ticket.

Dessert / Coffee

PJ’s Ice Cream & Coffee – right in downtown Manteno, pick up 2 scoops from this old school ice cream shop. It will more than satisfy your sweet tooth.

Stefari Café – Life’s too short to drink Starbucks.  This hotspot is popular with the ONU students and coffee aficionado’s.  Perfect for latte’s and specialty drinks.

RECREATION & ATTRACTIONS

Perry Farm – Great for bike riding and hiking along the beautiful Kankakee River.  There’s plenty of caves to go exploring in as well!

Kankakee River State Park – Located on RT. 102, this state park is great for camping and enjoying the great outdoors.

The Exploration Station (Children’s Museum) – The Exploration Station is a pillar of the community and has been in operation even since I was a child.  It’s a great place to go and play if you have small children with you in tow. 

Classic Cinemas Paramount Theater – The historic Paramount theater in downtown Kankakee will transport you back in time when movie going was an experience.    

WORK & EMPLOYMENT

Love it so much that you want to work and live there? For all the latest news about how Kankakee County is becoming a world class community to live in, follow these sources…

Kankakee County Convention & Visitors Bureau 

Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce

Economic Alliance of Kankakee County

There’s more to this sleepy town than meets the eye. 

 If you find this guide helpful, please forward and share with the other Bears fans you have in your life!

Until next time…Bear Down!

Ken Webster

Ken Webster

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