In the past year, I have noticed a trend that I find encouraging–Long Grove restaurants being opened or purchased by Long Grove residents. There is something very heartwarming about seeing our own citizens caring about our historic downtown and stepping in to be invested in seeing it succeed. The Chatterbox, Long Grove Café, and Broken Earth Winery are all recent examples of this, as is the new owner of Beans & Leaves, Ethel Berger.
Ethel, along with her husband and two daughters, has lived in Long Grove for about two years. They most recently moved from Buffalo Grove, but Ethel has spent her life in many different places around the globe. She was born in the Philippines and came first to the United States to attend college in Washington D.C. Ethel started her career working for World Bank, and followed with a move to California for a job in the software industry. Eventually deciding that her life needed a new direction, she sold everything she owned and moved to Italy to attend culinary school. Ethel pursued this career as a chef at Club Med resorts, with Fairmont Hotels, and also worked as a personal chef. She moved back to the United States with intentions of returning to Europe, but fate intervened when she met her husband Tim.
Fast forward several years, to a busy Mom dropping off her girls at the Montessori School in Long Grove, and stopping by for a cup of coffee at Beans & Leaves. As a regular customer, Ethel was familiar with the business and when former owner Karen Krahn decided it was time to move on, the timing was just right for Ethel. She anticipates making only minor cosmetic changes for now, while slowly making the business her own. One thing that will continue is the tradition of live music. Supporting musicians is important to Ethel as she serves on the board for Landowska Harpsichord Society in Chicago, which provides a Foundation to encourage new and young musicians.
Please join me in welcoming Ethel as one of our newest Long Grove merchants. Stop by for a cup of coffee or tea on your next drive through the crossroads, and get to know this neighbor who is playing a role in helping our downtown make a comeback.