4xForth: Erin Huizenga of Borough & Block and Till School / by Clare Johnson

It's 4xForth Friday and today we're featuring the multi-talented Erin Huizenga of Borough & Block, and Till School. Each week, we highlight one of the incredible women in our community by finding out more about her favorite hot-spots, restaurants, day-trips and more.

Not only is Erin an incredibly accomplished designer, strategist and entrepreneur, she's also a delightful dinner guest, mentor and friend. Erin's career is chock-full of accomplishments - from her years of work consulting for Fortune 100 and 500 companies, to founding Till School: a community design school created to engage high schoolers in community design initiatives. We feel very fortunate to have her energy and insight in our community! Read on and learn more about her favorite sites and bites in our great city.

Places I frequent in Chicago:

  1. For lunch meetings, my favorite place to meet is The Kitchen in River North, especially if the meeting is with an out of town guest. The building has a lot of history and the build-out of this new restaurant is spectacular and right on the river with great views. Plus, the food is mighty good and perfectly portioned. The Kitchen was originally founded in Boulder, CO, where I’m from, so I feel like there’s a little of Colorado in the city now as well and that makes my heart happy.
  2. For working days, I love to hang out at Reno in Logan Square. It’s cash only, has the best lattes in the city, and the most spectacular kale salad for lunching pleasures. And, I like to plan back to back meetings and invite folks to join in the fun with me… it’s almost like office hours.
  3. For break time, Chris and I love to take long walks up lake shore for our date nights. It gives us time to regroup, enjoy the city’s views, dream about what’s next, and reflect on what’s happened. On these walks we like to dream together and talk about what’s next and who we’d like to help or invest in during the months to come.

Favorite places to visit outside the city/day trips from Chicago:

  1. We love to visit Madison from time to time to get out of Chicago. We walk along the main college drag, take in the shops and little restaurants, and try to find local music. We discovered Shitty Barn from our friends at Planet Propaganda and we enjoy The Old Fashioned on the square, especially while the Farmer’s Market is in full bloom!
  2. We also love to hop in the car and drive to Nashville since we (secretly) love some country music from time to time. (I’m from Colorado, give me a break!) Some of our favorite places are Imogene and Willie, Taqueria del sol (which I discovered in Atlanta in graduate school and now there’s one in Nashville too!), The Ryman, Barista Parlor (legendary coffee shop), Hatch Show Print, Pinewood Social (complete with bowling alley and swimming pool in the back), Patterson House, Leiper's Fork Puckett's (the original, not the one in downtown Nashville), Station Inn, Acme Feed and Seed.

Favorite things to do in Chicago when out of town guests come to visit:

  1. Architectural Boat Tour, hands down, the best way to show friends the city if there’s only a day or two to play!
  2. Pete Miller’s in Evanston, we had our wedding party celebrations here, Chris’ masters graduation party here, and celebrated being pregnant with our son Knox here. Great memories and an amazing escape from the city. Best cosmopolitan around and there’s a live jazz trio nearly every night!

Favorite Chicago neighborhoods:

My heart is so fond of the two places we’ve lived in the city:

  1. We lived in Rogers Park for nearly 10 years. We loved walking to the beach with our coffee almost every morning, running through Loyola, walking to Metropolis, exploring all the quirky little local shops. And, we loved the diversity the neighborhood offers in terms of thought, background, and opinion.
  2. We now live in Norwood Park/Oriole Park and friends say our little home is a cottage in the city. It’s just off the Harlem blue line stop and just inside the city limit from Park Ridge. It’s close to public transit, has a glorious city park and library we walk to almost daily, and we like to close most days in the summer with a salad from our tower garden, a fire in the backyard, some s'mores, and the camaraderie of friends. Come on over!

Thanks for sharing, Erin!

Your day (or weekend) trip recommendations sound incredible, as do your favorite Chicago restaurants. The Architectural Boat Tours are a fantastic way to showcase our beautiful city - we agree! - and your summer evenings at home sound absolutely divine. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and favorite spots with us. We look forward to following and championing all of your amazing work with Borough and Block and Till School!

Follow Erin on Twitter, Till School's Instagram, Borough and Block's Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and on B&B's and Till School's websites.