4xForth: Molly Cantrell-Kraig of the Women with Drive Foundation / by Clare Johnson

Happy 4xForth Friday!

Our 4xForth blog series highlights one of the women in our community by learning about her favorite Chicago bites, hot-spots and recommendations. Today, we're talking to Molly Cantrell-Kraig, Founder of the Women with Drive Foundation.

We first met Molly at our summer salon, hosted at Greenhouse Loft. Our topic of conversation revolved around self-care, and learning to care for oneself in the midst of a time consuming career. Molly's personal and professional story is one for the books - full of inspiration and incredible insight - and today, we're getting to a little dose of the woman behind the WWDF.

Places I frequent in Chicago:

"I grew up in a small town of 2,000 people and was always intimidated by the thought of The Big City. What I've found, living in Chicago, is a dynamic collection of cities, all populated by quirky, smart, curious and fun people. Chicago really IS my kind of town."

  1. I love riding my bike along the lake. The Dock at Montrose Beach is a stop, where my "carrot" is a cold beer and a plate of sweet potato fries.
  2. My membership to the Art Institute of Chicago is a great investment. In the summer, I love the gardens. The winter means lots of trips to the exhibits, where I can stop in the member's lounge for a glass of wine or their holiday hot cocoa. Parsing the trips into 1-2 segments mean that I can explore the collection on MY time.

Best Bites in Chicago:

  1. The Gage is a must stop. Their service is impeccable and I love their rotating menu based on the current local produce available. It's also a wonderful place to strike up a conversation, be of the diversity of patrons ~ both locals, tourists and international business people stop by for a bite and a pint.
  2. Gaslight has mahi mahi tacos that defy description. The ginger slaw is crunchy, tangy and has a bit of a bite. They also serve a freshly made chocolate chip cookie topped with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge that reminds me of indulgent grandmas everywhere.
  3. The Boiler Room has my favorite pizza in Chicago. Their crust is dusted with corn meal and folds like a dream. Cash only, but if you save your ATM receipt, it's worth a free shot of Jamesons. We always order the drunk donuts for dessert ~ freshly made donuts served with whiskey-infused soft serve.

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

  1. I love Traverse City and try to attend as many of their Traverse City Film Fests as possible.
  2. Michigan and Indiana day trips in general are wonderful. We usually stick to the beaches and have never struck out. Bridges Waterside Grille in Michigan City, IN, has a kick ass vegan quinoa burger.

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

  1. Urban Kayaks is a great way to see the city from a new angle. Their Chicago River tours are accessible for any skill level. The most recent tour I went on had kids as young as 5ish in tandems.
  2. The Chicago Architecture Foundation is also a home run for ideas. Whether walking or boating tours, they're affordable and give an amazing amount of intel within a short time.
  3. Jazz at the Green Mill, a pint at Monk's on Lake and tour of the public art is always fun. You can see a wealth of world-class sculpture in the Loop.

"Chicago really is a welcoming city. Moving here to scale our foundation will take us the rest of my life, and there's no place I'd rather be."

Forth Chicago and the city of Chicago are lucky to have you, Molly! Your recommendations are top-notch (just like you!) and we're so excited to see where you take the WWDF in the future. We'll be right behind you, championing your work every step of the way!

Connect and follow Molly on Twitter, WWDF Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.