History teachers looking for ways to make their classes more palatable might take a lesson from Mike Wyrostek: throw in a slice of pizza and some cookie dough ice cream and embrace a renewed reception. Using this formula, the founder of Naperville Bites and Sites aims to introduce Naperville’s residents and visitors to food and cultural treasures within Naperville’s historic district. Structured as guided and narrated tours, the three-hour jaunts feature hidden artwork, distinctive architecture, and local lore peppered with delicious food samplings from unique restaurants and shops.
A $50 ticket includes six food tastings, spread out over a two-and-a half-mile walking path. But don’t let the distance deter you – a leisurely pace and plenty of stops will ensure that all participants are well rested and fortified before taking off for the next destination. Mini-portions of delicious ethic dishes from small, independent venues have become a signature attraction. Group members can look forward to visiting a neighborhood tavern, an authentic Irish pub, and a 100-year-old family run meat market and deli.
Along the way, the tour guide will reveal fun facts about the fare. Architectural, historical and cultural details will be highlighted, giving insight to Naperville’s often overlooked bounty of offerings. Starting at the Fifth Avenue train station, tourists will learn about Naperville Century Walk’s public art sculptures and the worst train wreck in Chicagoland history. Many more compelling stories will be revealed over the course of the next few hours.
Individuals from corporate team-building exercises, bachelorette parties, senior social clubs and meet- up groups are among those who found educational and gastronomic fulfillment through Naperville Bites and Sites. “I’m a one-man operation. I love history and I love to eat, and so I combined the two things for the tours I conduct,” Wyrostek said.
Lunchtime tours are available every weekend, April through November. Advance purchase is required. Group size is generally limited to 10 to 15 people.
For more information, check out www.napervillefoodtours.com or call (630) 347-6553.