Explore: Hot Block: Main Street St. Charles

 In Culture, Feature

This charming street boasts cozy mom-and-pop shops, worldclass dining and friendly locals.


I tend to bristle whenever someone cheerfully exclaims, “It’s far, but worth the drive.” But that very saying popped into my head as I drove home from Main Street in St. Charles. For me, it’s a solid half-hour commute both ways, but once I was there, the friendly business owners, good food and the welcoming atmosphere made it very much worth the drive.

Some of the friendliest servers on Main Street are at Magpie’s Café, a great restaurant that serves delicious yet simple sandwiches, soups, salads, quiches and house-made
desserts. Magpie’s has been family owned for nearly a quarter of a century and has racked up numerous local awards. Their famous baked potato soup is the perfect comfort food to enjoy on a brisk fall day.

Capping the north end of Main Street is the Foundry Art Centre, a bright and airy space
that presents visual arts exhibits and performing arts to the community, and also offers art education programs. The building, a former train car factory, is a gem, but it’s what I find inside that truly inspires.

I’m a sucker for sweets (especially baked goods), and the yummy smells wafting from J.
‘s drew me like a moth to a flame. The Noto family specializes in Italian confections and pastries and also creates spectacular wedding cakes. Last month, the store’s pastry chefs took a trip to Italy to learn new ways to perfect their trade.

By day, Main Street is bustling with families spending time on patios and enjoying the
treasures within its inviting shops. When night falls, Main Street’s nightlife emerges. Adding to what is mostly a mix of pubs and sports bars is Quintessential, a new-ish nightclub/restaurant/event space. The expansive rooftop is a great place to have a peaceful lunch during the day, or to dance till dawn once the party crowd comes out to play.


919_412.jpgMagpie’s Cafe


921_412.jpgJ. Noto Fine Italian Confections



Photo credit: Photos courtesy of the retailers

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