Rockford, Illinois, doesn’t mess around when it claims to be real and original, especially when it comes to great places to grab a bite with a brew (a hot or cold one). The history of Rockford is steeped in artisans and craftsmen who created an illustrious manufacturing-focused downtown that grew to be one of the largest cities in Illinois. That culture of creation has evolved over the years, and today the downtown is transforming into an entertainment hub that has culinary craftsmen plying their trade along the banks of the Rock River.
When coffee is key
In downtown Rockford, three shops all within walking distance will give you the jolt you are looking for and some great foods to pair with it. From the Rockford Roasting Company, whose drip coffee and outdoor seating makes it hum with hipsters, to Octane Interlounge, which constantly has a host of business professionals holding daytime meetings and then converts to a great restaurant and bar at night, to Wired Café, which is nestled along a cozy corridor filled with eclectic shops and restaurants. These quaint cafes are the perfect stop while strolling the shops or while waiting to take in a community festival or a show at the historic Coronado Theatre.
Or maybe it’s time for a meal
They come from all over the country and hear the stories about the epic burgers from a small restaurant on Rockford’s southside. The site used to be a neighborhood ice cream stand 30 years ago, but now it has a new owner and a menu filled with Instagram-ready hamburgers that taste even better than they look. 15th and Chris is worth traveling to and worth waiting for … trust us, on beautiful sunny days, there will be a line out the door.
If farm-to-table is more your speed, head to downtown Rockford where three restaurants owned by chef Paul Sletton will keep you asking for seconds – Abreo, Social and Taco Betty’s all quickly became staples for every Rockfordian and visitors have quickly caught on. All three are within walking distance of each other and make the perfect impromptu restaurant crawl.
With the emerging culinary scene enhancing the culture of downtown Rockford, take the time to experience what is being created by our foodie artisans, and enjoy it with a nice beverage of your choosing.
Check out all the great restaurants at https://www.gorockford.com/restaurants/