La Grange Finds

Recently, our house has been inundated with birthday party invites. It seems as soon as the snow melted, our social calendar began to fill up. Now don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad thing. As a mom of two young children, working the birthday party circuit is one of my favorite parental duties. I’m a social butterfly and as a recent city-to-suburb convert I love to discover new places in the area that cater to the preschool set. But for some reason, buying the birthday present has always been a chore for me.

The hard part for me is choosing the perfect gift. Most of the time, I have a good idea of what toys the birthday girl or boy already has so the same-old toys on the Target aisle just won’t do. But thankfully, I recently discovered Y and Z Kids in La Grange. This brightly decorated “kids’ boutique” offers a wide variety of toys, clothes and crafts for children ranging in age from newborn to 12.

Husband and wife Geoffrey Forsyth and Elani Zissimopoulos, who opened the store in 2006, have thoughtfully laid out the store to help shoppers easily find the perfect gift: adorable girl clothes on the left, stylish boy clothes on the right, board games and crafts in the back, gifts sorted by age distributed down the middle of the store with imaginative and fun accessories scattered throughout. The toy selection was fresh, creative and new, while still offering the classics, all at reasonable prices.  Popular brands offered include Alex, Calico Critters, Manhattan Toy, Rich Frog and Ugly Dolls.

It is easy to forget what toys are popular with a two-year-old when you don’t have a two-year-old anymore, but thankfully, Geoffrey helped me focus in on a few age-appropriate gifts for the birthday girl. I was able to quickly select a great gift and keep an eye on my girls while they enjoyed checking out all the toys, too.

And the favorite part for this busy mama? Free gift-wrapping! And not just any old gift-wrapping; the presents were placed in an adorable reusable bag stuffed with bright tissue paper and tied up with color ribbons.  So it was not only cute and festive, but also it was eco-friendly.

While I’m in La Grange, I always make time to eat. Shopping does work up an appetite after all, and thankfully, this western suburb does not disappoint. Two of my favorites restaurants for a quick bite are Grapevine and Q BBQ. Both offer affordable and delicious food in a casual environment, fit for a family meal or even a laid-back date night. Grapevine offers Mediterranean cuisine in a quaint and cozy atmosphere. The menu features traditional Greek entrees, hot and cold sandwiches and salads, as well as wood-burning brick oven pizzas. My favorite is the warm portabella mushroom sandwich. Q BBQ is hands-down the best BBQ in the western suburbs if not all of Chicago. Try a combo meal so you can taste all the delicious meat options. The smoked pulled chicken and Texas brisket with a side of corn bread and q-puppies is top on my list! And for this southerner, I knew I was in love when I saw the words “Sweet Tea” on the menu.


Y and Z Kids

711 W. Hillgrove in La Grange


Metra Stop: BNSF Stone Avenue stop.

Accepts Visa, MasterCard and American Express

Hours of Operation:

Monday – Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Sunday: Closed



9 West Hillgrove Avenue in La Grange


Metra Stop: La Grange Road

Hours of Operation:

Monday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Sunday: Closed


70 South LaGrange Road

(708) 482-8700

Metra Train: La Grange Road

Hours of Operation:

Monday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Sunday: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.


***All photos are taken by the author.


Maureen O'Shay

Maureen O'Shay, a Florida native, is a former public relations agency manager turned stay-at-home mom who has given up year-round sunshine for Chicagoland's awesome culture, cuisine and crazy weather -- but she wouldn't want it any other way. She is an avid runner and owner of Maureen O'Shay Photography. She resides in the Western Suburbs with her husband and two daughters. You can connect with her on Twitter @MaureenOShay or at

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