Tucked into the shadow of Indiana Dunes yet a mere 45 minutes away from Chicago, Chesterton combines the hospitality and serenity of small town living with the economic viability and cultural opportunities of a world-class city. It’s not hard to see why Chesterton continues to gain international attention as one of the best places in North America to live, work and play.
Town Manager Bernie Doyle says that the town has engaged in years of smart growth to offer residents and visitors a vibrant downtown with the bustling European Market, restaurants, and specialty shops that are second to none. One initiative that town officials enacted to help attract dining to the town is the Riverfront District liquor licensing program which allowed more liquor licenses to be issued to fine dining restaurants. “The benefit of this initiative continues with the most recent recipient being Lemon Tree, a Mediterranean style restaurant,” says Doyle. Other excellent dining establishments include Taste of India, formerly known as Taj; Octave Grill, Villa Nova Pizza, Lucrezia Café, Val’s Grinders & Pizza, Sage, and plenty of other delectable dining attractions. Doyle says, “Excellent dining options are consistent with our vision of making Chesterton a unique destination. We wanted to provide family dining as well as fine dining options with wine, beer, and cocktail choices.”
Chesterton’s downtown is perhaps most well known for their European Market. “It’s our crown jewel,” Doyle says. This outdoor market is vibrant with live music, fresh produce, imported spices, original artwork, home decor, jewelry, flowers, fresh baked bread, and great foods. Chesterton’s European Market runs every Saturday from the beginning of May through the end of October in historic downtown Chesterton from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Broadway and Third Street, next to Thomas Centennial Park.
Downtown Chesterton is also packed with exceptional bed and breakfasts, like Riley’s Railhouse, and shopping. O’Gara & Wilson Antiquarian Booksellers., which was established in 1882 in Chicago’s Hyde Park, returns to Chesterton having recently closed their Chicago location and begin the next chapter of their business. “You don’t see a bookstore like this very often—a place that buys and sells books,” Doyle says. Other special shops in Chesterton include Stephanie Swanson Jewelry Design which offers one of a kind jewelry made with a professional jeweler’s precision, but from an artist’s perspective. The Flower Cart is much more than just flowers, although floral designs are award-winning. This store boasts two floors of home décor, jewelry, clothing, accessories, and more. And Chelle’s is a boutique that promote artisan made products and manufacturers that place less of a demand on our earth. Doyle says, “The downtown is growing, it is vibrant, and Chesterton is a destination. We are rebuilding one business at a time, understanding that even in today’s e-commerce world, you just can’t find events, restaurants, and shops like these anywhere else.”