Leaving a Handmade Mark on Illinois

Doing things the old fashioned way has its benefits; it feeds the soul and progresses a craft. Now, meet the makers who look to the past to shape the future of their craft by hand.

Photo By: Neil Burger

Mark of Excellence

Blaum Bros Distilling is a testament to a higher standard. Around every bottle is a label that's earned, not given, when a batch of liquor meets the high standards of this distillery.

The Brothers Behind the Bottle

Matt & Mike Blaum take to the distillery every day to make sure that every drop of every bottle lives up to their vision of what great bourbon should taste like.

Aged to Perfection

Bold, quality bourbon takes time. But the Blaum brothers are prepared to wait for their barrel — aged bourbon to reach that specific, unmatched flavor that they started their distillery in search of.

Hats Off to this Maker

The name's Graham Thompson and his hat shop, Optimo, lays roots in downtown Chicago, hand making hats with sense of modern — meets — classic styling.

Carrying on the Tradition

After getting the keys to master hat maker Johnny Tyus' shop, Thompson carries on his legacy by making the city’s finest hats with traditional techniques in mind and old — world machinery at hand.

Life's Better in a Good Hat

Taking the phrase to heart, Thompson and his crew of seasoned craftsmen sweat the details of every hat, knowing it's a piece that each wearer will proudly carry on for years to come.

Flavor, Footsteps Away

Just steps from Firefly Grill is their lush garden, where the restaurant's chefs go to comb through ripe produce in search of flavorful dish inspiration.

Looking to the Locals

Turning to their local ecosystem, Firefly curates their menu with local artisans, foragers, and fishers in mind to keep their food rooted in community.

The Difference is in the Details

Reflective of what's fresh in their garden, Firefly's chefs craft each dish with a finger on the pulse of what ingredients are at peak freshness.

Good Food by Good People

Living proof of their motto "keep it simple, source the best ingredients and stay out of their way," this power — duo keeps the craft of simple, good food as a driving force under Firefly's roof.