In the days of big box stores and chain restaurants, it sometimes can be a relief to find a place that's been unchanged by modern conveniences. Such is the case at The Little Popcorn Store (just called The Popcorn Shop by locals), which has been serving up freshly popped, butter-free popcorn and candy since 1921.
You might never notice the tiny store, literally sandwiched between two other shops in a former alley, save for the bright red awning where generations have stopped for an afternoon-or morning, or evening-snack.
Entering the store, you feel like you've stepped back in time. The smell is classic movie theater (minus the fake butter) and the size of the shop alone-it used to be called the In-Between Shop-makes it feel like a relic.
Adults easily can stretch out their arms and touch both walls at the same time. Of course, the narrowness of the store means you're guaranteed at least a short wait, since only one customer can be served at a time.
White paper bags can be filled with candies that cost as little as five cents each, and range from classic treats to contemporary favorites. I personally like the option of creating a mix of individual gummy candies for less than $1.
The main attraction, the popcorn, ranges from $1.75 for a small bag (enough to share) to $4.50 for a large, making it an inexpensive, healthy snack. And on nice days, the fountain across the street is a great spot to munch your treats. Or on Saturday mornings, take your snack across the railroad tracks to stroll through the French Market with your family.
Elizabeth Diffin is the associate editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
See more of Elizabeth's stories here.