Meet the Mayoral Candidate – Brian Leggero

If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook, you have probably noticed through our friendly election day reminders that we are big advocates of voting in our local elections. Voting local, much like buying local, gives us the opportunity to have a say in where and how we believe our tax money should be spent. It also allows us to elect officials who we feel will represent the best interest of the 815.

In the last few weeks there have been a lot of candidate forums and debates in preparation for the upcoming Rockford mayoral election. As fans of the national news website The Skimm, and as  local, lifestyle bloggers, we decided to mimic their Presidential candidate interviews by taking a personal twist on interviewing the four Rockford mayoral candidates. We will post one candidate per day, and we encourage you to check out their campaign pages for the nitty gritty on their policies.

First up, business owner Brian Leggero, Republican candidate.

What is your morning routine?
I wake up, my knees hit the floor and I thank God for another day on this Earth.

How do you take your coffee?
With 1 cream

When you are not running for mayor, what do you do?
Run my business, enjoy time with family and friends, golf, hunt, fish, camp and enjoy being outdoors.

Fun Fact
Led the effort and I got Cheap Trick finally nominated, inducted and to be the featured artist at the Induction ceremony at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  It was great for them well deserved and shined a very positive light on Rockford.

What do you think is the best kept secret in Rockford?
Our filmmakers here.

Who should we call for a reference?
Leann Jenkins

What is your favorite, annual, Rockford event?
Waterfront

What was the last movie you saw in the theater?
Jason Bourne

Who is winning your March Madness bracket?
The Gators.

Why should Rockford hire you?
Because I am the best person for the job ahead.

For more information on Brian, check out www.BrianforMayor.com or visit his Facebook page.

815-Rockford’s Magazine-Spring Edition

Photo Cred: Arturo Fernandez/RRSTAR.com

It might not feel like spring is right around the corner (crazy Midwest weather!), but we can assure you that based on the calendar, IT IS!  With spring comes not only the first signs of green and warmer (hopefully!) temps, but SPRING BREAK. We all know that once we leave school, it takes a lot of effort to take an entire week off of work/life in March or April for “Spring Break.”  Between possible limited vacation time, different breaks for kids, cost, and other limiting factors, it becomes a struggle to set aside time for vacation. With that being said, we decided to highlight five day trip destinations for those who can spare a day or two away this spring. In the past, we have highlighted spring break ideas in the area for kids, but currently, we would like to focus on day trips for the adult spring break.  While there are wonderful things to do right here in the 815, we also believe one of the many perks to living in this area, is the proximity to some other great towns and cities. Here is a sneak peak at our piece which will appear this Sunday in the spring issue of the Rockford Register Star’s 815 Magazine.  Be sure to pick up a copy and we hope you enjoy!

Monroe, WI

Monroe, Wisconsin, less than an hour from Rockford, is one of our favorite day trips when we are looking to get away for a day.  As the “Swiss Cheese Capital of the World,” Monroe is home to a lot of cheese shops and restaurants, perhaps most famous, Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern.  Things to do/Places to eat: Shopping on the Square, Pancho & Lefty’s (a favorite), and Minhas Craft Brewery/Minhas Micro Distillery.

Oglesby, IL

Starved Rock State Park is the main attraction when driving to Oglesby, Illinois.  Located just over an hour away, Starved Rock is home to incredible waterfalls (specifically in the Spring), and 13 miles of trails along the Illinois River.  If you are looking for an active day of hiking, fishing, boating, or just a place to enjoy the outdoors and relax, Starved Rock Park is the place.

Madison, WI

An hour away, Madison, Wisconsin is one of our favorite cities in the entire country.  Yes, we said it.  Madison is home to some of the best and most scenic biking trails in the country and offers great boating opportunities on the lakes.  After you have put in some miles on the bike or boat on Lake Mendota, there are incredible restaurants, plenty of opportunities to quench your thirst, unique shops, and beautiful scenery to enjoy. Springtime is the perfect time to spend a day in Madison and  advantage of all Madison has to offer.  

Galena, IL

While driving around the Midwest, especially through Illinois, one may notice that the scenery is well, flat.  However, this is not the case if you head an hour and a half west to Galena, Illinois.  With expansive rolling hills, historic charm, and gorgeous scenery, Galena is a perfect place to spend a day this Spring.  One of our favorite things to do in Galena is tour the three area wineries.  However, Galena is also home to many unique restaurants, shops, art galleries, antique stores, ten golf courses, hiking, and historic sites.  In fact, we are going to go set up our trip to Galena right now!

Milwaukee, WI

We couldn’t list some of our favorite places to visit nearby without including Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Have you ever heard anyone say anything negative after they come back from visiting Milwaukee?  In fact, we always hear, “Oh, I could totally live in a place like Milwaukee.”  Of course, one day in Milwaukee will never be enough, but why not start chipping away at all there is to do in this awesome city.  The city is home to incredible biking trails, museums, and marinas all located on Lake Michigan.  In addition, if you happen to enjoy a good beer (or more), Milwaukee is home to over a dozen breweries where you should be able to get your fill (just make sure you have a driver to get you home).  Just an hour and a half away, Milwaukee is another great spring break option close to home.

If you can’t get away for a full week this Spring, we hope you are able to not only take advantage of all the 815 has to offer, but are able to explore these other five destinations as well.  Who says spring break is just for the kids?!  

 

Meet Your Bartender – Ryan Bressler

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day weekend, we are back with another Meet Your Bartender post! Meet Ryan Bressler, bartender and co-owner of The Detour, the 815’s newest bar and grill. He’s a beer aficionado, and he’s got great taste in whiskeys, too. Let’s meet Ryan!

Name: Ryan Bressler

Age you feel: 30

Neighborhood: Guilford Country Club Estates

Years behind the bar: 11

What’s the best part of your job? The interaction with the people – it keeps it fun.

What’s the toughest part of your job? Also the interaction with the people. It’s never fun to have to cut people off or ask them to leave.

When you order a drink, what is your go-to? Basil Hayden’s Whiskey or a good craft beer.

The ideal night at the bar would look like this: Full bar and full tables. Standing room only. Everyone is ordering craft beers and craft cocktails. The kitchen is busy, and everyone is having a good time.

Other than The Detour, what bar(s) would you take a visitor to? Brewsky’sOlympic TavernRural on Tap and Drink

What is your favorite bar gadget? The glass rinser.

Do you have a specialty drink? I make a Hawaiian Punch drink that tastes just like the classic childhood Hawaiian Punch. I also make a good Payday (candy bar) shot.

What do you love about Rockford? Everyone is friendly. I like that people are supportive of local businesses. It’s the smallest big town in Illinois – for example, I saw four people I knew at breakfast this morning.

Thanks for making our drinks and for making the 815 awesome, Ryan!

Eight in the Eight-March 2017

Dr. Seuss Family Fun Fair @ YMCA of Rock River Valley Northeast Branch                         When: Friday, March 3 from 6:00pm-8:00pm

Check out a night of fun for the whole family at the Northeast YMCA’s annual fundraiser full of games, prizes and all things Dr. Seuss.

Lou Bachrodt Indoor Winter Market @ Lou Bachrodt Auto Mall                                                             When: Saturday, March 4 from 10:00am-2:00pm

I don’t know about you, but I am really missing the City Market these days.  However, we can get a taste of the market at the Lou Bachrodt winter market.  Many of your City Market favorites will be there selling their goods.  Check here for more information.

Sock Monkey Madness Festival @ Midway Village Museum                                                                     When: Saturday, March 4 & Sunday, March 5 from 10:00am-4:00pm

If you have been following State & Eight for the past year, you may remember that I attended the Sock Monkey Madness Festival a year ago and had a GREAT time.  This year head over to Midway Village Museum for a Candyland themed Sock Monkey event with activities such as Make A Monkey Workshop, a treasure hunt, monkeys on display and several other family friendly activities.

ART TALKS: Kailley Lindman Federighi @ Rockford Art Museum                                               When: Wednesday, March 8 @ 12:00pm

Be sure to sign up for the 2nd part of this series annually presented by Women’s Art Board, today! The speaker for the luncheon on March 8 is Chicago food writer, photographer, and blogger Kailley Lindman Federighi. Lunch is included with lecture reservation, which is required one week prior.

Grow Great Lilies in the Rock River Valley @ Klehm Arboretum                                                           When: Saturday, March 18 from 9:00am-11:00am

I like to think I have a decent green thumb.  But, I am MORE than excited to learn about what will thrive in my yard, and that’s why I think this lilies workshop will be an event I can’t miss.  You will learn simple propagation techniques, hear about the wide variety of lilies that flourish in our area and learn how to design a garden with lilies so some are in bloom all summer long. Bulbs will be for sale on sight!

Miranda Lambert @ BMO Harris Bank Center                                                                                     When: Saturday, March 18 @ 7:00pm

Even if you aren’t that into country music (or maybe you are!), I think we can all agree that Miranda Lambert will put on one heck of a concert.  The best thing is that she is going to be right here in Rockford.  There is still time to get tickets, but I wouldn’t wait.  This show will probably sell out!

Flag Class @ Board & Brush                                                                                                                                   When: Saturday, March 25 from 2:00pm-5:00pm

I am ashamed to say I haven’t made it to Board & Brush in Roscoe yet.  However, this American Flag Class looks REALLY fun and who doesn’t love a little patriotism, art, AND wine all at once?  You can register for this class here, but if you can’t make it, check out the wide variety of classes Board & Brush has to offer here.

Rockford Meltfest @ Prairie Street Brewhouse                                                                                           When: Saturday, March 25 from 10:00am-5:00pm

Bye, bye winter!  The 4th annual MELTFEST is the best way I can think of to get rid of winter and welcome spring.  Check out the MELTFEST website for a full list of activities free family friendly activities, the 5K, live music, food, etc.  We had a GREAT time last year and you can check out our recap here.

Dinner at Josef Barbados

Thank you so much for the kind messages you sent us as we celebrated our one-year blog anniversary this month.  We love sharing what we love in the 815, and we hope that we continue to introduce you to great people, fun things to do and delicious eats. To celebrate a fun year one, we decided to go out for a nice girls dinner to one of our favorite East Side restaurants, Josef Barbados.

Josef’s has an elegant, formal dining room, that I often feel the need to save  for special occasions, but they recently converted part of the dining room to be a more relaxed restaurant eating area near their wine cellar, and it was perfect for our celebratory dinner.  Especially because our dinners often include whipping out our notebooks and planners to jot down upcoming blog features. Another option is to eat and drink in the super hip bar, but even on a Thursday the seats were pretty full of diners and drinkers.

Ok, onto the photos and descriptions of the good eats. Owner Josef Schwaiger is an extremely talented chef, and therefore we tried every course. No regrets. We started by splitting the recommended crab cake appetizer, and we could not give up our appetizer plate to our waitress because we needed every last bite of this huge crab cake.

Next we had salads, and I have to brag about my salad because it came with goat cheese stuffed croutons. GOAT. CHEESE. STUFFED. CROUTONS.

For dinner I ordered their Char Grilled New York Strip which was cooked to perfection and topped with a delicious Madagascar sauce . It was accompanied by veggies and a delicious twice baked potato. I will be back for this steak.

Em had the Seafood Ragout with mussels, scallops, shrimp, white fish and salmon served over pasta. So many delicious tastes and smells.

Since starting the blog, we occasionally get recognized for our 815 articles in the Rockford Register Star, or from people who have come across our blog. While wrapping up dinner, a waiter told us we looked familiar and asked if we were on the news. We mentioned our articles and blog, and it came together for him. He insisted, despite our food comas, that we try their dessert sampler. Twist our arms. While all of the desserts were super yummy, we were blown away by the Tres Leches cake. In fact, I’m going back to Josef’s this week to celebrate my birthday with my family, and I’m already planning on having that for dessert.

What are your favorite dishes that you’ve tried at Josef’s? What did we miss?

 

Eight in the Eight-February 2017

Before we get to the awesome activities happening in the 815 this month, we want to take the time to say a BIG thank you.  One year ago this month, we started State & Eight.  You all have welcomed our blog with open arms and we feel a great sense of pride for what it has become.  There are times when it can be hard to keep up with things, but knowing that you all enjoy our blog makes it all worthwhile.  Cheers to another exciting year of all good things Rockford! Happy One Year Anniversary to State & Eight!

Rockton Yeti Fest @ Downtown Rockton                                                                                               When: Wednesday, February 1-Saturday, February 4, 2017

Make the most of the cold weather, put on your layers, and enjoy Rockton in the winter and take part in the following activities: Walk Like a Yeti (snowshoeing), Sculpt Like a Yeti (snow sculptures), Skate Like a Yeti (ice skating at Village Green Park), and Shop and Eat Like a Yeti in downtown Rockton.  For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.

Super Bowl Festivities @ All over the 815                                                                                 When: Sunday, February 5, 2017

With brunch at Abreo (PK diner pop up!), a killer carry-out menu from Prairie Street Brewing Company, a Super Bowl shindig at Rural On Tap, and countless Super Bowl specials across the 815, we are sure of two things.  1. You will not go hungry and 2. You will not go thirsty.  Enjoy this American holiday and treat yourself to some amazing local food and drinks.

I Love the 90s Tour @ BMO Harris Bank Center                                                                                     When: Friday, February 10, 2017

What do Salt N Pepa, Vanilla Ice, Coolio, Tone Loc, Young MC, and Rob Base equal?  Only our childhood!  Take a trip back to the 90s for a concert that will be so. much. fun.  Whip out the scrunchies and neon colors and go all out for a night down memory lane. Get tickets here.

Love The Blocks @ Downtown Rockford                                                                                               When: Saturday, February 11, 2017

Shop, dine, entertain, gallery hop! Downtown Rockford will be feeling the love for a special Shop the Blocks. With over 25 shops and restaurants participating, you’ll find so much to chose from Be sure to take a look at the Facebook event page to see all the amazing Love The Blocks specials.

In Full Bloom Orchid Exhibit @ Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens                                                 When: February 1, 2017-March 5, 2017

The In Full Bloom Orchid Exhibit at the Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens is the perfect way to brighten up these dreary days.  The annual orchid exhibit features hundreds of tropical orchids as well as several special events including Orchids For Beginners, “What’s Wrong With My Orchid?,” and the Anything Orchids Plant Sale.  Regular admission rates apply.

Movies on Main @ The Nordlof Center                                                                                                               When: February 5 & February 12 , 2017

Who doesn’t love free movies? Movies on Main are open to the public and the venue at The Nordlof Center is general seating.  Doors open 30 minutes before each showing and you can find out specific details about each movie on the website. Movies for this month are The BFG, The Jungle Book, The Secret Life of Pets, and Suicide Squad.

2017 United States Synchronized Figure Skating Championships-BMO Harris Bank Center   When: February 23-25, 2017

Ninety-six teams will be completing in the 2017 United State Synchronized Skating Championships at the BMO Harris Bank Center and this seems to be another one of our childhood fantasies coming true.  We must admit, we had no idea that over 600 teams are registered for the sectional finals.  For a tentative schedule of events and for more information, go here.

Cabin Fever – Stella & Notte                                                                                                                         When: February 24-25, 2017

Having never made it to Stella & Notte (yes, we are ashamed!), we are definitely planning on visiting them for the Fourth Annual Cabin Fever Show.  They have filled their store with Spring decor in traditional, mid century, rustic, French chic and other styles.  For more information, visit here.

 

Meet Your Bartender-Monica Hedeen

We are back with another Meet Your Bartender post!  Hope you all are having a great week and if you need a little “pick-me-up,” head on over to see Monica at Prairie Street Brewing Company–she is sure to take good care of you!  Let’s get to know Monica Hedeen a little bit, shall we?

Name: Monica Hedeen, Bartender @ Prairie Street Brewing Company/Dockside Taproom

Age you feel: 22

Neighborhood: Downtown

Years behind the bar: Two and a half years.

What’s the best part of your job? Two main reasons I love my job: 1. Interacting with and meeting new people.  2. It’s not a desk job!

What’s the toughest part of your job? Certain nights can get REALLY busy at PSB (which is great!) and juggling ten things at once can be challenging.

When you order a drink, what is your go-to? For beer it would be PSB’s Vanilla Kolsch and for a cocktail it would be a vodka & soda.

The ideal night at the bar would look like this: Busy, but not too crazy.

Other than PSB, what bar(s) would you take a visitor to? Abreo or Lucha Cantina.

What is your favorite PSB event? Definitely the St. Patrick’s Day party–it’s a really chill event where the customers and staff are all having a good time together.

What is your favorite bar gadget? The zester/peeler–love fresh garnish on a cocktail.

Have you witnessed any crazy dates? I seem to witness many tinder dates and first meet-ups–not all are crazy, but all are pretty awkward.

What’s one beer we should be drinking that we aren’t?  PSB’s Petritz Pale Ale.

Do you have a specialty drink? I love making margaritas (and enjoying them) or anything on the sweeter side.

What do you love about Rockford? I love living downtown and seeing and enjoying all of the new businesses opening up.  It’s an exciting place to be!

I got to witness the brewmasters “testing” out their product.  Hearing them talk about the beers and brainstorming was pretty cool! Be sure to follow Prairie Street Brewing Company on Facebook or check out their website for updates and special events.  Thanks to Monica for being such a great sport!  Please do this pregnant lady (me) a favor, and enjoy a beer for me…Cheers!

2017 Bucket List

Happy 2017 Everyone!  We first want to thank you for providing so many positive vibes and words of encouragement for State & Eight!  It’s hard to believe (for us at least), that we started this blog almost a full year ago, and with the new year, we feel re-energized and excited to continue State & Eight.  With that, we thought it would be fun to share our individual Bucket Lists for exploring and experiencing the 815 (we will spare you our exercising, work, home improvement goals, etc.) this year.  Here goes…

Emily’s 2017 Bucket List

Take a class through Rocktown Adventures                                                                                                   Both Liz and I had fully intended on taking a snowshoeing class through Rocktown adventures during our time off over the holidays.  But, the funny thing is, is that snowshoeing requires snow.  With the lack of snow, we were unable to get it done!  So, my goal for this year is to take either a snowshoeing class (might become more difficult as I get further along in my pregnancy), a paddleboarding class, or a kayaking class.

Subscribe to a CSA box                                                                                                                                             Last summer, I really enjoyed visiting the North End City market and every time I would get a bit envious of those that had signed up for the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box.  You may remember Liz posted about her experience with her CSA and it had me jealous.  Here is to a summer of truly, fresh produce!                                                                                                                                           

Finally visit Taylor + Max                                                                                                                                         You may have noticed in our most recent gift guide, that we mentioned a great Children’s Boutique in Rockton, Taylor + Max.  Truth be told, I have only looked at their merchandise online and would like to change that!  This year is the year!

Treat myself to coffee more often                                                                                                                         Often I hear friends and co-workers saying the exact opposite statement.  However, with places like Wired Cafe, Meg’s Daily Grind, Rockford Roasting Company, Katie’s Cup, etc., there are SO MANY wonderful, local, coffee shops to choose from, so I am attempting to visit them MORE this year.                                                                                                        

Explore new walking routes                                                                                                                                 You will see that Liz is planning to do more biking and running, but this mama is going to be happy with getting out on a daily walk once #2 joins us.  With that being said, we have written about our love for The Loop and the Midway Village Museum bike path in the past, but I want to venture to explore some more walking routes.  Does anyone have suggestions?                                                                                                                           

Family photos                                                                                                                                                               What I have noticed recently between looking at wedding photos, baby photos, family photos, etc. is that Rockford is FULL of talented, well-priced photographers.  With Baby #2 coming this Spring, I would love to have professional photos taken of my family.  This. Must. Happen.  The only hard part will be deciding which photographer to choose!

Tour The Standard                                                                                                                                                        While I have visited the businesses in The Standard downtown (Arch Apothecary, London Avenue Designs, and Tique Furnishings), I am LONGING for an in depth tour of the entire building, event space, and the future Taco Betty’s.  I most likely won’t be planning a large event anytime soon, but I have always loved the space and I want that “Wow, I love what you’ve done with the place,” conversation.  Hook us up!

Try at least five new restaurants                                                                                                                         Do you know what Izakaya 88, Cucina Di Rosa, Tavern On Clark, Kate’s Pie Shop, and Clara Bo all have in common?  They are all restaurants I have yet to visit!  While I love our “go to” places, my goal is to branch out and try more restaurants I have never been.  Any takers?                                                                                     

Attend a Yoga Tot class at Namaste Studios                                                                                                    I am lucky enough that when I do my seldom “workout” at home, my daughter likes to join in the fun.  “Mom, we are doing yoga!” Because she seems so excited about yoga, I thought I would look into a class of sorts that she and I could do together.  Low and behold, Namaste Studios downtown has a class named Yoga Tots geared towards 1-5 year olds and their parents.  You better believe I will make this class a priority in 2017!

 

Liz’s 2017 Bucket List

Snowshoeing
If you caught our article in 815 Magazine, you will remember that one of our ideas for being a tourist in our own town included an outdoor adventure. Snowshoeing has been on my bucket list for years, so a class through Rocktown Adventures is on my 2017 list.

Stand up Paddle Boarding
Along the same lines, a long time bucket list item of mine has been to do a standup paddle boarding class out at Rock Cut State Park. When I do this, I certainly hope there is no video or photo evidence.

Woodworking Class
We moved into our house last May, and I have been longing for the perfect dining room table for our kitchen. A friend of mine told me about Rock Valley College’s Woodworking Community Education course at South Beloit High School, and I would love to attempt to make my own table.

Escape Quest Beloit
Escape rooms are becoming all the rage lately, and there is one not too far away in Downtown Beloit. At Escape Quest, you and your friends are locked in an escape room and must find clues and solve puzzles to be the first team to escape. Bring. It. On.

More Bike Riding
The extent of my bike riding last year was the Tour de North End bike ride, which is super sad because I love cycling. This summer I vow to explore new bike paths and to pedal around to my favorite summer events, such as City Market and Dinner on the Dock.

Class at the Angelic Organics Learning Center
Angelic Organics in Caledonia offers some cool classes in the warmer months. From cheesemaking to campouts on the farm, there is a little something for everyone. My inner Joanna Gaines is longing to spend some time on the farm this summer.

Visit Two Local Breweries
There are two local breweries that are on my 2017 bucket list. Generations Brewing in Freeport and & Wishful Acres Farm & Brewery are both on my list. Both have tasting rooms and picturesque properties which make me long for lazy summer Saturdays.

Pec Thing
Confession: I have never been to Pec Thing, the mega antique and flea market at the Winnebago County Fairgrounds. The 2017 dates have been released, and I plan to explore on either May 20 & 21 or September 16 & 17.

Literacy Council Half Marathon
Finally, this is a repeat, but worthy of documenting it on my official bucket list. The Literacy Council Half Marathon at Blackhawk Springs County Forest Preserve is a gorgeous run, and you can receive great pre-race training through the Runner’s Image running club prior to the race.

What is on your bucket list for 2017, both local and elsewhere?

Cheers to a great year!

 

 

Giving Back

Happy Holidays All!  We hope you all have been enjoying the festivities leading up to the Holidays in the 815.  When Liz and I decided to start this blog back almost one year ago (eek!) our whole focus was to bring a positive light to the place we call home.  We attempt to take advantage of local events, restaurants, activities, shops (check out our local gift guide), etc., and we know you do too.  In that spirit, we feel it’s also important to give back to our community and to the organizations who make a positive impact in our region day after day.  So, if you are looking for ways to contribute this holiday season, consider these local organizations before the year’s end.  This is not a comprehensive list, and we certainly don’t intend to leave anyone out, but we are hopeful this gets your giving juices flowing.  Every dollar and hour of time helps and is greatly appreciated!  Here are some ideas:

Fine & Performing Arts                                                                                                                                         

Rockford Symphony Orchestra, Rockford Dance Company, Rockford Art Museum, Rockford Area Arts Council

Social Service Organizations

United Way of Rock River Valley (full disclosure, my husband works for UWRRV), Carpenter’s Place, Milestone Inc., Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, Rockford Rescue Mission, Shelter Care Ministries, Stepping Stones

Women & Children

Crusader Community Health (full disclosure, Liz is on the Special Events Committee), Kids Around the World, Girl Scouts of America, Boy Scouts of America, Pregnancy Care Center

Additional ideas could be your alma mater, media you value, you children’s school or other programs, your religious place of worship, or just your neighbor down the street.  Whatever it may be, there are so many wonderful doing good things in our community and they could use our help!  If you have any other organizations we should know about, let us know!  In the meantime, Happy Holidays and enjoy the season!

 

Meet Your Barista – Leslie Erickson

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Emily and I have a long-standing love for Meg’s Daily Grind. Our love began in high school, and continued as a must-visit when we were home for breaks from college. We still love Meg’s, especially on these frigid winter days!

Leslie Erickson is an owner and manager of Meg’s Daily Grind. She’s the smiling face behind the coffee bar who everyone seems to know. When I stopped in to meet with Leslie, the next customer in line said good morning to her by name. to which she responded that his mocha would be right up. This friendly, welcoming relationship with customers is what made us want to interview Leslie as our first Meet Your Barista.

Name: Leslie Erickson, Owner, Manager and Barista @ Meg’s Daily Grind

Age You Feel: It depends on the day. Some days I feel like I can keep up with the high schoolers that work here, and other days I want to go to bed at 7pm.

What time do you wake up? My alarm goes off at 4:15am, and I usually get out of bed at 4:30am.

Drink that gets you going: During the cold months it is a White Chocolate Peppermint Latte. An Iced Vanilla Americano is another go-to.

Favorite Drink to Make: A cappuccino. They are labor intensive, but are a quality drink.

What is the best tool or piece of equipment we should have at home to make good coffee drinks? A good quality coffee maker is good for entertaining and serving coffee made from Meg’s beans.

What do you love about your job? The interaction is different every day with customers and employees. Different people come in with different drink orders, which is sometimes the hardest, but also the most rewarding. The connections we make with our customers are great. Rockford has been great to us since our start in 2001, even with the addition of other local and chain coffee shops.

What do you love about Rockford? My family is all here (Meg’s is a family-owned business), and that is one reason I love Rockford. I also like the support for local businesses. It’s a big town with a small town feel. I like knowing my neighbors and I love that I can go to Target and even know people. There are a lot of good events happening and people are really trying to invest in our city.

Thank you, Leslie, for making Rockford awesome!

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