Saturday, April 23, 2016

Town House Books & Cafe - St. Charles, IL

Town House Books & Cafe - St. Charles, IL
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As I visit bookstores across the country, some are housed in newly built spaces and others occupy buildings rich in history.  Town House Books & Cafe is in what appears to be a very old, large house. This structure was built in 1853, one of the first in St. Charels.  It has the feel like a neighborhood bookstore, surrounded by residential and small businesses.  It was built as the town house for the 2nd mayor of St. Charles.  Over 100 years later in 1974, this building fulfilled its destiny by reincarnating itself into an independent bookstore.  Two decades later it took things one step further by adding a cafe that features outstanding lunches.  Thank goodness this beautiful structure finally found its true calling.  My only question is what took it so long?!

Not only will you enjoy browsing books here, you'll simply enjoy exploring and wandering.  The store has multiple rooms that you can lose yourself in as you walk through the store.  All the rooms are packed with new books and I thought the inventory offered was extensive.  There are a small number of used books available at bargain prices but this is not a part of the business that they actively pursue here.  The sidelines are minimal but it is a nice boost to the business.  The books are definitely the thing here but the other huge asset is the cafe attached right to the bookstore.  Beautiful dining areas available inside and out (weather permitting).  This cafe is renowned in the area and frequently has lines waiting to get in over the noon hour.,  What do these crowds do before and after lunch?  Browse the bookstore, of course!  I have no back ground in business but that seems like the perfect plan to me.

I had a great time meeting and talking to the owner, David H., and Heidi, one of the booksellers.  David is the 2nd ownership of Town House Books and I especially like that they have occasional author events that include dining in the cafe.  What a great idea!  If you're in the St. Charles area and haven't attended one of these events, I strongly encourage you to do so.

This bookstore is beautiful, charming, historical, and very accessible with free parking .  You need to find out what all the regular customers already know.  Town House Books & Cafe is an absolute gem that you will want to return to often.  Enjoy the fine people you meet here and a great bookstore experience.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, Helen Simonson.  Story that takes place in the English countryside and a small village.  Major Pettigrew is a recent widower and this experience along with many others along the way are very entertaining.  The Major is a wonderful character, exhibiting all things British like decorum, manners, good breeding, and daily tea.  He only wishes everyone else were the same.  A great read.  Recommended.

CURRENTLY READING:  The Orenda, Joseph Boyden.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Léon & Louise, Alex Capus.

A great view from the parking lot across the street where you can park for free.  

The exterior of the cafe.  

You can park for free on the street or look for these signs in the free parking lot right across the street.  

Beautiful outdoor seating area.  

This bookstore has so much window display area that I can't even get it all in the picture.  

One of the display windows where many alert readers may notice a celebrity already browsing books.  Yes, that's my mom.  

View just inside the front entrance where you'll see the check-out counter.  The counter looks like one you'd see in an old-time general store but instead of candy bars on those front shelves you'll see paperback books.  

This display of books is on that check-out counter.  Why did I take this picture?  Look carefully readers.  Do you see the book available here that was the inspiration for my journey?

Looking left from the front entrance and a long inside front porch area.  

Staff recommendations can be found throughout the store.  

Looking to the right from the front check-out counter.  This room features some of the sidelines available including these greeting cards.  Beyond this room you walk into the cafe.  

A portion of the beautiful dining area of the cafe.  

A portion of the menu on the day of my visit.  I can see why they have lines to eat here.  

A portion of the children's department.  

Teachers should be flooding this store.  

View of one of the several rooms.  

Outdoor patio dining area.  This picture doesn't do it justice without all the tables and decorations.  

How many bookstore doors look this cool?!!

Sit here and read or stand and admire.  

With Heidi in the center and David on the right.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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