Women-Owned Businesses in Lake County, IL

By: Jonathan Jones 03/08/2024

Women are the pillars of Lake County. This HERstory month, we highlight those entrepreneurs, makers and creative minds that have inspired women from Lake County and beyond. 

There are a ton of innovators in our fair land of lakes. The land of lakes has one of the best mom-and-pop shopping scenes. These quintessential, women-owned  boutiques and supply shops give Lake County its personality and character.





View this post on Instagram












A post shared by Angela Xu (@dangelasdumplings)

Women-owned businesses keep Lake County extravagant, from downtown areas to mini-malls, from niche stores to shopping centers. So peruse, why don't you? Celebrate the holiday and support your local shops throughout March and beyond.

This list does not include every black-owned business in Lake County, so if we missed any, let us know so we can add them!

Bill's Pizza & Pub Owner MaryAnn Rouse

Bill's Pizza & Pub has been a beloved family-friendly destination since 1957, proudly owned by MaryAnn Rouse. Indulge in their renowned double-decker and famous thin-crust pizzas, alongside a delectable selection of sandwiches and desserts. With a relaxed atmosphere, frosty mugs of cold beer, and exceptional food, Bill's invites you to savor every moment. Don't miss the chance to dine al fresco on their charming outdoor patio, adding a touch of warmth to your dining experience.

The Board Room Libertyville Owner Elizabeth Turnbaugh

Discover the epitome of culinary creativity at The Board Room Libertyville, owned by Elizabeth Turnbaugh. What started as heartfelt gifts for loved ones blossomed into My CharCUTErie, a thriving business with a pop-up shop in Libertyville during the pandemic. Turnbaugh's innovative approach to charcuterie continues to delight patrons. Alongside her culinary ventures, The Board Room offers a luxurious dining experience with elevated, shareable plates and entrees. 

Broken Earth Winery Owner Marsha Forsythe

The Long Grove winery produces unique vino grown, harvested and bottled in Paso Robles, California, on Rancho Tierra Rejada. The ranch's translation, land of worked earth, is a 2,500-acre vineyard for this Long Grove establishment. The proprietor Marsha Forsythe and staff run the tasting room in the land of lakes, highlighted by live entertainment, special events, a gift shop and gaming. The Long Grove winery tallied a Daily Herald Readers' Choice "Best of the Best" award nominee.

Dangela's Dumplings Co-Owner Angela Xu 

Angela Xu and her husband Dan opened Dangela’s Dumplings in Libertyville in 2019. The business has since flourished with her handmade dumplings. Xu uses traditional northern Chinese methods and a recipe passed down from her mother to create the delicious dumplings. Tea-boiled eggs, mochi ice cream, edamame, seaweed salad and more also highlight Dangela’s Dumpling menu. In 2022, The Illinois Office of Tourism received state tourism recognition as the newest members of the Illinois Made program.

Feather Glass Wine Bar & Eatery Owner Purvi Damani-Patel





View this post on Instagram












A post shared by Feather Glass Wine Bar & Eatery (@featherglasswine)

The Vernon Hills restaurant and pub lives by the credo "fine wine is our native language." Damani-Patel dreamed of owning an establishment like this after traveling the Land of Lincoln and other areas tasting wine. Her passion and desire pushed her to open a unique venue. VLC's newest partner just opened their doors in January 2023 serves international and continental wine  and offers a delectable menu featuring brunch and dinner and plates like charcuteries, salads, seafood, steaks and other international cuisines. 

Glunz Family Winery and Cellars Owner Suzzie Glunz

Four generations of Glunz’s have operated a business in libations. The Glunz family landed in the states in 1879 and opened a wine, beer and spirit store on Wells and Division Streets in Chicago's Old Town in 1888. In 1992, the third-generation descendants began creating small-batch fortified wines, and the rest is history. The family has a women-owned winery and tasting room in Grayslake and wine country on 20 acres of land in Paso Robles, California, where they grow much of the drinkables. Suzzie Glunz is the proprietor at this Lake County Libation Trail establishment. Descendants from the Glunz family also have run that same shop in Chicago for the last 130 years. The Grayslake/Paso Robles family winery has earned many awards for its offerings.

The Gallery Lake Forest Co-Owner Cecilia Lanyon





View this post on Instagram












A post shared by The Gallery (@thegallerylf)

Experience what happens when you combine gourmet fare with artistic creations by dining at The Gallery Lake Forest. This spot is what happens when you combine creative expression with fine food. The Lake Forest space was established by co-owners, partners and siblings Cecilia Lanyon and Dominic Zumpano in 2015. When you visit The Gallery, you will find that the menu rotates in line with the creative exhibits. The Lake Forest locale changes the art exhibits quarterly and crafts new menus to add a connoisseur's twist to food pairings. Where else can you dine and take in fine art? This combination of sensory elements makes this Lake Forest venue an easy choice when searching for a special night out. Another bonus is that you can book private events at the restaurant, both large and small. In addition, the siblings offer cooking classes for kids, adults and groups.

The Joyful Gourmet Co-Owner Kim Schlicksup





View this post on Instagram












A post shared by The Joyful Gourmet (@thejoyfulgourmet)

Do you fancy yourself a pretty good cook or at least good enough that everyone peppers on the praise after a meal? Are you open to learning new techniques and recipes that keep family and guests hungry for another serving? The MainStreet Libertyville establishment, recently opened by Kim and Dan Schlicksup has become a fast staple of the downtown area. When you visit the Joyful Gourmet in Libertyville, you can get all of the above, plus some retail therapy with their hand-picked brands of utensils for sale. The Libertyville kitchen store hosts a fine selection of cooking classes, culinary events, team and family bonding exercises, a wine bar and the occasional meet-and-greet with local chefs. Participating in culinary learning experiences is an exciting way to spend time with people where everyone learns something new about cooking. Plus, there are no dishes to clean afterward. It's like The Joyful Gourmet says, "Discover new items for your kitchen, have a fun night out with friends and grow as a community through cooking."

The Latte Cafe and Bakery Owner Anna Rosberg

Anna Rosberg dreamed of owning her own café as far back as she can remember. Anna has a culinary degree and was a pastry chef for 14 years. She decided to pick back up her passion for baking and candies and purchased The Latte Café & Bakery in 2015. Rosberg aims to be THE local café option for residents to indulge in hand-crafted beverages and confections to kick off their day. Be sure to check out the Antioch café's java flights

Lindy's Landing Restaurant & Marina Co-Owners Brittany and Laurie Barth





View this post on Instagram












A post shared by Lindy's Landing (@lindyslanding)

Lindy’s has been a staple in Lake County for half a century. The Landing is a restaurant and sports bar on Bang’s Lake equipped with two outdoor door decks and a beach area. The story begins with Bob ‘Lindy’ Lindstrom, a Chicagoan passionate about boating. After frequently taking his family to and from Wauconda, Lindy sought to fulfill his dream turning a farmer’s old boathouse into Lindy’s Landing in 1965. The building was initially built in 1908with a small bar, candy counter and two pinball machines. In 2003, Lindy’s daughters Laurie, Cheryl and Bonnie (also the kitchen's co-heads) decided to give the old barn a facelift with a remodel. A Lindstrom has been in charge of this operation for nearly 60 years.

Ma and Pa's Candy Co-Owner Sherri Taylor

Take a trip back to Long Grove's beloved vintage-inspired yesteryear candy store. The mom-and-pop business features nostalgic candies and hand-spun cotton candy. Ma & Pa's also showcases decade-themed candy crates and scoopable bulk confectioneries. While they provide sentimental sweets, Taylor and her team create their own confections like candy-topped pretzels, sea salt caramels, oreos, pecan patties, dark chocolate, peanut butter cups, marshmallows and more. The Historic Downtown Long Grove shop has served sweet tooth enthusiasts for over a decade. 

North Shore Disttillery Co-Owner Sonja Kassebaum

North Shore Distillery is the first craft distillery in the Land of Lincoln (the first to open in the state since the Prohibition Era). Since 2004, Sonja and Derek Kassebaum (and their larger-than-life friend Ethel) have provided vodkas, rums, gins, absinthes and unique seasonal beverages. The self-proclaimed nerds and Illinois-Made inventors love to experiment with new flavors with a plethora of different ingredients, and that’s why the award-winning Green Oaks distillery designs innovative art with its liquid creations. Sonja was featured in the article "Chemists, Bartenders and British Royalty: Eight Women Who Changed GIn History" by the Wine Enthusiast. Click here to learn more. The Green Oaks distillery was also honored with the Illinois Office of Tourism honor of "Illinois Made" recognizing the state's makers, creators, artisans, artists, family-owned businesses and more. During the height of the pandemic in April 2020, the husband-wife team got their hands wet in the hand sanitizer-making business, providing requests to first responders, health care workers and others providing critical care. Also during the pandemic, In collaboration with Visit Lake County, Sonja created Lake County Sunset Sips. This beverage concoction is as refreshing and beautiful as a Lake County sunset: sweet, fruity, and closes with a crisp finish.

O'Toole's Pub in Gurnee, Libertyville & Lake VIlla Co-Owner Sara McKinnon-Martinez

Discover the ultimate gastropub experience at O'Toole's, led by the visionary Sara McKinnon-Martinez. With an impressive lineup of 48 beers on tap, an extensive wine selection and craft cocktails, every drink perfectly complements the chef-driven menu. Indulge in a tantalizing array of dishes including burgers, wraps, salads, ribs, and seafood. Renowned for award-winning wings, burgers, and fish and chips, O'Toole's also offers 40 HD TVs, 41 draft beers, and a late-night kitchen. Join in the fun with Karaoke Night and Trivia Night, making O'Toole's the ultimate destination to gather with friends and create unforgettable memories.

The Parched Pug Co-Owner Heather Carlson

Welcome to The Parched Pug, where owner Heather Carlson invites you to indulge in a unique gastropub experience in Libertyville. This vibrant establishment offers a delightful fusion of great drinks, delicious food, and entertaining games for humans to enjoy. Beyond serving up fun and flavor, The Parched Pug proudly supports local animal rescues, embodying a commitment to both community and furry friends. Step inside to discover Lake County's premier self-pour craft beer and wine wall, complemented by upscale pub fare and an extensive library of over 200 board games. Don't miss out on the excitement of Nanoputt, adding a twist to traditional mini-golf. Join us at The Parched Pug for an unforgettable blend of fun, flavor, and philanthropy.

Phase Three Brewing Co. Co-Owner Brittany Berns

Phase Three Brewing Company owner Brittany Berns leads a team dedicated to crafting exceptional hand-crafted suds in Lake Zurich. With a commitment to quality ingredients and honest brewing practices, Phase Three produces a diverse array of beer styles, each one a testament to their passion for the craft. Beyond the delicious brews, Phase Three is renowned for its striking can artwork, adding an extra layer of artistry to every sip. As one of Lake County's largest and most respected breweries, Phase Three is celebrated for its collaborations and innovative approach to brewing. Join us in raising a glass to creativity and community at Phase Three Brewing Company.

Primo Italian Americian CuisineLola's Tacos & Tequila, Fatman's and Birch Beverages Owner Nicole Khayat

Primo Italian American Cuisine is Lake County’s dining hot spot with five-star ratings across the board, owned by former Mrs. Illinois Nicole Khayat. The Gurnee establishment’s menu includes salads and sandwiches, pasta, seafood, steaks and much more. The Gurnee establishment boasts an array of Daily Herald Reader’s Choice Awards. A wine list of 100+ flavors complements the jam-packed menu. Khayat also owns Lakehouse Lake Villa, Fatmans, Chicago Woodfire Pizza and Biirch Beverages.

Roaring Table Brewing Co-Owner Beth May

Experience the magic of fermentation at Roaring Table Brewing Co., proudly owned by Beth May. Located in Lake Zurich, their brewery offers an eclectic variety of beers that showcase the amazing range of flavors derived from simple ingredients. In addition to our craft brews, we provide a selection of wines, ciders, sodas, and snacks, with the option to order in from local restaurants. Relax and unwind in our inviting space, whether at the live-edge bar, communal tables or cozy lounge complete with couches and a fireplace. Be sure to visit often, as we regularly tap new beers and host live music, trivia nights, food trucks and even yoga sessions. Join us at Roaring Table Brewing Co. for a truly memorable brewpub experience.

Reclaimed Artisans Co-Owner Lisa Struif

Reclaimed Artisans is a place to stop off at if home decor is on that special someone's wishlist or your own. Lisa and Eric Struif have provided beautiful treasures in the Libertyville, Gurnee, Vernon Hills and surrounding areas since 2017. The MainStreet Libertyville business specializes in unique repurposed furnishings, antiques, vintage items, reclaimed and/or painted furniture and more supplied by over 130 local artisans makers.

Richardson Adventure Farm Co-Owner Wendy & Carol Richardson





View this post on Instagram












A post shared by Richardson Adventure Farm (@richardsonadventurefarm)

The farm was originally opened by Robert Richardson who emigrated from England in 1840. Richardson Farm was formerly a pig farm. The original farm stretched 80 acres as Richardson's family raised 3,000 of the swine mammals. Shortly after establishing himself as a pig farmer, Robert Richardson added cows to their thriving livestock farm. Today the brothers George and Robert Richardson (and their wives Wendy and Carol respectively) are the four owners of this renowned farm. Today Wendy, Carol and the two brothers run a renowned tourist attraction equipped with the world's largest corn maze (with cool designs), a Christmas tree farm and they also host a ton of festivities throughout the year like tulip, sunflower and craft beer festivals to name a few.

Signature Popcorn in Long Grove Owner Arlene Okun

Savor the taste of tradition at Signature Popcorn, a cherished Long Grove gem owned by Arlene Okun. Handcrafted with love, each kernel carries the essence of nostalgia and family gatherings. From classic flavors to inventive delights like Cinnamon Roll and Strawberry Cheesecake, every bite is a journey through cherished memories. Share the joy with loved ones, as Signature Popcorn transforms ordinary moments into extraordinary memories.

Sock Monkey Museum Owner Arlene Okun

Arlene Okun established the Sock Monkey Museum in 2019 to share her collection of stuffed toys with the public. Okun accumulated her stuffed primate collection for over 16 years and exhibited her 2000+ monkey army. Okun chose the historic downtown area of Long Grove to complement the vintage spirit of these classic dolls for children. Arlene and her husband use the proceeds from the Sock Monkey Museum to support a primate rescue in the American Pacific Northwest.

Susanna Farms Co-Owners Elizabeth and Laura Heffernan





View this post on Instagram












A post shared by Susanna Farms / Equine Healing (@susannafarms)

The Lake Villa farm is owned and operated by Laura and Elizabeth Heffernan, granddaughters of Steven Jennings and May O'Bryan. The siblings continue to keep the farm and business in the family. Beginning in the early 1930', Steven Jennings and Mae O'Bryan bought several parcels of land and named them after each of their mothers. Susanna Farms closed temporarily in 2014 and reopened in 2019, focusing on equine-assisted activities, small events, camps, and more for year-round fun.

Sweet Home Gelato Co-Owner Janice Bruksch

From their sweet home to yours, Sweet Home Gelato is a women-owned and operated dessert franchise based in the Chicagoland area. Janice Bruksch specializes in authentic artisan gelato and sorbet (ranging in a slew of flavors) but also dabbles in shakes, floats, baked treats, pastries and coffee. Across town from the Libertyville location, she and her husband also own a site in Highland Park. However, Bruksch's first location of the ice cream spot (which sounds a little close to "Sweet Home Chicago" for a reason) is in the heart of downtown Naperville, which she opened over a decade ago.

TreeTime Christmas Creations Owner Laurie Kane

Treetime Christmas Creations is your quintessential stop for your artificial trees, holiday decorations and more. The Lake Barrington venue was founded in 2011 by proprietor Laurie Kane. Experience the magic and the 'WOW' of the Winter Wonderland Showroom in this Lake Barrington facility. Peruse and shop for the largest selection of pre-lit holiday trees online with unique tree styles.

Vigneto del Bino Vineyard & Winery Owner Deb Trombino

The Lake County Libation Trail partner Vigneto del Bino Vineyard and Winery offers nine different types of wines at their scenic establishment. The winery sits on one acre of a 10-acre property surrounded by 2,300 grapevines. The Trombino family, led by owner Deb, planted their first vine in 2009 and haven't looked back. The winery resides in Antioch and features exceptional vinos like Bino's BLend (semi-dry red table wine), the Sequoit Red (red table wine), the Kaleidoscope (semi-sweet white table wine) and others. Salud to vino!

The Village Tavern Co-Owner Nicole Jarvis Wallace

As the oldest restaurant/drinking hole in Illinois (and probably in the top 10 in the U.S.), The Village Tavern has been in continuous operation since 1849. In classic roadhouse fashion, this woman-owned restaurant has been a favorite watering hole in Lake County for generations. A spacious dining room and antique bar area preserve the establishment’s rustic authenticity. Especially popular is the massive 35-foot mahogany bar, which survived Chicago’s ‘Great McCormick Place Fire’ in the 1960s. This classic restaurant's warm and friendly ‘pub’ atmosphere attracts locals and tourists alike. There is live entertainment six nights a week. The 19th-century eatery is known for its excellent steaks, half-pound Angus beef hamburgers, hearty sandwiches, broasted chicken and fish fry. You have to try their prime rib as well on Saturday nights. There are so many historical nuggets in this Long Grove mainstay. Watch the video above to learn more.

Wandering Tree Estate Owner Elaine Silets

Wandering Tree Estate was purchased in 1972 by Elaine Silets and her husband. They decided to open their property to host events and gatherings in 1973 and have grown steadily since. Elaine has a natural green thumb, and she changes the plantings around the estate by herself every year. Wandering Tree Estate don the name as such because of a mishap where arborists relocated a neighbor’s timber to a different spot on the Barrington area property. Schedule an appointment to see the property yourself at 830 W. State Rd.

Other Women-Owned Businesses

To learn about other mom and pop businesses in the land of lakes, continue here. To view our black-owned business blog, click here. View what else is going on in Lake County by following this link.

Related Content
Life's a Beach: Guide to Lake County Beaches 2024
posted: 05/17/2024
Summer is just around the corner! Lake County boasts over 200 lakes and extensive Lake Michigan shoreline, offering a variety...
Memorial Day Weekend in Lake County 2024
posted: 05/13/2024
Embrace the sunshine, light up your sparklers and remember those who died protecting our freedoms in the U.S. Memor...
Top 5 Locations To Stargaze in Lake County
posted: 05/06/2024
"There's a starman waiting in the sky. He'd like to come and meet us, but he thinks he'd blow our minds.&quo...
The Ultimate Mother's Day Guide in Lake County 2024
posted: 05/03/2024
Mother's Day is just around the corner, and Lake County offers a plethora of activities to celebrate and honor the specia...
Special Offers
Calendar of Events
Lake County Libation Trail
Free Visitors Guide
Tour Itineraries
Print Page
Road Trips Video