Mariano's Naperville

Think about this. If Willy Wonka were to make a wonderland for grown up foodies, what would it be like? I've got the answer. It would be like the new Mariano's location in Naperville. I've been to Mariano's locations before, but I don't remember them being as spectacular as this one.

My foodie sis, Becky, and I went there recently with the intention of having lunch first and then shopping. Yes, we went to a grocery store to eat lunch. There are a few grocery stores where you can do so, but this Mariano's location does it best. The options are crazy. It's really like a full food court in there. There's a cold salad bar, a hot buffet bar, a sushi bar, a pizza counter, a spot where you can order burgers and also where they'll grill other meats right in front of you. You can also have a sandwich made for you - hot or cold. If you just want to sit among the dairy section and enjoy a craft beer, you can do that, too. And don't forget about dessert - whatever sweet treat your little heart desires, you will probably find in the bakery section. Truffles. Chocolate covered strawberries. Cupcakes. Canoli. Tiramisu. Chocolate Bark. Turtles. Cheesecake. Cake pops. Pies. Cookies. Macaroons. Muffins. Brownies. Opera cake. Doughnuts. will make your head spin. There's also a smoothie bar. And a gelato bar.

And as you shop further, you'll find here's also a spice bar where you can make your own spice blends. And the cheese section is insane. You can also get a lovely little cheeseboard all made up. For just $10. The European aisle is awesome where you can select imported items from all around the world. I love being able to get pasta from Italy and my favorite chocolates from Germany and a number of other items.

And, this doesn't qualify as food, but the floral section is amazing. Most grocery stores have just the common stuff - roses, carnations, maybe some daisies or a few other varieties in mixed bouquets. Mariano's has some beautiful stuff - hydrangeas, orchids and lots of other beauties.

Although I live a bit away, the new location is less than 10 minutes from my sister's place, so each time I visit her I will have to be sure to stop. I might even visit her even more now. :)