We are proud of the fine products, art, foods, drinks and other things made right here in McHenry County! When you see our seal, it means you've found something first-class and McHenry County Made!
We have our first round of makers that you can learn about HERE, or continue reading to learn more about our newest makers!
Fruits, vegetables and meats used at Duke’s Alehouse & Kitchen come from local and organic farms, even the coffee beans are roasted locally! This Certified Green Restaurant has a portion of their menu and website dedicated to learning more about the farmers who contribute to your meal! This is all thanks to Chef and Owner, Zak Dolezal. His passion for fresh local ingredients stems back to experience working in a variety of fine dining restaurants in Chicago. In these restaurants, there was an abundance of heirloom and unique products picked at their peak freshness, which created an appreciation for the process of how these products are grown that Zak wanted to carry on throughout his career.
When moving to Crystal Lake in 2008, Zak wanted to create a fine dining restaurant in the Chicago suburbs. Unfortunately, this was during the peak of an economic recession. To combat this unique situation, Zak decided to try using local ingredients in familiar dishes so that guests could learn the difference between locally raised fresh food and conventional pre-packaged convenience items. For example, Duke’s menu features items such as meatloaf, a “classic” burger, mac and cheese, and BBQ pork! These all include ingredients from local farms to help introduce the importance of using fresh ingredients and to demonstrate that even the classics can be improved upon by just upgrading your ingredients.
Make sure to explore their specials menu for something truly unique and delicious!
1776 Restaurant is proud to be known for using locally sourced and organically grown food products. Owner Rhienna is a Crystal Lake native with a passion for entertaining and fine dining. Along with Erik Nordstrom, they have created a menu that can cater to a wide variety of food allergies and special dietary needs. Rhienna is no stranger to food allergies, being diagnosed with Celiac Disease among other food allergies, she is aware of how difficult it can be to eat out with these challenges. This is why 1776 is dedicated to knowing exactly what is in each and every dish they serve. By sourcing ingredients locally, Rhienna can guarantee a quality dining experience because she knows the farmers that are producing the ingredients she uses.
Valerie, (AKA Ruthie Sudsalot) has a background in clinical massage therapy and aromatherapy which made for a natural transition into Jackass Charm Soaps! With the motto “clean your body whilst soiling your mind”, customers know they are in for something outside of the ordinary. Not only are Valerie’s soaps made with all-natural ingredients but she throws in an innuendo according to the essential oil blend used! The labels are what make the soaps truly stand apart from the competition! Valerie’s soaps use no animal fats or chemicals to color or scent their soaps, but instead, use leaves, roots, seeds, clays, activated charcoal, and essential oils.
After the success of Jackass Charm Soaps in a variety of boutique stores throughout northern Illinois, Valerie decided it was time to open up the “Jackass Charm Corner Store” right off of the Woodstock Square. This 225-square-foot triangular building is affectionately named “The Wedgie” which works with their sassy and classy theme! When you walk into the corner store you can admire the 1940’s-themed décor along with a wide variety of other handmade items. Valerie is proud to house products from other regional makers on consignment, and the collection continues to grow.
Photo curtesy of: Ken Farver, The Woodstock Independent.
Respace Design began with a leap of faith. Owner, Jonathan Sara, quit his job and began building and selling custom furniture at a local market. Taking on jobs others turned down because of complexity, Johnathan was able to overcome engineering blockages and create functional artistry in the process. What began as a hobby in Johnathan's garage is now based out of The Starline Factory in Harvard, IL. Johnathan is proud to create a wide variety of custom furniture for clients in Madison, Rockford, Chicago's North Shore and anywhere in between. One of the largest projects to date was the design of a majority of the furnishings of Rush Creek Distilling. This fellow maker and Harvard business commissioned Respace Design because of their love of his creations and to collaborate with a local business. Johnathan and the owners of Rush Creek now joke that the distillery is his showroom.
Many of the materials Johnathan uses are reclaimed and reused because he is proud to give something a second life when possible. When this isn't an option he tries his hardest to work with local vendors to help build relationships with other small businesses. He knows what it is like to work hard to put food on your table for your family, so he wants to make sure he is paying back the favor whenever possible.
Respace has now gone mobile! Johnathan converted a horse trailer into a mobile shop that supports nearly all of the work they do. This allows Johnathan to work on site at jobs and he hopes to use it in disaster relief efforts in the future.
Are you a business or know of a business that is qualified to be a McHenry County Made maker?
Review our list of qualifications HERE!