This is a part of an on-going series of postings that our very own Tammy Barry sends to our homeowners.  Tammy is one of lead sales and marketing people at Heritage Harbor.  But she is also a perfect concierge for knowing all of the best places to explore here in our beautiful area…it is so good that we thought we would include you all “in on the secrets” to be found in Starved Rock Country…

Hi Heritage Harbor friends:

I hope everyone is staying cool….it finally feels like a Midwest Summer!

The other day while biking along the I&M Canal I was reflecting on reasons why we love living in Starved Rock Country.  My head was racing with all the places and adventures we think are special:)  I then committed to myself (and to all of you) that every Wednesday I would drop a quick email about a place or adventure that you can put on your list to enjoy the next time you are in Starved Rock Country.

Some of you may have found them; some of you have not; some of you may love them and some of you may find that it’s just not your thing…regardless it’s all part of living the adventure in Starved Rock Country!  So here’s this week’s place to put on your ‘hit’ list….The Cheese Shop -n- Deli!

When I think of The Cheese Shop, the best analogy I can think of is when I use to watch “Little House on the Prairie” and they would make weekly visits to the General Store.  That’s how I feel when I walk in there, there’s a lot of wood, a long counter and shelves filled with ‘stuff.’  The cool thing is you don’t have to arrive by horse & buggy…but you can arrive by car, HOWEVER, we choose to arrive by bike.  The Cheese Shop is located right along the I&M Canal so you can hop off the trail, have lunch and a re-energizing tea and then head back on the trail (from Heritage Harbor, my guess is it would be appx. 5 miles by bike).  

But The Cheese Shop contents are the furthest thing from the ‘General Store.’  As you can imagine they have the largest selection of imported and domestic cheeses, smoked salmon, homemade pie fillings, giardiniera, sauces and frozen delicacies.  The Cheese Shop is known for homemade soups, sandwiches, salads, fried chicken, etc.   If there is a downsize, the menu is a little overwhelming….did I mention their homemade potato chips:)  They also do catering so they may be able to help you while entertaining and if you don’t go the full-blown catering route, I guarantee that you will find something in the store that will be a treat to serve yourself and/or your guests.

For those of you that love antiques, you will be able to view their eclectic display of antiques and one of Illinois largest displays of antique milk bottles.

While visiting you may see a man behind the counter with glasses and white hair, that is the owner, Marty Ruhland.   His family started the business in 1947 as a cheese factory and Marty is always happy to satisfied customers!  The other guy you will see, has a mustache, John, and he handles all their catering.

They serve lunch and dinner from 8 am -7 pm, Monday thru Saturday.  They are located at  1219 Fulton Street in Ottawa or off the I&M Canal by bike:) You can find them on-line at

If you get a chance to go to The Cheese Shop, I would love to hear your thoughts.  Also, I encourage you to share ALL that you experience and learn in Starved Rock Country with your friends and family and invite them to share in the fun!

See you in next week’s article or before…..ENJOY!