Home away from home
In 2014, I made a long-awaited career change back into the financial services industry. This decision required me to relocate from Silver Springs Maryland to Naperville Illinois, a suburb on the west side of Chicago. My tenure at the job lasted only a few months (my boss was an absolute Ogre) but I made lifelong friends there and the place that became my Headquarters of sorts was Burning Leaf Cigars in Naperville.
The one near the mall!
I have to specify the location near the Fox Valley Mall because the owner at the time (Jamaal) had three locations. He has since sold them all off but when I returned in October to celebrate my birthday, all but one of the original cast and crew were there. The greeting I received when I arrived…. I have no words.
This location is great. There are a plethora of restaurants and fast food places within walking distance of the shop. The variety of things we could order for delivery or pick-up was literally endless.
It was huge! This place could easily hold 50 people with a larger crowd able to attend in the summer with outdoor seating and a grill which was used with some regularity. It was also extremely well ventilated. And if there was too much going on, open the back door to the lounge and you could flush the smoke out in seconds.
This required you wearing your big boy drawers in the winter. Its Chicago!
Burning Leaf had the largest selection of cigars in the area and I had other choices too. The Bear and the Bull was in downtown Naperville (although I learned last week they are no longer in business) and Benny’s a wine emporium in the Chicagoland Area that has a great selection of cigars and they ship all over the United States.
Burning Leaf was my go to place. They carry most of the top 25 cigars on Cigar Aficionado’s lists at any time plus other popular brands. Padron, La Flor Dominicana, Caldwell, Tatuaje and other popular blends. They are able to get their hands on great new releases and Warren (who manages) does a great job.
My favorite reason for going to Burning Leaf was and always will be the people. Too many to name but Kenny, Dana, Mike, Shanee, Otis, Andre, Derrick, Brian and Mark Thomas. My Marine Buddy Mark from Memphis departed the area and Greg unfortunately departed this Earth (may he rest in peace). This is a very special group of people to me.
If you like poker, make sure you leave enough money to get you through to your next paycheck at home. If you like gambling on Chicago sports, do the same. It may be the suburbs, but these are a bunch of trash talking roughnecks who can handle themselves in a street fight as well as the golf course (the cash rule applies there too).
I went through one of the most difficult phases of my life there in Naperville and was lifted by the great people God put me in touch with. This is why despite my experiences at work and my very short tenure there I love Naperville more than any other place I have lived. Chicago is my second home. Everyone who knows me knows I plan to make it my home once again.
Burning Leaf is the number one reason why.
Burning Leaf Cigars
4423 Fox Valley Center Drive
Aurora, IL 60504