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Grilled cheese, rockin’ times

Jessica Katz, Opinions Editor

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cozied up on the couch with my latte and basked in live jazz music played by the Ben Lewis Trio. The group chatted with the audience, asked for song requests and messed around with song covers. Even with the snowstorm raging outside, I felt a sense of warmth and comfort.

Music is the core of Rock House, a café in Glenview. Classic rock plays on the radio throughout the day. It offers karaoke nights and jam sessions, but live performances are what truly make Rock House unique.

The interior has a hipster vibe with hints of rock n’ roll decor. A large chandelier hovers above the small stage. Guitars with the café menu printed across them hang from the Victorian black and gold walls. A hallway displaying a large collection of records and music memorabilia leads to the music school, where instrumental and vocal lessons take place.

Rock House serves pastries, grilled cheese, Barnaby’s pizza and a variety of coffee drinks. To try everything the café has to offer, I made multiple visits.

Will Van Lierop, sound engineer and barista, recommended the latte. It had the average latte flavor, but the bitterness of the espresso shone through, and I loved the drink’s simplicity.

During my second visit, I ordered the frappe and was overjoyed to discover it wasn’t just a sugary milkshake. Rather, the drink had a perfect balance of sweetness and coffee taste, with a thick and icy texture.

Alongside my coffee drinks, I tried some grilled cheeses. Rock House brings the element of music into their food, as their grilled cheeses are named after famous musicians.

Van Lierop recommended the café’s most popular grilled cheese, the Bon Jovi: mozzarella and provolone with roasted red peppers and pesto on sourdough. The combination of pesto and peppers gave the sandwich pizzazz but was overthrown by the blandness of the sourdough. Sadly, the sandwich was not as flavorful as I expected.

Rock House also offers custom grilled cheeses, which I chomped on while watching Van Lierop’s live acoustic performance. Customers can choose up to four add-ons or more for an additional cost. My sandwich concoction consisted of pepper jack cheese, turkey, roasted red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes on multigrain bread. With the spice of the pepper jack and veggies combined, the sandwich tasted like a café-style panini, and I fell in love. But truly, the miniature live concert made my lunch a much more memorable experience.

Whether it be to chat with friends over high-quality coffee or to do homework and enjoy live music, the café is a perfect hangout spot. Cozy and rock n’ roll may seem contradictory, but that is the atmosphere of Rock House, and I adore it.

Will Van Lierop, sound engineer and barista, performs at Rock House, a cafe, venue for bands and music school in Glenview. Photo by Hope Mailing.

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Grilled cheese, rockin’ times