Popcorn in Naperville & Western suburbs
I love gourmet popcorn--even make gourmet Cinnabun poporn myself. I know that Naper Nuts & Sweets is supposed to have good popcorn and also Kernel Fabyan's... does anyone know which one is better? ....Are they worth the money?
I am thinking of tasting caramel (or mixed--cheese and caramel) corn from either, but I'd be curious if someone has a better suggestion for gourmet popcorn in the Western suburbs. I just moved here so I don't know much about where to go.
We have a Kernel Fabyan's in Geneva and it is great. Very consistent flavors very friendly staff. I get the Chicago Mix (carmel and Cheese) and eat it until I'm completely sick just like a little kid on Halloween. Then as soon as I get over the initial sickness I eat more. actually I have not been there in a while I think it is time to go.
Alright I wanted to update this post since I did some scouting this weekend and tried all three places in Naperville--
My first stop was Naper Nuts and Sweets. First of all, this place definitely has the adorable factor working in its favor. The shop was crawling with young-ins and the countertop is covered with glass containers of candy. The woman who sold me the popcorn was super sweet. It was a precious snapshot of an establishment straight out of 'Our Town.' That being said, I did not like the caramel corn. When I was young I never liked caramel corn because of the molasses flavor. This rendition of caramel corn tastes a lot like molasses, and I still prefer vanilla-tasting popcorn so... overall Naper Nuts and Sweets was a great place, but I will never purchase their caramel corn again. Also the ingredients listed corn solids... which makes me nervous, although all three places probably used corn solids (whatever corn solids are anyway).
Second stop was a place that was crawling with teens on the outside.. but completely empty inside: the Popcorn Factory. I will say the popcorn was hot and tasty, but it was definitely reheated and probably not made on the spot--although the front of the store leads one to believe that it is. Regardless, the woman was nice. Out of the three establishments, this popcorn was the most coated with vanilla-sweetness; additionally the popcorn was the most spherical in nature. Nearly each piece looked like a perfect globe and replica of every other piece. At first, this was my favorite, but as soon as I sat down with all three, I realized that this was middle-of-the-road because it is too sweet and heavy. Gasp. Rarely is anything too sweet for me. Also I realized the perfect globes of popcorn actually were a turn-off; I don't like perfect looking food.
Finally I put the other two bags in the car and went to Kernel Fabyans. I was hesitant about going inside because online it appeared that the smallest size was $24--which I would never spend on popcorn. Anyway, there was another patron in the store--with a child--which was a good sign. Also the man working here was really nice. Although I had already ordered my popcorn, when he heard that I had never had the popcorn, he offered me a free sample. It was tasty so I proceeded with my order (now that I think about it: it would have been a great idea to make up that it was horrible and stomp out of there, just to see what happened with such a response--I kid, I would never do that, but it would be a good psych experiment: how would the salesman respond?). Anyway, this popcorn gets my vote. I think it may have been the most expensive but it was also the largest. It was the perfect balance--not too sweet, not too coated; your tastebuds get a break every once in a while when a piece isn't as smothered with sweetness.
I have not eaten the popcorn from Naper Nuts and Sweets; I know it always smells good when I walk past. I had a sample from Kernel Fabyan's during the Geneva art fair and it was very good. I am particular about cheese and caramel popcorn and think most of what is out there isn't very good. But the Kernel Fabyan cheese popcorn was very good. If I was back out there sometime I think it would be worth the money.