Glencoe’s Olly Olly Play Cafe serves up the fun
Emi Kelsey owns the Olly Olly Play Cafe in Glencoe. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Olly Olly Play Café
Location: 321 Park Ave., Glencoe
Specializing in: Family-focused play center for out-of-the-home playdates and birthday parties
Contact: (847) 835-2004
Updated: July 29, 2012 6:56AM
The minute boys and girls step in to Olly Olly Play Café in Glencoe, they are transported into an adventurous and imaginative world of pirates and princesses.
Olly Olly Play Café, which recently opened at 321 Park Ave., in Glencoe, offers so much for the kids to explore and also a great atmosphere for adults to socialize.
The first thing you see when you enter the play café is a beautiful castle play area that includes a life-size pirate ship. There is a room that features a puppet theater and various vibrant princess and pirate outfits for kids to dress up and play. An elaborate play kitchen, a room with puzzles and games, and a colorful room with a small slide just for the littlest ones provide hours of entertainment for kids.
The mission of the café is to provide a safe, creative play space where kids feel like they have stepped into a different world and they can use their imagination while developing social skills and decision-making skills.
The name Olly Olly Play Café is inspired by the phrase Olly Olly Oxen Free, which is a phrase used in children’s games such as Hide and Seek.
Owner Emi Kelsey said she wanted a playful and youthful name that would fit well with the spirit of the café.
Kelsey is also the owner of the North Shore School For the Arts, which is located on the floor above the play cafe.
The school offers private and group music lessons and Kelsey teaches piano lessons. Currently, they offer Suzuki guitar, Wiggleworms, Disney song classes and Broadway song classes.
“I really feel passionate about bringing music into people’s lives,” said Kelsey.
Kelsey is also passionate about creating a place that is fun and inspiring for the kids, as well as the adults.
“It’s like a play date for them,” said Kelsey, about the parents and nannies that enjoy spending time and socializing at Olly Olly Play Café.
The café offers free coffee and an assortment of tea for the adults and a menu that both kids and parents enjoy. The food comes directly from their neighbor, Meg’s Café and the menu includes items such as Thai chicken salad, grilled salmon over field greens, chopped salad with goat cheese, roast turkey sandwich, chicken Caesar wrap, black angus hamburger, omelets and more. Kid-friendly snacks can be ordered as well.
“Everybody enjoys the food,” said Kelsey, with a smile.
“It’s good that we have our chat and the kids can play,” said Keelan Meyer-Gleaves, who was enjoying a cup of tea with her friend, who is also a nanny. She frequently brings the girl she watches to the play café and meets other nannies and kids for play dates there.
“I think it’s so beautifully designed,” added Meyer-Gleaves, who said it’s so pretty it even makes her want to get up and play.
Kelsey said in addition to moms and nannies, a group of dads often come in on Saturdays and refer to their special day at the café as “Dadurdays.”
Olly Olly Play Café is also a popular spot to have birthday parties and characters, such as princesses, have been known to make special appearances at the parties.