Meet 10 Cool Dads in Chicago

Dads have the magic touch. They turn roughhousing into an art form, have an unending arsenal of silly faces and can make tears dry with a single smooch. Chicago is full of cool dads and we want you to meet a few. Get to know a trend-setting store owner, longtime improv actor, restaurant and bar tastemaker, baby-business entrepreneur and other fellows that do their families — and Chicago — proud.

Peter Toalson

At Wandawega, an old-timey Wisconsin lake resort, Toalson hit the archery range with his son, Levi (4). Back in Chicago, he hits the film, food and art scene in his job as a partner at concept and project development studio Land and Sea. Recently, the studio debuted a documentary film ("Sign Painters" at Logan Theater) and opened a restaurant (Parson's Chicken & Fish). Toalson also has ownership in Green Bean Day School & Nursery in Lincoln Park, which is known for its ecofriendly practices. He and his wife, Nicole, live in East Garfield Park. While as a small business owner, Peter doesn't have regular days, his joy of being a parent is constant. "I hope to be a strong example to Levi and have him grow up knowing anything is achievable and attainability can be had fairly and honestly," says Peter.

Do you know a Chicago Cool Dad? Let us know about him! Leave your nomination in the Comments section below, or email

— Story by Kelly Aiglon


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