News about 53rd St. in Hyde Park, Chicago

Harper Court’s Vanille Patisserie supports Special Olympics Chicago on National Macaron Day

National Macaron Day is Tuesday, March 20, and Vanille Patisserie is honoring the addictive French cookie and the first day of spring with all proceeds supporting Special Olympics Chicago.

Stop into any of Vanille’s four patisserie locations (including 5229 S. Harper Court in Hyde Park) on the 20th, purchase any item, and Vanille will donate 10-percent of all in-store and online sales Special Olympics Chicago, the organization that offers athletic training and competition to children and adults with intellectual disabilities across the city. Special Olympic programming is available in more than 122 Chicago Public Schools throughout the city and in 23 Chicago Park District locations.

“We wanted to honor Special Olympics Chicago during their 50th year serving our city and felt National Macaron Day was a great way to show support for our local athletes,” said Sophie Evanoff, president of Vanille Patisserie. “We challenge Chicagoans to show their support by making a purchase at any of our four locations or order online on March 20,” added Evanoff.

As an added bonus, on National Macaron Day, mention #BreakingDownBarriers at any Vanille location and receive a free macaron. Vanille Patisserie features macarons in 14+ flavors including chocolate, vanilla, raspberry, caramel, coconut, pistachio, coffee, red velvet, hazelnut, Nutella, Cassis, mango passion, rose, lavender, green tea, and strawberry Champagne.

The macaron, made up two small meringue cookies with a flavored filling, was likely created in Italy during the Middle Ages and brought to France in the 16th century by the chefs of Catherine de’ Medici – the first written macaron recipe dates from the 17th century in France. Macaron Day was introduced in 2005 by Pierre Hermé, a famous French pastry chef.

All four Vanille locations will participate in the National Macaron Day celebration: Lincoln Park (2108 N. Clark Street) Lakeview (3243 N. Broadway) Chicago French Market inside Ogilvie Metra Station (131 N. Clinton Avenue) and Hyde Park (5229 S. Harper Court).

Delicious macarons from Vanille Patissserie
Delicious macarons from Vanille Patissserie
Celebrate Macaron Day at Vanille Patisserie
Celebrate Macaron Day at Vanille Patisserie

Wale Nubi of Hyde Park store Jojayden to offer 40% off sale in honor of his 40th birthday

Wale Nubi, owner of the clothing store Jojayden, located at 1457 E. 53rd Street, will be hosting a special 40% off sale in honor of his 40th birthday on Tuesday, February 13th, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The store, open in Hyde Park since June 2016, specializes in custom shoes and clothing for men in addition to ready to wear apparel and accessories for men and women. The sale will not include any custom orders.

Nubi, the youngest son in a family of six children from Nigeria, was drawn to fashion as a teenager when his older brothers, who all wore the same shoe size, would send him their designer shoes from London when they were finished with them. Originally an IT consultant for Fortune 500 companies, Nubi began researching European shoe manufacturing processes before opening his store, which is named in honor of his two sons, Josiah and Jayden.

Since the store’s opening, Nubi’s custom suits have been steadily building a strong following with style-conscious men in Chicago and throughout the country. With wedding and prom season just around the corner, Jojayden is a great local resource for everything you need for the big day, including suits, shirts, ties, cufflinks, shoes, and socks.

Nubi recently spent time in Florence, Italy, at Pitti Immagine Uomo, the international fashion show for men’s wear held twice a year. While there he met Nino Cerruti, founder of the couture house, Cerruti, where Giorgio Armani began his career. Visit the Jojayden Facebook and Instagram pages for more images from Nubi's trip to Italy.

Stop by Jojayden and you can be confident Nubi will have you looking your best, no matter what the occasion.

Jojayden 40% Off Sale
Jojayden 40% Off Sale
Wale Nubi in Italy - January 2018
Wale Nubi in Italy - January 2018

Hyde Park restaurants ready to celebrate Super Bowl LII

If you’re looking for a local spot to relax and watch the Super Bowl this Sunday or try some special pizzas in honor of the teams, Hyde Park has several options for you:

Ja' Grill, 1510 E. Harper Court – is hosting a Super Bowl party from 5-10 p.m. with the big game shown on five televisions, $7 beer and Appleton rum shot combos, half-priced wings, and regular happy hour specials from 4-6 p.m. Call 773-752-5375 to make a reservation.

Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria & Brewery, 5215 S. Harper Avenue – celebrates with a viewing party from 5-10 p.m. with lots of football, beer, and pizza. The restaurant will feature $10 buffalo wings and barbecue chicken nachos, $3 hot dogs with chips, and $2 off all draft beer, house cocktails, and wine. No tickets or reservations are required.

Nella Pizza e Pasta, 1125 E. 55th Street – has created two special pizzas in honor of the Super Bowl teams. Try the New England Patriots pizza with lobster and cognac sauce or the Philadelphia Eagles pizza with ribeye, peppers, and onions. Catering orders should be placed before noon on Friday at 773-643-0603.

The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Avenue West – presents the second annual “Super BODY Tailgate Party” starting at 4 p.m. with grilled buffalo chicken sandwiches, house-made polish sausages, barbecue short ribs, and a popcorn and nacho station. $20 beer buckets and $18 six-packs will also be available. After the game, stay for free entry to BODY, a weekly dance night “…for bodies intent on moving to the best Afro-Caribbean grooves.”

Celebrate the Super Bowl at Jolly Pumpkin
Celebrate the Super Bowl at Jolly Pumpkin
Nella's special Super Bowl pizzas
Nella's special Super Bowl pizzas
Stay for Super Body at The Promontory
Stay for Super Body at The Promontory

Hyde Park businesses get in the Valentine’s Day spirit with special dinners, cocktails, and gifts

Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it on Wednesday, February 14, and with several local restaurants and shops offering special dinner and cocktail menus and romantic gifts, you won’t have to leave Hyde Park to celebrate with your sweetie.

Cocktails & Dining

A10 Hyde Park, 1466 E. 53rd Street – is offering a trio of specials including Duck Three Ways, Charred Shrimp, and a Strawberry Champagne Short Cake. The bar will serve two $10 cocktail specials –  “Butterfly Kisses” (sweetheart candy, Peychaud's bitters, Cava) and “Pink Lady” (London Dry Gin, Applejack, Grenadine), as well as $8 glasses of Cava. For reservations call 773-288-1010.

Chant, 1509 E. 53rd Street – has three great Valentine's Day-themed cocktails for just $5 each, including the Candy-Tini (made with vanilla vodka, rumchata, creamy, and amarula liquor), the Flirt-Tini (made with vanilla vodka, cranberry juice, strawberry liquor, and Champagne), and the Lust (made with cherry vodka, homemade sweet & sour, and cherry juice).

Ja Grill, 1510 E. Harper Court – knows how to turn up the romance with a free bottle of Champagne or wine with dinner. Make your reservations at 773-752-5375

la petite folie, 1504 E. 55th Street – is featuring a three-course prix-fixe Valentine's Day dinner for $45/person with two seatings any time between 5-6:30 p.m. and 7:30-9 p.m.

Mellow Yellow, 1508 E. 53rd Street – bring your valentine for fajitas (your choice of steak, chicken, or vegetables) and a dessert crepe with fresh strawberries for $24.99 per couple.

Porkchop, 1516 E. Harper Court – special prix fixe dinner at 5 p.m. for $33 per person, with choice of any appetizer, soup or salad, entrée, and dessert. Choose from southern fried chicken, beef short ribs, and BBQ salmon. For reservations call 773-493-9333.

The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Avenue West – has a prix fixe three-course menu for $65 per couple with optional wine pairings for $35 per couple. Share a Crab Louie appetizer, choice of Hearth-Grilled Game Hen Roulade or Branzino, and a flourless chocolate cake.  The Promontory is “…completing the ambiance with old school R&B and soul from our vinyl collection that will put you in the Love Zone.” To reserve your spot call 312-801-2100.

Gifts

Dearborn Denim, 1504 E. 53rd Street – Happy Valentine's Day from Dearborn Denim! Buy a pair for you & yours, and get $10 off the 2nd pair!

Kilwins, 5226 S. Harper Avenue – treat your sweetheart to a half dozen hand-dipped chocolate covered long-stem strawberries for $30, or one dozen for $57.

Porkchop, 1516 E. Harper Court – for carnivore lovers, consider a bacon rose bouquet, with a dozen “roses” for $40 and a half dozen for $25. Reserve your bouquet at 773-493-9333 24 hours in advance or before 10 a.m. on Valentine’s Day, with pick up starting at 5 p.m.

Vanille Patisserie, 5229 S. Harper Court – It’s sweets for the sweet at Vanille Patisserie, with heart-shaped macarons in raspberry, chocolate, and vanilla in an 8-piece gift box for $16.95 or an 18-piece gift box for $35.00. Or try decorated sugar cookies with French phrases for $4.50. A special gluten-free/nut-free heart-shaped “Desiree” pastry with white chocolate mousse and raspberry cremeux, raspberry jam, and chocolate flourless cake is $6.95.

Enjoy optional wine pairings at The Promontory
Enjoy optional wine pairings at The Promontory
Fajitas and dessert crepe with fresh strawberries at Mellow Yellow
Fajitas and dessert crepe with fresh strawberries at Mellow Yellow
Hand-dipped chocolate-covered strawberries at Kilwins
Hand-dipped chocolate-covered strawberries at Kilwins
Bacon rose bouquet at Porkchop
Bacon rose bouquet at Porkchop
Heart-shaped macarons at Vanille Patisserie
Heart-shaped macarons at Vanille Patisserie
Conversation heart sugar cookies at Vanille Patisserie
Conversation heart sugar cookies at Vanille Patisserie
Desiree pastry at Vanille Patisserie
Desiree pastry at Vanille Patisserie

Amazon’s Treasure Truck adds Harper Court to Chicago locations

Have you heard about the Amazon Treasure Truck? As a new way to reach Amazon customers, the company has a fleet of branded trucks roaming 25 cities nationwide, making surprise stops to delight customers with one hand-picked, must-have “treasure” each time the truck is out. A text reveals the day’s offer and customers buy it in the Amazon app, and pick it up at the truck.

Beginning in February 2018, Hyde Park’s Harper Court has been selected as an Amazon Treasure Truck pick-up location.

Customers can sign-up for Amazon Treasure Truck alerts by texting “TRUCK” to 24193 – after receiving a reply text, the customer is directed to his or her Amazon account via the Amazon app to complete the registration process.

Past treasures have included headphones, holiday turkeys and wreaths, kitchen appliances, must-have toys, the latest game systems, backpacks, and more.

The trucks make 3-4 stops per offer day in each city, stopping for 60-90 minutes for customers to pick up their item, prepaid through their Amazon account to make it easy.

In addition to offering treasures, the trucks also host fun giveaways and events – in the past they have offered free ice cream, given away a trip to Rio, and even brought a mini pumpkin patch, so “…customers could craft jack o’ lanterns for Halloween and eat candy.”

The program started in February 2016, when the “…Treasure Truck officially hit the road, surprising customers with GoPro Hero4 at 64% off. Customers joined us from all over – even from the ski slopes!” And in December 2017, the Treasure Trucks began rolling out in the United Kingdom, starting with London and Manchester.

Since the stops are all a surprise, there is no way of knowing exactly when the Treasure Truck will visit Harper Court, so sign-up for alerts and get ready!

To learn more, visit the Amazon Treasure Truck FAQ.

The Amazon Treasure Truck is coming soon to Harper Court
The Amazon Treasure Truck is coming soon to Harper Court
The Chicago Amazon Treasure Truck
The Chicago Amazon Treasure Truck

Vanille Patisserie to host Cake Social on Friday, February 2 and weekly Saturday story time

Harper Court’s Vanille Patisserie, located at 5229 S. Harper Court, is hosting a Cake Social on Friday, February 2, from 4-9 p.m.

The event will feature local DJ SpinDoctor Craig Elliott, free cake samples, cupcake decorating for children, and a “cake walk” every thirty minutes. The patisserie will also award one lucky guest a gift certificate for a custom cake valued at $250. Vanille Patisserie offers seven different cake flavors, including white buttermilk, chocolate, red velvet, carrot, lemon, hazelnut, and banana.

“We are thrilled to be part of the Hyde Park community,” says Sophie Evanoff, president, Vanille Patisserie. “The fun-filled evening is a chance for neighbors to gather, learn more about Vanille and eat some great cake,” adds Evanoff.

Vanille’s “cake walk” is similar to a game of musical chairs. Cake walk participants will walk around in a circle while music plays. When the music stops, the person standing on a designated spot will win a free cake.

The patisserie will also be collecting donations for the 18th Annual Special Olympics Polar Plunge, to be held on Sunday, March 4 at North Avenue Beach.

Starting Saturday, February 3, Vanille will be hosting a weekly Saturday story time from 9:30 until approximately 10:15 a.m. Caregivers and children are invited to the free event, featuring stories read by Vanille employees, and cookie decorating with special themed cookies for each story.

Open since December 1, 2017, the Hyde Park store is Vanille’s fourth location, with additional locations at the Chicago French Market, in Lincoln Park, and in Lakeview.

Vanille Cake Social
Vanille Cake Social
Vanille Story Time & Cookie Decorating
Vanille Story Time & Cookie Decorating

Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria & Brewery to host weekly Happy Hour and Trivia Tuesday events

Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria & Brewery, located at the western edge of Harper Court at 5215 S. Harper Avenue, is now hosting weekly Happy Hour events Monday through Friday from 4-6 p.m., with two-dollar savings on draft beer, wine, and craft cocktails. The brewery will be hosting Trivia Tuesday nights starting Tuesday, January 30, from 8- 10 p.m.

Jolly Pumpkin opened in late October 2017, and since then has been featured on Eater Chicago’s Cocktail Heat Map for the third month in a row, as one of the “16 hottest bars in Chicago.”

“This beloved Michigan brewery has made its first inroads to Chicago with a slamming new brewpub in South Side Hyde Park that residents have been eagerly awaiting. Fresh beer from one of the Midwest's most popular breweries is obviously the main draw, but don't overlook the pizza-fronted food options and the fun keg-inspired design.”

The brewery features oak-aged sour beer, non-sour beer, and hard ciders on 36 taps as well as their own wine and craft cocktails made with spirits from their Traverse City, MI distillery. Jolly Pumpkin also serves starters, salads, sandwiches, and pizza.

Draft Magazine recently named one of Jolly Pumpkin’s beers, “Gigantic Phuket; It’s Not That Far from Laos” as one of the “Top 25 Beers of 2017.”

The trivia nights are free for a team of up to six people, and are organized by “Geeks Who Drink” a “…homegrown Pub Trivia Quiz modeled after those in Ireland and the U.K. Our quizzes cover everything from celebrities in trouble to wordplay to bad television.” Everyone is invited to participate, and single players can be added to existing teams. Winners will receive Jolly Pumpkin gift cards as prizes.

The Hyde Park location is Jolly Pumpkin’s first foray outside Michigan; the company currently has cafes, breweries, tasting rooms, and distilleries at locations including Ann Arbor, Detroit, Dexter, Royal Oak, and Traverse City.

Jolly Pumpkin is open Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Jolly Pumpkin Happy Hour
Jolly Pumpkin Happy Hour
Jolly Pumpkin Trivia Tuesday
Jolly Pumpkin Trivia Tuesday

Harper Court location of NoteworthyNotes to close February 1

The Harper Court location of NoteworthyNotes will close on February 1, 2018, with a store-wide sale beginning Friday, January 5 and continuing throughout the entire month. The gift and stationery store, located at 5231 S. Harper Court, originally opened for business on November 20, 2015.

Cindy Rudman, NoteworthyNotes owner and University of Chicago Booth School of Business alum, launched the business in 2000 in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, moving to a storefront location at 3629 N. Halsted Street in Lakeview in 2010. The store has built a following as a source for personalized gifts, invitations and stationery, as well as housewares, bags, and jewelry. The closing of the Hyde Park store will allow Rudman to consolidate operations and focus on the Lakeview location.

Rudman, a former Hyde Park resident said, “The Hyde Park location was a great opportunity to connect with a new customer base, and we’ve enjoyed being a part of the local business community over the past two years. We will miss seeing our customers regularly and hope they will allow us to continue to serve them at our Lakeview store and online.”

“NoteworthyNotes has been a positive addition to Harper Court,” commented Aaron Bartels, Executive Director for UChicago’s Commercial Real Estate Operations group. “The store offered a product line unique to the area and was an active participant in many neighborhood events, such as Hyde Park Holly-Day.”

Local Hyde Park businesses to participate in Chicago Reader's "Made in Chicago Market" on Sunday, December 3

The University of Chicago Commercial Real Estate Operations group is partnering with the Chicago Reader as a sponsor of the Made in Chicago Market, a holiday market to be held Sunday, December 3, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Plumber’s Hall, 1340 W. Washington Boulevard.

The annual holiday event typically attracts approximately 2,000 people, and eight Hyde Park businesses will take over the entire balcony of the space as a dedicated “Hyde Park Village.” The market is… “a fun celebration of all things DIY—showcasing some of the best apparel, housewares, and food and drink that Chicago has to offer! Shop local and support your neighborhood makers.” Admission and parking are free.

Participating shops and restaurants will include BBQ Supply Co., 1301 E. 53rd Street, with house-made bottled barbecue sauce; Dearborn Denim & Apparel, 1504 E. 53rd Street, with “made in Chicago” jeans and belts; Jojayden, 1457 E. 53rd Street, with custom apparel and shoes for men; Modern Cooperative, 1500 E. 53rd Street, with jewelry and decorative gift items; The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Avenue, with information about the restaurant/bar and upcoming shows and events; The Silver Room, 1506 E. 53rd Street, with jewelry and clothing for men and women; Sir & Madame, 5225 S. Harper Court, with their Hyde Park-based clothing line for men and women; and Vanille Patisserie, 5229 S. Harper Court, with packaged holiday cookies and candies. The Hyde Park balcony space will feature a free photo booth for shoppers to get in the spirit and take home a souvenir holiday photograph. A10 Hyde Park is providing food and drink sales at the event, and as an added attraction, a DJ from The Promontory will be spinning records throughout the day.

Tiffany Paige, co-owner of Modern Cooperative, commented, “Participating in the Made in Chicago Market is a great way to reach people throughout the city and let them know about all the creative, independent shops here in Hyde Park.”

“We’re proud of our local businesses and are excited about the opportunity to introduce them to a wider Chicago audience,” said Aaron Bartels, Executive Director of Commercial Real Estate Operations for the University. “There’s so much going on in Hyde Park in terms of new retail, dining, and entertainment options, and we hope shoppers at the market will be inspired to explore the area for themselves.”

Vanille Patisserie’s Grand Opening Weekend announced for December 1-3, 2017

Harper Court’s Vanille Patisserie officially opens its new Hyde Park location at 5229 S. Harper Court on Friday, December 1 at 10:30 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, and special events and offers all weekend long.

With three existing locations in Chicago including 131 N. Clinton at the Chicago French Market in the West Loop, 2108 N. Clark Street in Lincoln Park, and 3243 N. Broadway in Lakeview, the expansion to Harper Court brings an authentic French patisserie experience to the Hyde Park community. Vanille Patisserie has been recognized by TimeOut magazine as one of the “16 Best Bakeries” in America.

Offerings include French pastries, signature cakes, macarons, petit fours, sweet and savory croissants, and candies. The patisserie also designs custom wedding cakes and offers catering for breakfast, lunch, and dessert.

Grand opening events include a drawing to win one 24-piece gift box of French macarons each month for one year, as well as free product samples, $1 coffee with a purchase, and other offers. To celebrate the opening of the Hyde Park store, Vanille will hold the Golden Macaron Contest at all four locations from December 1-3. Patrons are invited to visit the store and potentially find one of the ten Golden Macaron to win a $100 gift certificate. A $10 minimum purchase is required, with winners at all locations. Vanille is also participating in the Hyde Park Holly-Day event on Saturday, December 2, with free drop-in cookie decorating from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; no reservations required.

December is an especially tantalizing month at the patisserie, with French-inspired desserts including traditional and modern Buche de Noel in a wide variety of traditional and new flavors; petit fours, holiday cookie, and signature macaron trays; and hot chocolate mix with Vanille house-made marshmallows – perfect for last minute hostess gifts. All Vanille Patisserie locations will offer a 10% discount on holiday pre-orders made during the grand opening weekend – consider ordering the special Galette des Rois (King’s Cake), available for pick up December 24 through the end of January.

“We are delighted to open our fourth location and are excited to bring Vanille pastries and desserts to Hyde Park,” said Sophie Evanoff, President, Vanille Patisserie. “We invite customers to relax in our cozy Harper Court cafe savoring the moment to experience our high-quality, French-inspired menu featuring freshly made artisanal French pastries and cakes.”

Evanoff, a classically trained pastry chef from Chicago’s French Pastry School, has been honored with the 2016 Chicagoland Chamber of Business James Tyree Emerging Business Leadership Award, the first female small business owner to receive the honor. A dedicated and active entrepreneur, Evanoff is also an alumna from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program.

“Vanille Patisserie will bring a distinctive, new amenity to Hyde Park,” said Aaron Bartels, Executive Director of Commercial Real Estate Operations for the University. “Local residents will be able to enjoy both morning pastries and custom-created desserts prepared by classically trained French pastry chefs without leaving the mid-South Side.”

The Harper Court location hours are Sunday-Thursday from 7 a.m – 8 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 7:00 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Vanille Patisserie Macarons
Vanille Patisserie Macarons
Vanille Patisserie Manjari Cake
Vanille Patisserie Manjari Cake
Vanille Patisserie Raspberry Tarte
Vanille Patisserie Raspberry Tarte
Vanille Patisserie Royal Pastry
Vanille Patisserie Royal Pastry