News about 53rd St. in Hyde Park, Chicago

Third generation silhouette artist comes to Bellē Up Boutique on 53rd Street

Bellē Up Boutique, at 1504 E. 53rd Street, is welcoming Erik Johnson, a third-generation silhouette artist, to its store on Monday, June 1, from 3-6 p.m.

Erik is a world-renowned artist who travels the country, cutting his keepsake silhouettes by hand in five minutes or less. Bellē Up has hosted him several times over the last few years in its Beverly store, and those events have proven popular with customers. Silhouettes are a unique way to document babies, children, teens, and adults, and they make excellent gifts.

The art of silhouette cutting began in Europe in the early 1700s – at first it was just for the royal class, but by the 1800s silhouette artists had come to America and were capturing the likenesses of everyone from American politicians to local people at county fairs. It is estimated there are as few as 15 remaining silhouette artists in the United States.

To see samples of Erik’s work, visit his Facebook page. Silhouettes will be available for purchase at Bellē Up on June 1.

To sign up for an appointment, click here.

Erik Johnson Silhouettes
Silhouettes Courtesy of Erik Johnson

“Chicago’s Best” food challenge films at 53rd Street’s Rajun Cajun

Elliott Bambrough from WGN-TV will be coming to Hyde Park to film Trushar Patel, owner of Rajun Cajun, for an episode of “Chicago’s Best” food challenge.

The segment will be filmed on Friday, May 15th at 11 a.m. and will air on Sunday, June 14th, at 10 p.m. on WGN.

Bambrough will interview Patel about what makes Rajun Cajun one of “Chicago’s Best” and which of his spicy menu items stand out from the rest. The two will cook a dish together – ideally so hot that Bambrough will not be able to finish it.

If you’re a Rajun Cajun fan and happen to be in the restaurant that day - who knows - you might just end up on television.

Trushar Patel
Trushar Patel - Photo by Anna Knott (Chicago Magazine)

Free Mom & Me yoga class at 53rd Street’s Lively Athletics

Lively Athletics, at 5241 S. Harper Avenue, will be hosting a free “Mom & Me” yoga class on Saturday, May 9th, at 9:15 a.m., in honor of Mother’s Day.

Shalise Nichols, founder of blissfolds yoga, will lead moms and children ages five and up through various yoga poses. Participants are asked to bring yoga mats and to wear comfortable clothing.

The class is free, but donations to the instructor are welcome. Spaces are limited; please reserve by emailing info@livelyrunning.com, calling 708-358-0605, or responding at https://www.facebook.com/events/780685055372284/.

Shalise Nichols with Yoga Class
Shalise Nichols with Yoga Class - Photo Courtesy of Shalise Nichols

53rd Street boutique, Anastasia, celebrates Hyde Park location with fashion show at The Promontory on May 12th

Chicago fashion designer, Anastasia Chatzka, started her namesake boutique in Wicker Park and later Ukrainian Village, and expanded to Hyde Park as a pop-up retailer in November 2014 at 1500 E. 53rd Street. She’s enjoyed the opportunity so much that she has extended her original lease term until October 2015. She will also be debuting her spring/summer 2015 original designs at a fashion show at The Promontory, on Tuesday, May 12, at 8 p.m.

The event will feature a special guest DJ and selfie booth, and guests will be able to shop the full Anastasia collection after the show. Doors open at 7 p.m., and admission is free. Guests may reserve seats by sending an email to rsvp@anastasiachatzka.com.

Originally from Detroit, Chatzka received her BFA in Fashion Design at the International Academy of Design & Technology of Chicago. She honed her design skills after college, working with iconic designers Betsey Johnson and Anna Sui. She was inspired by Detroit’s music scene and started her own clothing line with fun, feminine, and cutting edge ready-to-wear and custom-made designs – all sewn locally in Chicago. We talked with Chatzka to learn more about her experiences in Hyde Park and the upcoming fashion show:

Your upcoming fashion show is celebrating your Hyde Park opening – what can you tell us about your experience in expanding to the 53rd Street area?

It took a few months to get to know the neighborhood better and to find out first-hand what customers are looking for in their fashion wardrobes. We have met so many amazing people from around the neighborhood who enjoy what we are offering. All our designer clothes are made in Chicago and since we offer custom design services, the options are unlimited, which is very attractive to our customers. Our location in Hyde Park has opened up the visibility of the brand tremendously. 

How did the collaboration with The Promontory come about?

We’re “neighbors” on 53rd Street, and when I was looking for a venue space in the neighborhood, it was the perfect opportunity – I am super excited to be showing in such a beautiful space. Organizing the fashion show with The Promontory is a fun and easy way to “cross-pollenate” – introducing Anastasia fans to 53rd Street, Hyde Park, and The Promontory, while introducing The Promontory’s audience to my designs.

You’ll be presenting your spring and summer 2015 collections – what can we expect to see in terms of colors, styles, and themes?

The SS15 collection will showcase a range of looks from day to night and week to weekend. We will also be showcasing a handful of stunning, one-of-a-kind gowns and ready-to-wear pieces.  The colors range from bright and cheerful to dark and edgy. The collection will encompass our signature style of tailored lines with plenty of prints, textures, and colors. We will also be rolling the racks of clothes onto the runway after the show for everyone to enjoy up close, and if they choose to, they can try them on! 

What does it mean to you to be a Chicago designer, and how does the city – particularly Hyde Park — inspire your work?

Hyde Park inspires the collections that we put into the Hyde Park boutique just by the women who walk into the boutique. We listen to everyone’s needs and requests. So, if you were looking for something we didn't have a few months ago, there is a very good chance that we have designed it and put it into the boutique based on that feedback. We love fashion and we love dressing women! So come play dress up with us! 

Photo of Anastasia Chatzka
Photo Courtesy of Anastasia Chatzka
Design by Anastasia Chatzka
Spring/Summer 2015 Design by Anastasia Chatzka
Design by Anastasia Chatzka
Spring/Summer 2015 Design by Anastasia Chatzka

53rd Street restaurants offer Mother’s Day specials

Mother’s Day is just around the corner on Sunday, May 10, and several 53rd Street area restaurants are planning special events to help you celebrate your mom – and all the important mothers in your life – in style all day and evening long.

A10, at 1462 E. 53rd Street, will be hosting a Mother’s Day Brunch, for $35 per person and $15 for kids aged 10 and under. Mom will enjoy an assortment of sweets for the table as well as a choice of five different entrees. For reservations, call 773-288-1010.

Chant, at 1509 E. 53rd Street, is offering a Mother’s Day Brunch special with queen cut prime rib for $25, or king cut prime rib for $30. Both entrees are served with Parmesan smashed potatoes and sweet corn succotash, and a complimentary dessert of fresh berry Zabaione. For reservations, call 773-324-1999.

Porkchop, at 1516 E. Harper Court, is offering a “Complimentary Brunch for Mom” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Diners will receive one complimentary brunch entrée for one mom per table. For reservations, call 773-493-9333.

The Promontory, at 5311 S. Lake Park Avenue, is starting the day with special additions to its regular brunch menu, including smoked salmon roe deviled eggs, blue crab soufflé, and Basque cake. Singer Tecora Rogers will be performing jazz standards in a 3 p.m. show at the Promontory’s upstairs music venue. The dinner menu features a grilled Maine lobster special, and the evening concert will be Zemrah’s Songs of Love. Drink specials include “Cookies & Cream” with house-made brown butter rum, “Roots & Malt” with house-made root beer, and “Queen for a Day,” which includes a half bottle of Champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, and 2 for 1 standing room tickets for the 7 p.m. concert. For more information, visit http://promontorychicago.com/mothers-day/.

Brunch Sweets at A10
Brunch Sweets at A10 - Photo by Matthias Merges
Fresh Berry Zabaione at Chant
Fresh Berry Zabaione at Chant - Photo by Aldo Fernando Rojas
Complimentary Brunch for Mom - Graphic by Porkchop
Complimentary Brunch for Mom - Graphic by Porkchop
The Promontory Patio
The Promontory Patio - Photo Courtesy of The Promontory
French Toast at The Promontory
French Toast at The Promontory - Photo Courtesy of The Promontory

WLS (94.7 FM) Prize Patrol Town Tour comes to one of 53rd Street’s newest pop-up shops, Lively Athletics this Saturday

Lively Athletics at 5241 S. Harper Ave., owned by sisters Kate and Anne Pezalla, will be visited by the 94.7 FM WLS Prize Patrol Town Tour van on Saturday, April 11, from 12-2 p.m.

Recently opened on April 1 in Hyde Park  and named as one of Chicago’s 10 best running shops by Time Out Chicago, Lively is an athletic and lifestyle apparel and accessories boutique, started with the goal of building a welcoming, local community for women of every level of athleticism.

The WLS van will be parked in front of Lively, giving away CDs, concert tickets, t-shirts, key chains, and more. For additional information, visit the WLS website.

Kate and Anne Pezalla from Lively Athletics - Photo by Kristina St. Pierre
Kate and Anne Pezalla from Lively Athletics - Photo by Kristina St. Pierre
Image from the 94.7 FM WLS Prize Patrol
Image from the 94.7 FM WLS Prize Patrol

Spring “First Weekend” on 53rd Street offers discounts, free samples, and fun for UChicago students, April 10 and 11

More than 40 merchants from Hyde Park’s 53rd Street will be celebrating spring as they welcome University of Chicago students back to school with the First Weekend event on Friday and Saturday, April 10 and 11, from 6-11 p.m.

Coordinated as part of the University’s UChicago Local initiative to support businesses on the mid-South Side, the upcoming event includes 16 stores, 22 restaurants, and 5 other local businesses – each offering special sales, samples, discounts, raffles, and events for students with a current UChicago ID.

Some of the event highlights for students include the new pop-up shop Lively Athletics’ (5241 S. Harper Ave.) offer of a pair free Feetures socks for the first 50 female students to have a video gait analysis in the store, the Promontory’s (5311 S. Lake Park Ave. West) free tickets to see blues artist Billy Branch for the first 100 students, Bonne Sante’s (1512 E. 53rd St.) shake and panini samples, new pop-up shop Belle Up Boutique’s (1504 E. 53rd St.) gift of a Chicago map necklace with $50 purchase, The Great Frame Up’s (1418 E. 53rd St.) 30% discount on framing, new pop-up shop The Silver Room’s (1506 E. 53rd St.) 10% discount; Pearle Vision’s (1200 E. 53rd St.) coupon for free single vision lenses, Kimbark Beverage Shoppe’s (1214 E. 53rd St.) free “Not Your Father’s Root Beer” floats for students 21 and over, and more. By popular demand, the Doughnut Vault food truck will be back, parked in front of Nichols Park (1355 E. 53rd St.) both nights until the doughnuts are sold out.

Formerly known as “First Friday,” this is the second time that the quarterly event, coordinated by the University’s commercial real estate team and the Office of Campus and Student Life, has been extended to include Saturday night based on positive merchant and student feedback. With 40+ merchants, this event also has the most merchant participation ever; the January event included more than 30 businesses. UChicago will offer increased shuttle service between 53rd Street and the main Hyde Park campus both nights.

“We’ve heard from both businesses and students that the First Weekend event is a great way to increase awareness of all 53rd Street has to offer,” said James M. Hennessy, associate vice president for commercial real estate operations for the University. “with more than 40 businesses participating, the weekend should be a positive experience for our local retailers as well as our student community.”

For the full list of participating businesses and offers, students can visit http://firstweekend.splashthat.com/

First Weekend Poster Designed by UChicago Third-Year Student Lilly Astrow
First Weekend Poster Designed by UChicago Third-Year Student Lilly Astrow
The Doughnut Vault Food Truck at the January First Weekend Event
The Doughnut Vault Food Truck at the January First Weekend Event - Photo by Allan Perales

Hyde Park acupuncturist hosting open house on Friday, April 10, 12-4 p.m.

by Lilian Huang

Since opening her clinic on 53rd Street last August, Julie Bear Don’t Walk has been providing traditional Chinese medical treatment to residents of Hyde Park and the surrounding communities. A licensed acupuncturist, Julie also offers other services such as dietary therapy, Tui Na bodywork, and the recommendation of Chinese herbs. Her patients span a wide age range – “anywhere from pediatrics to geriatrics,” as she puts it – and her regular clientele includes many families.

The clinic, located at 1525 E. 53rd Street, Suite 824, is part of the ongoing wave of development along 53rd Street. Besides the flourishing restaurants, boutiques and pop-up shops, the area has also seen the arrival of numerous small businesses providing professional services, such as Julie’s health and wellness practice.

Julie first developed an interest in traditional Chinese medicine due to its interdisciplinary and holistic nature, which combines both theoretical and hands-on aspects to pursue a fundamental human mission of “helping people to feel better.” Her last name, “Bear Don’t Walk,” is from her husband Scott Bear Don’t Walk, a member of the Crow Tribe of Montana, and symbolizes Julie’s commitment to the sacred responsibility of healing and helping people to achieve lifelong wellbeing. Having studied for six years at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and completed over 3,000 hours of training, Julie describes traditional Chinese medicine as being an excellent complement to conventional Western medicine. Its holistic approach allows it to address many sets of symptoms for which Western medicine has no clear diagnosis or treatment.

She often works with patients who experience nerve pain, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and general fatigue, and helps them to improve their overall sense of health and wellbeing. In the words of one of her patients, “After my treatment, the stress from outside didn't change at all, but my relationship to it improved dramatically.”

Julie also emphasizes the importance of listening to patients and working collaboratively to design a feasible course of treatment. Her goal is to determine what is possible for each individual patient given their current lifestyle, and then recommending a personalized treatment tailored to suit the patient’s needs and living situation, rather than insisting on standardized procedures.

Even before opening her clinic in the Hyde Park Bank building, Julie had a longstanding connection to the Hyde Park neighborhood. She also works as a Resident Head at the University of Chicago, where she resides on campus with her husband and five-year-old daughter. This made 53rd Street a logical place to look when she was scouting for suitable spaces, a year before her graduation from Pacific College. The Hyde Park Bank building, in particular, appealed to her as being a “good, solid, beautiful building” and was also highly recommended by fellow acupuncturist Mary Rogel, who operates another practice in the building. “The fact that 53rd Street is being revitalized is a huge bonus,” Julie remarks.

Optimistic about the future prospects of her clinic in the neighborhood, she plans to expand her practice by acquiring adjoining office space, as well as hiring a massage therapist who will provide treatment on weekends.

Julie is holding an open house on Friday, April 10, from 12-4 p.m., for the community to learn more about the services she offers – recognizing that many people are interested in the possibilities of traditional Chinese medicine, but are unsure whether they can still visit her clinic if there is “nothing wrong with them.” “Spring is actually the perfect time, because it’s a transition of seasons,” says Julie. Her treatment, which is aimed at boosting the immune system and harmonizing the nervous system, is “a good way to reset” after a long, draining winter. In other words, “It’s totally fine to come in!”

Julie Bear Don’t Walk takes appointments from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Her clinic is located at 1525 E. 53rd Street, Suite 824, inside the Hyde Park Bank Building; she also makes house calls. She can be contacted at 773-991-9455 or julieacudoc@gmail.com. She will be hosting an open house at her clinic on Friday, April 10, 2015, from 12 to 4 p.m. with light refreshments. To RSVP, visit www.tiny.cc/feelgreat.

Photo Courtesy of Julie Bear Don't Walk
Photo Courtesy of Julie Bear Don't Walk
Office Interior - Photo by Julie Bear Don't Walk
Office Interior - Photo by Julie Bear Don't Walk
Office Interior - Photo by Julie Bear Don't Walk
Office Interior - Photo by Julie Bear Don't Walk

Spring brings new pop-up shops to 53rd Street

Three new pop-up shops will open on 53rd Street at the beginning of April, joining the area’s growing shopping, dining and entertainment district. Maternity and women’s apparel store Bellē Up Boutique, art gallery and jewelry and clothing retailer The Silver Room, and athletic and lifestyle apparel retailer Lively Athletics are scheduled to open by early April, remaining open until October.

The pop-up shops are part of an initiative by the University of Chicago for apparel and home goods retailers to test their concepts in Hyde Park while offering local residents a variety of new shopping options on a rotating basis. UChicago has been partnering with the City of Chicago and the local community for several years to reinvigorate the 53rd Street commercial corridor.

Recent pop-ups, such as designer clothing boutique Anastasia, vintage women’s apparel store Meadowlark, and candy shop Amy’s Candy Bar, have extended their stay in Hyde Park based on their success in the neighborhood.  Comfort Me; a women’s apparel, gift, and accessories boutique which opened in August 2013; recently relocated to 1508 E. 55th St. in the Hyde Park Shopping Center where it has a long-term lease.

James Hennessy, associate vice president for commercial real estate operations for the University, said the latest pop-ups offer a diversity of retail concepts to Hyde Park shoppers.

“The new businesses are distinct in what they offer—from women’s apparel, fitness apparel and accessories, to custom handmade jewelry, and art—but the business owners all bring a similar passion for community building through their stores and we’re happy to welcome them to 53rd Street,” Hennessy said.

The new stores include:

Bellē Up Boutique, 1504 E. 53rd St.: a Beverly-based maternity boutique owned by South Side mom of two, Jamenda McCoy. In addition to stylish maternity and nursing clothes, Bellē Up features non-maternity apparel, accessories, jewelry, and unique gift items for women.

“My team and I work exceptionally hard to create a one-stop shopping oasis for today's busy women—from boardroom to playroom, “ McCoy said. “I view the new location as a unique opportunity to introduce the women of Hyde Park to our brand, and for us to understand and invest in Hyde Park in the same way we have done in the Beverly and Mt. Greenwood neighborhoods over the past five-and-a-half years. We plan to listen to our Hyde Park clientele and work to make our store a destination that the community can be proud of, enjoy, and will want to keep around for the long-term."

Bellē Up Boutique was named as one of the best local places for maternity clothes in Chicago by Chicago Parent magazine. For discounts and special offers, join the Bellē Up-Hyde Park’s VIP Text Club by texting JUSTBU to 36000.

Lively Athletics, 5241 S. Harper Ave.: an athletic and lifestyle apparel and accessories retailer owned by sisters Kate and Anne Pezalla. Their first location was in Oak Park.

“We opened Lively Athletics with the goal of creating a warm and welcoming environment for women of every level of athleticism.  Our Hyde Park shop will be a great opportunity for us to continue to build that community—and, of course, to fit every woman with the perfect running shoes and perfect sports bra so that she can move with comfort and confidence,” said Anne Pezalla. “We're excited to be part of 53rd street, with its amazing restaurants, cool boutiques, and nearby gyms and studios.” 

“In addition to fun runs from Lively, we look forward to partnering with local running groups, like Hyde Park Runner's Club and Black Girls Run, for special fitness events,” she added.

Lively Athletics was named one of Chicago’s 10 best running shops by Time Out Chicago.

The Silver Room, 1506 E. 53rd St.: a jewelry and clothing shop that features an art gallery space for readings and events. Originally located in Wicker Park, the Hyde Park pop-up will bring owner Eric Williams “… closer to his sister and 100-year-old grandmother who live together on the South Side.”

The Silver Room has co-hosted events at the Currency Exchange Café in the nearby Washington Park neighborhood.

“I’m excited because our new location in Hyde Park will be bringing something to the neighborhood that’s not there currently. In the past, people would have to come north to get The Silver Room experience, and now they’ll have it in their own backyard,” Eric said.

 

Photo of Jamenda McCoy - Belle Up Boutique
Jamenda McCoy from Belle Up Boutique - Photo by Coach House Pictures
Belle Up Boutique Beverly Location
Belle Up Boutique Beverly Location - Photo by Allan Perales
Kate and Anne Pezalla - Lively Athletics
Kate and Anne Pezalla from Lively Athletics - Photo by Kristina St. Pierre
Lively Athletics Oak Park Location
Lively Athletics Oak Park Location - Photo by Danny Smith
Eric Williams - The Silver Room
Eric Williams from The Silver Room - Photo by DNA Chicago
The Silver Room Wicker Park Location
The Silver Room Wicker Park Location - Photo by Jennifer Coffey

Psychedelic Poster Design Selected to Promote Spring “First Weekend” on 53rd Street

The winning entry for the inaugural First Weekend Poster Contest has been selected, and the designer is Lilly Astrow, a third-year student from Los Angeles majoring in art history at the University of Chicago.

Astrow’s cheerful, brightly colored poster design was inspired by “psychedelic springtime,” which makes sense after surviving Chicago’s second coldest February since 1875.  The contest was open to University of Chicago students, and the winning poster will be used to promote next month’s “First Weekend” event, when 53rd Street retailers welcome UChicago students back from spring break.

“It was exciting to win this contest,” she said. “This poster was really fun to make, and I’m happy that people like the final product,” Astrow said.  

Astrow wins a $300 prize, and her design will be included in all the promotional materials for the April First Weekend event. The event takes place Friday and Saturday, April 10-11 from 6-11 p.m. on 53rd Street between Lake Park Avenue and Woodlawn Avenue. During this event, 53rd Street retailers welcome UChicago students with IDs back to school with free samples, discounts, raffles, and more.

The poster will be displayed at 53rd Street storefronts and at select UChicago campus locations.

Photo of Lilly Astrow
Photo Courtesy of Lilly Astrow
First Weekend Poster Designed by Lilly Astrow
First Weekend Poster Designed by Lilly Astrow