News about 53rd St. in Hyde Park, Chicago

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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.

 

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.

Chicago magazine names the Promontory “…the South Side’s go-to place for jazz, blues, and soul”

Chicago magazine recently highlighted 53rd Street’s restaurant and club, the Promontory, in its article, “How Hyde Park Got Its Groove Back.” The 600-seat music space is selling out on a weekly basis, with local talent such as soul singer Otis Clay and the South Side Big Band jazz ensemble.

Read the article at http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/March-2015/How-Hyde-Park-Got-Its-Groove-Back/

DNA Chicago reports The Silver Room coming to 53rd Street

DNAInfo Chicago recently profiled Eric Williams, owner of The Silver Room, who will be moving his Wicker Park store to 53rd Street in Hyde Park at the end of March. Similar to its original location, The Silver Room in Hyde Park will feature jewelry and clothing as well as an art gallery, and “will bring (Williams) closer to his sister and 100-year-old grandmother who live together on the South Side.” Williams said, “Right now the University of Chicago neighborhood is making a push for diversity in retail. I feel like my energy is needed there.”

Read the article at http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150303/wicker-park/silver-room-leaving-wicker-for-hyde-park-says-hood-no-longer-respects-art

53rd Street Shops Are Ready for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is on Saturday, February 14, and restaurants and retail stores on 53rd Street are offering a variety of specials and gift options to help couples celebrate in Hyde Park. Here is a list of some of the offerings.

A10, 1466 E. 53rd Street – Three-course special dinner menu for $65/person. For reservations call 773-288-1010.

Anastasia, 1500 E. 53rd Street – Many new designs in stock, with emphasis on unique dresses.

Chant, 1509 E. 53rd Street – Three-course, shared “Lovers Portion” dinner menu for $65/couple with live music from 8-11 p.m. by the Contraband Latin Jazz Band. For reservations call 773-324-1999.

Ja’ Grill, 1510 E. Harper Court – Free bottle of wine or Champagne per couple with the purchase of two dinner entrées. For reservations call 773-752-5375.

Kilwins, 5226 S. Harper Avenue – Chocolate covered strawberries at $28/pound, boxed Valentine’s candy at $23.95 and up, Valentine’s gift baskets at $39.95 and up, and one free ½ pound of fudge when you purchase one pound.

Meadowlark, 1457 E. 53rd Street – Pound jewelry with natural crystals and stones, French silk scarves, handmade scented soaps, and hand-sewn clothing by Edamilla Dry Goods.

Nancy Krause Floral Design & Garden Antiques, 5229 S. Harper Court – Roses, tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and fresh lilacs; many flown in for the day. Pre-made arrangements will also be available, ranging from $50-$80. All deliveries must be called in no later than Thursday, Feb. 12 to 773-241-7777.

Porkchop, 1516 E. Harper Court – Three-course dinner menu for $33 as well as cocktail specials. For reservations call 773-493-9333.

The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Avenue West – Four-course tasting menu with 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. seatings for $65/person; vegetarian version available. Sommelier-selected wine pairings can be added to each course for $35/person (plus tax and gratuity). Reservations can be made at 312-801-2100 and must be held with a credit card. After dinner, soul legends Norman Connors, Michael Henderson, and Jean Carne will perform upstairs, with show times at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Tickets are available online.

Windy City LIVE visits 53rd Street

Windy City LIVE was recently in Hyde Park visiting favorite local businesses, both well-established and new, and the segment airs today, Monday, Feb. 9 at 11 a.m. on ABC-7.

The Windy City LIVE team, with contributor Ji Suk Yi, highlights 53rd Street area merchants including Meadowlark, (1457 E. 53rd St.), Valois,  (1518 E. 53rd St.), A10 (1466 E. 53rd St.), and The Promontory, (5311 S. Lake Park Ave. West). They also stopped by the DuSable Museum of African American History (740 E. 56th Place), 57th Street Books (1301 E. 57th St.), the Woodlawn Tap (1172 E. 55th St.), and Amy’s Candy Bar (1546 E. 55th St.).

If you miss the live show, past episodes can be viewed here.

Yusho Hyde Park now open for lunch; new Sunday Noodles menu

The groundhog may have predicted six more weeks of winter, but Yusho Hyde Park, at 1301 E. 53rd Street, gives the neighborhood a new reason to celebrate.

Due to popular demand, Yusho Hyde Park will now be open Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m., with GrubHub delivery available during these times as well.

Chef and owner Matthias Merges said, “So many of our customers have requested that we offer lunch service, and we’re very happy to make that happen now. Yusho Hyde Park is the perfect place for lunch, dinner, or an afternoon snack.”

Additionally, as of Feb. 1, Yusho Hyde Park is offering a special Sunday Noodles menu from 12-8 p.m. every Sunday. Diners can select a bowl of noodles from four different choices (Logan Poser Ramen, Veggie Ramen, BBQ Chicken Ramen, and Mentaiko Carbonara), a draft cocktail, and soft serve dessert for $20 per person. Additional menu items are available to order.

Celebrate Chicago Restaurant Week in Hyde Park

Sponsored by the Choose Chicago tourism organization, the 8th Annual Chicago Restaurant Week takes place from Jan. 30 – Feb. 12, 2015. Diners will enjoy multi-course specialty prix fixe menus at more than 250 Chicago restaurants, priced at $22 for lunch and $33 and/or $44 for dinner (excluding beverages, tax, and gratuity).

This year, two of the participating restaurants are from Hyde Park – Matthias Merges’ A10, located at 1466 E. 53rd Street and Jovanis Bouargoub’s Porkchop, located at 1516 E. Harper Court. Both restaurateurs were recently profiled in the Chicago Tribune for their contributions to the burgeoning dining scene on the South Side. A10 was also listed as one of dining critic Phil Vettel’s top picks for Restaurant Week.

A10 will be offering a $44 three-course dinner menu. Porkchop will be offering a $22 two-course lunch menu and a $33 three-course dinner menu. For reservations, diners can contact A10 at 773-288-1010 and Porkchop at 773-493-9333.

53rd Street and CIE included in Next City profile of UChicago’s civic engagement work

Online urban affairs magazine Next City posted an article this week that profiles the University of Chicago’s Vice President for Civic Engagement Derek Douglas and includes the Chicago Innovation Exchange and other recent developments on 53rd Street as part of the University’s work to help improve the South Side and the city of Chicago.
 
Read the article at http://nextcity.org/features/view/university-of-chicago-south-side-derek-douglas-office-civic-engagement

 

53rd Street area merchants offer “First Weekend” fun and discounts to UChicago students, Jan. 9 and 10

Hyde Park’s 53rd Street is expected to be bustling with activity this weekend, as more than two dozen merchants in the retail corridor welcome University of Chicago students back from winter break with a First Weekend event on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 9 and 10, from 6 - 11 p.m.

Organized as part of the University’s UChicago Local initiative to support businesses on the mid-South Side, the event includes nine stores, 16 restaurants, and seven other local businesses – each offering special happenings, discounts, samples, or raffles for students who show their valid UChicago ID.

Some of the event highlights for students include the Harper Theater’s (5238 S. Harper Ave.) free midnight showings of Caddyshack, the Promontory’s (5311 S. Lake Park Ave. West) “Polar Bear Party” and raffle for De La Soul concert tickets, and the raffle for three months of free laundry service from Kimbark Coin Laundry (1218 E. 53rd St.). In addition, the Doughnut Vault food truck will be parked in front of Nichols Park (1355 E. 53rd St.) both nights, selling its popular treats. The UChicago Police Field Office (1411 E. 53rd St.) will be giving away water bottles and cinch bags for students registering a bicycle or laptop computer on Friday night until 8 p.m.

Formerly known as “First Friday,” 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 feedback from previous events. UChicago will offer increased shuttle service between 53rd Street and the main Hyde Park campus both nights.

“Several new businesses, including short-term pop-up shops, have opened on 53rd Street since the beginning of the current academic year,” said James M. Hennessy, associate vice president for commercial real estate operations for the University. “The First Weekend event is an opportunity to introduce or reacquaint UChicago students with the wide array of shopping, dining and entertainment options on the street, while supporting local retailers.”

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

Holiday party at Anastasia Thursday night; other holiday offers on 53rd Street

Pop-up clothing boutique Anastasia, at 1500 E. 53rd Street, will host a free holiday party for customers on Thursday, December 11, from 5-9 p.m. Owner and designer Anastasia Chatzka has organized a festive night for customers to celebrate the holidays and personally meet the designers whose pieces are sold in the store in addition to her own clothing line. The store will offer refreshments, discounts of 20-50% on selected items, and a chance to win a pair of handmade mittens.

A variety of other retailers on the street are also offering special holiday deals through the end of December:

  • The Red Balloon - The children’s store located at 1504 53rd Street is offering cozy holiday story times every Tuesday morning at 10:30 a.m. Owner Jennifer Pope has planned complimentary fun activities for children, including making gingerbread houses and decorating "Love You" letters.
  • Meadowlark - Located at 1457 E. 53rd Street, the store carries an artfully curated collection of vintage clothing. Through the holidays, owner Kelly Asaf is offering a 15% discount on all clothing purchases. The store is now carrying Pound jewelry, hand-made with crystals and stones, and through January 1st, shoppers will receive a $10 discount on their Pound jewelry purchase.
  • Kilwins - Santa will make special appearances at Kilwins two weekends – this Saturday and Sunday, December 13 and 14, and next Saturday and Sunday, December 20 and 21 from 3-6 p.m. both weeks.  Kilwins is located at 5226 S. Harper Avenue, and owner Jackie Jackson is also offering free hot chocolate, fudge samples, and coloring books while supplies last. Shoppers purchasing one pound of fudge will receive one half pound free of charge.

A10’s Matthias Merges recognized for community work

Award-winning chef Matthias Merges, owner of 53rd Street’s A10 and Yusho restaurants, was recently recognized in Food & Wine magazine for his decade-long involvement with the Cook County Jail “to operate an inmate-run vegetable garden that supplies produce to local homeless shelters, nonprofits and fine-dining restaurants in the Chicago area.”

As part of the Cook County Sheriff’s Pre-Release Center program, which assists inmates in creating productive lives for themselves after prison as well as dealing with substance abuse issues, the garden is “a way for us to give back to the community,” Merges said. Inmates can become certified Master Gardeners, and Merges has even hired several graduates of the program to work in his restaurants.

Read the full article in Food & Wine.

Harper Court garage offers free parking for holidays; now accessible to northbound traffic

Shoppers looking for deals along 53rd Street this holiday season can find one even before visiting a store: two hours of free parking at the Harper Court parking garage.

Beginning on Black Friday, Nov. 28, and running through Dec. 31, everyone who parks in the garage will automatically receive the first two hours free. Regular parking rates, which are the same as metered street parking, will apply after two hours.

The University of Chicago is working with operator LAZ Parking to provide the deal as an added convenience for shoppers visiting local retailers. The garage has more than 200 indoor public parking spaces.

“Many local businesses at Harper Court and surrounding locations are preparing to kick off the holiday shopping season this weekend with special promotions for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday,” said James Hennessy, associate vice president for commercial real estate operations for the University. “Free parking will help shoppers take full advantage of local deals.”

The garage entrance is on the west side of Lake Park Avenue, north of 53rd Street, and is now accessible to both northbound and southbound traffic. A construction project to modify the median to enable northbound drivers to turn left into the garage was completed last week ahead of schedule.

 

A10 Receives Michelin Guide Honor

By Lilian Huang

53rd Street is now home to a Michelin Guide-award-winning restaurant: A10.

Chef Matthias Merges' venture into Italian and French cuisine has received multiple positive reviews since opening in November 2013. Now the Michelin Guide, which annually publishes a popular listing of restaurant recommendations for travelers, has named A10 one of its Bib Gourmand recipients for 2015.

The Bib Gourmand is awarded to restaurants that offer exceptional value, or, in the words of the Michelin Guide, “restaurants that serve two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less” while maintaining high quality.

A10, located at 1462 E. 53rd St., is one of 59 Chicago restaurants included on the 2015 Bib Gourmand list. It is also only the second restaurant in Hyde Park to be recognized by Michelin. French restaurant La Petite Folie, at 1504 E. 55th Street, has also been recommended by the guide.

New pop-up shops coming to 53rd Street

Three new pop-up shops are set to open on 53rd Street early next month, becoming the latest addition to Hyde Park’s burgeoning shopping, dining and entertainment district. Home goods purveyor Neighborly, handmade-fashions boutique Anastasia, and vintage retailer Meadowlark are all scheduled to open on November 7 and remain open through the upcoming holiday shopping season.

The temporary stores are part of an ongoing effort for apparel and home goods retailers to test their concepts in Hyde Park while giving local residents new choices and a variety of shopping options. Other recent pop-ups have included apparel boutiques Independence and Sir & Madame, children’s apparel retailer Red Balloon, and women’s apparel store Comfort Me Boutique. Comfort Me, which opened in August 2013, has proven popular among local shoppers and has signed a long-term lease to remain in the neighborhood.

“I love this neighborhood because it is very close-knit and has that feeling that everybody knows everybody,” said Bethany Thomas, who manages the Hyde Park Comfort Me. “I am getting really good feedback about my product and what the shopper here likes.”

If the latest pop-ups are successful, they might stay longer too. The stores are:

  • Anastasia, 1500 E. 53rd St., is a Ukranian Village-based fashion boutique headed by designer Anastasia Chatzka. It is known for offering avant-garde garments on the forefront of fashion. Its pop-up shop in Hyde Park will stock select handmade soft goods.
  • Meadowlark, 1457 E. 53rd Street, is a community-oriented shop with a main branch in Humboldt Park, featuring a carefully edited selection of vintage clothing for men and women, as well as works by local artists and designers. The pop-up store will feature modern-feeling vintage, including wool sweaters, silk shirts, fine wool coats, and scarves for cold days.
  • Neighborly, originally based in Lincoln Square, will go into the space at 1506 E. 53rd St., most recently occupied by Independence. It is a one-stop shop for locally sourced home goods, including furniture, vintage kitchenware, and modern artwork. The Hyde Park pop-up will carry a similar but carefully curated inventory, offering seasonally appropriate goods to South Siders seeking stylish, modern home accessories. The store is currently seeking a retail assistant.

“The pop-up shops are one strategy to bring in the kinds of retail options the local community has told us they want to see, in addition to the restaurants and other amenities we’ve had great success in attracting to the area,” said James Hennessy, associate vice president for commercial real estate operations for the University of Chicago, which has been partnering with the city and local community to revitalize the 53rd Street corridor. “So far, each of these temporary stores has stayed longer than they originally planned because they have been even more successful than they expected.”

The University is working with its leasing agent, McCaffery Interests, to identify both temporary, pop-up retailers for 53rd Street and long-term tenants.