News about 53rd St. in Hyde Park, Chicago

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Faces of 53rd Street: Anthony Beach

by Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

Anthony Beach beams with pride as he strolls around the lobby of Hyatt Place-South/University Medical Center. It's not just because he is general manager of a property that regularly boasts high ratings and high occupancy for its 131 rooms. It's not just because the hotel has helped draw more people to the 53rd Street corridor, boosting business for the shops and restaurants surrounding Harper Court. The underlying cause for Anthony's pride is that, as a Hyde Park High School graduate who grew up in the Englewood neighborhood, he takes particular pleasure in knowing that his work contributes to the economy in his local community.

Beach started in his position before the hotel opened in 2013 and played an integral part in its opening operations, including hiring employees, obtaining licenses, and implementing Hyatt processes and training and development. The hotel has 39 full- and part-time employees, and 69 percent of them are from nearby South Side neighborhoods.

“I was the first employee. I take pride in seeing the outcome of what we are and how it began,” Beach says of his role as general manager of Hyatt Place-South.

Noted for a casually chic ambience and a lobby filled with local art, Hyatt Place-South has grown over the past two years into a cornerstone of the neighborhood, attracting travelers and locals alike. But when Anthony was growing up in Englewood, his dreams had nothing to do with hotels. “I wanted to be a cop. I wanted to be in law enforcement,” recalls the 40-year-old Beach, who has lived on the South Side his whole life.

Inspired to make a difference in the struggling community around him, he signed up for the U.S. Army Reserve and worked in chemical warfare. Taking advantage of the GI bill, he enrolled at South Suburban College with an eye towards joining the police force. He graduated from South Suburban College with an associate’s degree, but by the time he finished his bachelor’s degree at the University of Phoenix, he had also gained hotel experience at the Marriott in Oak Brook, Ill., and at the Inn of Chicago. When he landed at the legendary Palmer House hotel, he discovered that his talents might not lie in law enforcement.

“I was promoted quickly, from front desk manager to supervisor. I was progressing so quickly that I realized that I was making more and doing more than I would as a police officer,” he recalls of his 10-year career there.

Not that he gave up on helping his community. “We've partnered with Kenwood Academy High School for internships. Chicago Vocational High School sent students here to shadow us. We sponsor events. We give certificates for raffles,” Beach notes. “We try to support what we can. Our eyes are open to help.”

Indeed, whether it’s neighborhood regulars sipping coffee at the lobby cafe, or baby showers and book club meetings being held in the conference spaces, the Hyatt Place-South has become a welcoming spot for local residents. And Anthony Beach wouldn't have it any other way.

Soon-to-open Hyde Park location of Einstein Bros. Bagels to host job fair this Thursday and Friday, October 15th and 16th

The Hyde Park location of Einstein Bros. Bagels at 5230 S. Harper Court is opening in November, and to staff its open positions, is hosting a job fair this Thursday from 1-6 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
 
Open positions include Baker, Barista, Cashier, Line/Prep, Shift Leader, Assistant General Manager, and General Manager. Einstein Bros. Bagels offers competitive wages, 401(k) with company match, holiday pay, and employee discounts. Some job offers may be made on the day of the event.
 
The Hyde Park restaurant location has been designed with “exceptional service and comfort in mind – delicious food, contemporary design, technology tables, free Wi-Fi, Cable TV, and even a fireplace” according to Dee Robinson from Robinson Hill, a concession management company based in Chicago.
 
Potential applicants unable to attend the event are encouraged to submit a resume and cover letter to careers@robinsonhillusa.com or visit www.robinsonhillusa.com.

Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” television program to film at 53rd Street’s LiteHouse Whole Food Grill restaurant this Sunday

You can imagine LiteHouse Whole Food Grill owner Erik “Rico” Nance’s surprise when CNN called early this week to get his approval to visit the restaurant this Sunday, October 11, to film a “Parts Unknown” television segment with Anthony Bourdain, the respected chef, best-selling author, and multiple Emmy-winning television personality.

Located at 1373 E. 53rd Street, the LiteHouse will be featured on an upcoming Chicago episode at the suggestion of Lupe Fiasco, the well-known Chicago Grammy-nominated rap artist, record producer, and entrepreneur, who will introduce Bourdain to the restaurant’s menu of healthy salads, wraps, bowls, burritos, tacos, nachos, pizzas, and more.

CNN had sent producers to the restaurant at the end of September to look at the space, but Nance was not there at the time, so their subsequent call came as a very exciting surprise to him.

Fiasco is a long-time customer of the LiteHouse, and in addition to being a fan of their healthfully prepared food, he values the restaurant’s community-minded mission in feeding 20,000 homeless and less fortunate people since the business opened in Hyde Park nearly three years ago. Nance opened the restaurant “…with the hope of bringing healthy fast food to his community in the most wholesome way,” according to his website. He makes it a practice to hire the homeless as well as recovering drug addicts and says these individuals have been some of his best employees.

Nance “treats everyone as if they were the President,” and serves about 20-30 free meals a day to the hungry and homeless, who order from their regular menu with the rest of the customers. Customers who want to support this mission have the option to “go premium” and add $2.50 to their bill to defray the cost of the free meals.

A resident of the South Loop, Nance spent all his summers in Hyde Park with his aunt and has great affection for the area. The restaurant is closed on Saturday during the day for religious observances, and during that time he opens the space for community events including motivational speakers, spiritual yoga, a “Dance Against Violence” program, as well as family events such as weddings and baby showers. The restaurant reopens at 7 p.m., staying open until midnight.

CNN will be at the restaurant from about 9:30 a.m. until approximately 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. The LiteHouse will be open for regular business and customers and fans are welcome to come in and watch the filming as space permits. For those who want to stay longer, Nance is holding about 15 seats that can be reserved by contacting the restaurant through its Facebook and Instagram accounts.

 

 

 

 

Rajun Cajun reopens on September 17 after interior design refresh

Rajun Cajun, at 1459 E. 53rd Street, will reopen on Thursday, September 17th after a temporary closing for an interior design refresh.

Owned by Hyde Park resident Trushar Patel, Rajun Cajun has been open for business since 1993, and has been featured in Chicago magazine, the Chicago Reader, and “Chicago’s Best Food Challenges” on WGN-TV, among others. After 20+ years, Patel thought it was a good time for an interior spruce up, coinciding with the completion of the renovation of the Doerr Building, of which he is a tenant.

Rajun Cajun closed on July 3, and Patel kept his customers up-to-date on the restaurant’s Facebook page with photos of his progress during the 11 weeks of the renovation project.

Patrons will find new tables and seating, lighting, tile-work, and wood paneling, as well as a custom-designed wall mural. Rajun Cajun is so well-loved by its customers that they often send Patel postcards from all over the world, describing the menu items they miss the most, and these postcards have been incorporated into the wall mural. If you’ve sent Patel a postcard in the past few years, you might just find it as part of the design.

“I’m very happy to be reopening,” said Patel. “ I have missed all my customers, and I think they will say that the wait was worth it once they come back to see the restaurant.”

“Rajun Cajun has been offering its many customers an authentic taste of India as well as the American South for over 20 years,” said James Hennessy, associate vice president for commercial real estate operations for the University. “The new interior design is a fresh look for one of Hyde Park’s most favorite restaurants."

An official ribbon cutting ceremony is planned in the coming weeks.

 

Season finale of Harper Court Wednesday night Summer Music Series features Jose “Papo” Santiago with Bossa Tres on September 30

The University of Chicago, in collaboration with Eric Williams, owner of The Silver Room, is hosting the season finale of the open-air summer music series in the courtyard area at Harper Court at 5235 S. Harper Court just off 53rd Street.

The upcoming event is a Salsa/Brazilian Music Night on September 30, from 6-9 p.m. with Jose “Papo” Santiago and Bossa Tres. Salsa dance instruction led by Roger Noel will take place from 6-6:30 p.m., with Bossa Tres playing from 6:30-7:30 p.m., DJ Kimani Rashaad spinning from 7:30-8 p.m., and Santiago playing from 8-9 p.m.

Santiago, a native of Ponce, Puerto Rico, studied music at Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico before being recruited by bandleader Joe Rodriguez to play baritone saxophone with him in Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, and New York. Santiago moved to Chicago in the late 1980s, where even as a newcomer, he was soon recognized by the most influential local musicians in the city. He is an expert musician in Afro-Caribbean, jazz, and experimental combinations of forms. In addition to mastering the saxophone, Santiago is an accomplished flutist, vocalist, composer, and bandleader. Santiago released his CD, “Infraverde” in 2012, and the song, “Viva Chicago” became the official theme song of The Latin Street Salsa Congreso 2012.

The Bossa Tres Quintet, who will be performing in the upcoming Hyde Park Jazz Festival, includes Marcos Oliveira, Dill Costa, Bruno Alcalde, Jack Zara, and Luis Ewerling. They bring an authentic taste of Brazil to their live performances in and around Chicago and pride themselves on their heritage and ability to play songs that demonstrate the diversity and intensity of Brazilian music.

The series began with a Steppers Night on July 29 and a Jazz Night on August 26. Each event has had approximately 700 people in attendance, some even bringing candlelit picnics and outdoor furniture, similar to concertgoers at Ravinia.

“The response to the Harper Court Summer Music Series events has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Eric Williams, owner of The Silver Room. “People in the community have really been enjoying the setting in Harper Court, and we’ve seen that the venue is the perfect place to celebrate a summer night with great music, friends, and fun.”

Food and beverages will be available for purchase from Harper Court restaurants, and paid parking is available in the Harper Court parking garage, the surface lot on Harper Avenue, as well as on the street.

Harper Court is a mixed-use retail development with businesses including ULTA Beauty, VILLA, AT&T, Chipotle, Nancy Krause Floral Design and Garden Antiques, Red Mango, Native Foods, Porkchop, Ja’ Grill, the Hyatt Place Hotel, and LA Fitness, with Sir & Madame and Einstein Bros. Bagels opening in the near future.

For more information about the series, please go to http://HCmusic.splashthat.com/.

Furniture and home accessories store Modern Cooperative set to open in Hyde Park this fall

Hyde Park design enthusiasts will have reason to celebrate when Tiffany Paige and Mike Biersma open the second location of their much-loved furniture and home accessories store, Modern Cooperative, in Hyde Park in late October 2015. They “…mix the old and new, the high and low, the fun and the serious” – a promising combination for shoppers looking to decorate a dorm room, apartment, or house.

The store tagline, “Where vintage modern meets handmade,” is an apt description of Paige and Biersma’s philosophy for the store, which comes from their love of the mid-century modern design aesthetic as well as their commitment to local and handmade design.

The Hyde Park location will feature the same hand-picked combination of mid-century modern and vintage Danish furniture, modern Scandinavian-inspired home décor accessories, and art pieces from more than 75 local artists that has made their Pilsen store an award-winning shopping destination, mentioned in The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, The Boston Globe, Chicago magazine, Chicagoist, Chicago Social, and more.

The store will be located at 1500 E. 53rd Street, previously occupied by the women’s clothing boutique, Anastasia. Modern Cooperative will also include space currently occupied by Lively Athletics at 5241 S. Harper Avenue.  After opening in April 2015, Lively Athletics will now be moving across the street to 1457 E. 53rd Street, next door to the recently renovated Rajun Cajun restaurant space, a Hyde Park landmark.

Paige’s background includes photography and metal smith work at the Savannah College of Art and Design, a stint as a flight attendant, a degree in visual communications at the Illinois Institute of Art, and brand management at United Airlines, working closely with clothing designer Cynthia Rowley on a proposed uniform project – all leading to the formation of the Modern Cooperative store concept.

The original Modern Cooperative location at Thalia Hall in Pilsen has been charming locals as well as destination shoppers since its opening in 2013. The store expanded to become the one of city’s largest vintage modern boutique, and has been recognized as “Best New Home Shop” by Time Out Chicago in 2012, a winner of the Time Out Chicago “Love Chicago Awards” (South Side) in 2014, and “Best of Chicago” 2014 in Chicago magazine.

“Having lived in Pilsen for over 10 years, we have so much love for the South Side of Chicago, so opening our second location in Hyde Park simply made sense to us,” said Paige. “We’ve always loved Hyde Park for its rich history and wonderful architecture, and have a lot of customers there already. We love that the 53rd Street shopping district is energetic, culturally diverse, and comprised of so many unique and successful small businesses – and we are very honored to be part of it.“

“Home furnishings is a retail category frequently requested by the community, and Modern Cooperative is a locally-owned, independent leader in the space,” said James Hennessy, associate vice president for commercial real estate operations for the University. “The opening of Modern Cooperative will be a great resource for students, employees, local residents, and visitors – anyone looking for interesting, well-designed home décor and accessories with a story to tell – and we’re very happy to welcome them here."

And, if we’re lucky, their two adorable dogs, Joplin and Queso, will be joining them at the store.

 

Upcoming Harper Court Wednesday night Summer Music Series features the Kahil El’Zabar Quartet with Corey Wilkes on August 26

The University of Chicago, in collaboration with Eric Williams, owner of The Silver Room, will host the second event of its open-air summer music series in the courtyard at Harper Court on Wednesday, August 26, from 6-9 p.m.

The upcoming event is a Jazz Night with jazz great Kahil El’Zabar and DJ Duane Powell.

El’Zabar has played with legends such as Dizzy Gillespie, Cannonball Adderley, Stevie Wonder, Donnie Hathaway, Pharoah Sanders, Neneh Cherry, Nina Simone, Ntozake Shange, David Murray, Nona Hendryx, and Lester Bowie, to name a few, and will be performing with his quartet featuring Denis Winslett on alto saxophone, Junius Paul on bass, and Corey Wilkes on trumpet.

A native of Chicago, El’Zabar is considered by his peers to be one of the most prolific innovators of his generation, with more than 60 well-received projects, numerous international awards as a musician and composer, as well as the scoring of major feature films and theatrical productions. He holds a doctorate in Interdisciplinary Arts from Lake Forest College, and has been an Associate Professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Illinois at Chicago. He served as past chairman for the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), has been a panel member for the National Endowment of the Arts, and the National Task Force on Arts in Education.  He was named “Chicagoan of the Year” in 2006, and was knighted by the Counsel General of France, and christened as a “Chevalier Medal of Letters” in 2014.

Trumpeter Corey Wilkes, also a Chicago native, has established himself as one of the best improvising trumpeters in the modern era. Having the skill and maturity to approach mainstream repertoire of jazz standards with his own unique sensibilities, he combines them with his deep appreciation of hip-hop. Wilkes has played with jazz masters such as Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, James Moody, Kurt Elling, Von Freeman, Greg Osby, Roscoe Mitchell, Marcus Belgrave, Clark Terry, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Mulgrew Miller, and many more. It is truly an honor to have this caliber of musicians on the Harper Court stage.

The series began with a Steppers Night on Wednesday, July 29, with approximately 700 people attending, and will close with a Salsa/Brazilian Music Night on September 30, from 6-9 p.m. with Jose “Papo” Santiago and Bossa Tres.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase from Harper Court restaurants, and paid parking is available in the Harper Court parking garage, the surface lot on Harper Avenue, as well as on street.

Harper Court, located at 5235 S. Harper Court just off 53rd Street, is a mixed-use retail development with businesses including ULTA Beauty, VILLA, AT&T, Chipotle, Nancy Krause Floral Design and Garden Antiques, Red Mango, Native Foods, Porkchop, Ja’ Grill, the Hyatt Place Hotel, and LA Fitness, with Sir & Madame and Einstein Bros. Bagels opening in the near future.

For more information about the series, please go to http://HCmusic.splashthat.com/.

Chicago chalk artist to create artwork at Hyde Park Summer Sidewalk Sale on Friday and Saturday, July 24th and 25th

When most kids think about sidewalks in the summer, they think about drawing on them with sidewalk chalk, and in honor of the Hyde Park Summer Sidewalk Sale, Chicago chalk artist Amanda Paulson will be on the 1500 block of 53rd Street creating scenes of Hyde Park in chalk Saturday, July 25th from 12-4 p.m.

Paulson will be at the Courtyard Shops of Hyde Park near 55th Street and Lake Park Avenue on Friday from 12-4 p.m. She’ll be working on 4’ x 4’ panels on a rolling easel, and may be moving positions as the day progresses. To involve kids in the process, she will also have buckets of sidewalk chalk, and kids are invited to get creative alongside her on the sidewalk.

Paulson has a Painting degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has created chalk art for clients including the City of Chicago, Google, LinkedIn, PepsiCo, United Airlines, and Allstate Insurance, as well as many neighborhood festivals.

The Hyde Park Summer Sidewalk Sale includes over 30 businesses on 53rd, 55th, and 57th Streets, and takes place from Thursday through Saturday, July 23-25th, from approximately 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information about the Hyde Park Summer Sidewalk Sale, please go to https://hpsidewalk.splashthat.com/.

Hyde Park Summer Sidewalk Sale on 53rd, 55th, and 57th streets scheduled for July 23-25

A Hyde Park-wide summer sidewalk sale at businesses on 53rd, 55th, and 57th Streets begins Thursday, July 23 and runs through Saturday, July 25, from approximately 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. each day.

Over 25 businesses will be participating, including major stores such as Akira, New Balance, Walgreens, Elston Ace Hardware, VILLA Shoes, and more; independent boutiques such as The Silver Umbrella, The Silver Room, Belle Up Boutique, Anastasia, Lively Athletics, Comfort Me, and others; and Hyde Park favorites such as Bonne Sante Health Foods, Hyde Park Records, Freehling Pot & Pan Company, Wesley’s Shoe Corral, Toys et Cetera, Cornell Florist, First Aid Comics, 57th Street Books, and many more.

The University of Chicago organized the event, with each business in charge of its particular offerings, displayed on the sidewalk in front of the store. Some businesses will be offering goodie bags and samples, while others will be offering discounted merchandise. Several businesses will be offering food samples or food for sale, with Bonne Sante Health Foods offering smoothie samples and Hyde Park Produce Market selling watermelon slices on Thursday and hot dogs on Friday.

For more information about the event, go to http://HPSIDEWALK.splashthat.com/

Harper Court to host Wednesday night Summer Music Series, kicking off with DJ Herb Kent on July 29

The University of Chicago, in collaboration with Eric Williams, owner of The Silver Room, is hosting an open-air summer music series in the courtyard area at Harper Court at 5235 S. Harper Court just off 53rd Street, with three events scheduled for July 29, August 30, and September 30.

The series begins with a Steppers Night on Wednesday, July 29, from 6-9 p.m., hosted by radio legend Herb Kent (The Cool Gent) and DJ Calvin Haynes. Haynes will spin records while Swan provides dance instruction from 6-7:30 p.m. Wallace E. Goode, Jr., president of the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, will present Kent, a graduate of Hyde Park High School, with a key to Hyde Park in honor of his 70+ year long radio career and many other accomplishments at 7:30 p.m. Kent will close the event by spinning his favorite “dusties” from 7:40-9 p.m.

The second event is a Jazz Night on Wednesday, August 26, from 6-9 p.m., with jazz great Kahil El’Zabar and DJ Duane Powell. El’Zabar has played with legends such as Dizzy Gillespie, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, and more, and will be bringing his band with Denis Winslett on alto saxophone, Junius Paul on bass, and Corey Wilkes on trumpet.

The series closes with a Salsa/Brazilian Music Night on September 30, from 6-9 p.m. with Jose “Papo” Santiago and Bossa Tres. Salsa dance instruction led by Roger Noel will take place from 6-6:30 p.m., with Bossa Tres playing from 6:30-7:30 p.m., DJ Kimani Rashaad spinning from 7:30-8 p.m., and Santiago playing from 8-9 p.m.

Since launching The Silver Room on Hyde Park’s 53rd Street in April 2015, Williams has proven to be an inspired creative resource for the neighborhood, and the organization of the summer music series in conjunction with the University of Chicago has been a great opportunity to combine his passion for music with his community event planning skills.

“The 53rd Street area, particularly at Harper Court, has become an epicenter for retail and dining activity, and the courtyard area is a great place for the community to come together, as we’ve seen with the Farmers Market,” said James Hennessy, associate vice president for commercial real estate operations for the University. “The Harper Court Summer Music Series is a new way for the neighborhood to come together and enjoy this vibrant space, and we’re very excited about it.”

“A big part of my store is the event aspect,” said Eric Williams, owner of The Silver Room,“ and I’m really happy to be able to partner with the University to curate these three events for the community. Harper Court is a wonderful resource, and I can’t wait for music lovers and dancers to fully experience it.”

Food and beverages will be available for purchase from Harper Court restaurants, and paid parking is available in the Harper Court parking garage, the surface lot on Harper Avenue, as well as on street.

Harper Court is a mixed-use retail development with businesses including ULTA Beauty, VILLA, AT&T, Chipotle, Nancy Krause Floral Design and Garden Antiques, Red Mango, Native Foods, Porkchop, Ja’ Grill, the Hyatt Place Hotel, and LA Fitness, with Sir & Madame and Einstein Bros. Bagels opening in the near future.

For more information about the series, please go to http://HCmusic.splashthat.com/.

 

New pet boutique, Sprocket & Stone, to open on 53rd Street on July 22

Hyde Park resident, artist, and animal lover Sophie Phillips is set to open her new pet boutique, Sprocket & Stone, A Paw Shop! on July 22 at 1013 E. 53rd Street between Ellis and Greenwood Avenues.

The store will carry healthy dog and cat food and treats; all natural shampoos, conditioners, and supplements; designer-made collars and leashes; toys; a small gift section for pet lovers; and custom pet collages created by Ms. Phillips. The store will feature brands such as Orijen, Acana, Pure Vita, Primal, Fromm, Stella & Chewy’s, and more, with an emphasis on small businesses and products made in America.

Ms. Phillips was born and raised in Brussels, Belgium, and pets have always been an important part of her life—at various times she’s had cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, and horses. Ms. Phillips, her husband, Brian, and their 11-year-old son, Miles, currently share their home with three cats  (Alley, Arthur, and Cutie) and two dogs (Sprocket and Stone).

We spoke with Ms. Phillips to learn more about her background and plans for Sprocket & Stone:

You’re originally from Belgium – how did Hyde Park become home for you?

I moved to New York in 2001, met my husband, Brian, who is from the South Side of Chicago, and together we moved to Hyde Park from Brooklyn. We wanted to be part of a community that still had a small neighborhood feel, is close to the lake, and most importantly, diverse. We love Hyde Park; it is a beautiful neighborhood with so much to offer, and our 11-year-old son currently attends Ray School.

How did you decide to open a pet boutique?

When we adopted our first dog, Sprocket, we completely fell head over heels for him and invested a lot of time in researching different training methods and nutrition programs. I wanted to share our knowledge and passion with other pet “parents,” so I founded Premier Pet Concierge, offering dog walking and cat sitting services to approximately 30 clients in Hyde Park, Kenwood, Woodlawn, and Bronzeville.

Over the past three years, I’ve built a loyal clientele and really involved myself into the field, helping clients with nutrition advice, vet referrals, and anything related to the wellbeing of their fur kids. One dog led to another, and Stone became the newest addition to our four-legged family – both dogs were my inspiration to start Sprocket & Stone. I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for over 20 years, was brought up by a family of small business owners, and I’ve always been a people person and an entrepreneur at heart – combining these skills with my passion for animals led to the concept of Sprocket & Stone, A Paw Shop!

How did you select Hyde Park as the location for your business?

I visited two locations in Hyde Park, and as soon as I stepped into the second location, I felt it in my heart that that was it—it was the perfect size, the energy felt great, and I was inspired right away. My plan is to do a soft opening first, with a grand opening in September.

Our community is growing and changing. Sprocket & Stone will be more than just another pet store; it will be a destination. I will continue to provide outstanding pet care services, along with healthy dog and cat delicacies, cool gear and accessories, and a small art and gift section in a fun, friendly and welcoming environment – all here in the heart of beautiful Hyde Park.

What can you tell us about your logo?

The goal of the logo was to incorporate my dogs and to use the American and Chicago flag colors and style in the design. I also wanted something that was pet-related but cool enough to really stand out as the image of a retail boutique with a bit of vintage character. The name, “A Paw Shop,” was a play on words from “pawn shop.” The decor will reflect the logo, with an eclectic mix of vintage, wood, metal, and recycled materials.

What can you tell us about your custom pet art?

I create customized, one-of-a-kind pieces available to order, and the process starts with the selection of various clippings and inspiring quotes from magazines according to color, shape, and size, which are then applied to a high-quality gesso board to create totally unique, vibrant, and funky pet artwork. Each collage is then protected by a liquid glass resin that gives it depth and texture.

Business hours are planned to be 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday, and 12-5 p.m. on Sunday. You can reach Sprocket & Stone at www.sprocketandstone.com, https://www.facebook.com/sprocketandstonechicago, and @sprocketandstone on Instagram.

Hyde Park Taco Station to open in former Ribs ‘N Bibs Space

If you’ve walked past the former Ribs ‘N Bibs location at 5300 S. Dorchester Avenue since Sunday, you may have noticed construction activity and the “coming soon” signs in the window for the planned new restaurant, Hyde Park Taco Station.

Owned by Chicagoan Edgar Vasquez, the new restaurant is anticipated to open in mid-September.

Vasquez has an extensive hospitality background, having worked for many years with the Chicago Four Seasons Hotel as a personal valet for stars such as Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, Meg Ryan, and Geena Davis, and bands such as Fleetwood Mac, the Scorpions, and others.

He worked with Slick Design in Chicago, designing and opening the former N9ne Steakhouse and ghostbar in the West Loop as well as several restaurants and bars in Milwaukee. Vasquez was also the managing partner and designer for Moonshine in Wicker Park and the former Forno Diablo in Lincoln Park. In Hyde Park, Vasquez was involved in the design and launch of Harper Court’s Ja’ Grill with Tony Coates.

Hyde Park Taco Station is envisioned as Mexican fast gourmet street food made from farm-fresh ingredients, with superior customer service and attention to detail. The restaurant will launch with BYOB service, and a liquor license is anticipated in summer 2016.

Vasquez chose Hyde Park as the location for his restaurant because he felt it has “…a great sense of energy. People in Hyde Park are friendly, approachable, and excited, and I couldn’t be more happy to be a part of the community.”

Sir & Madame boutique returns to Hyde Park with permanent location

It’s a happy homecoming for Hyde Park natives Brian and Autumn Merritt, opening a permanent location of their clothing and accessories boutique Sir & Madame, at 5225 S. Harper Court on August 17, 2015 – it’s also great news for area shoppers who gravitate to their “classic with a twist” design aesthetic.

Hyde Parkers may remember Sir & Madame’s temporary pop-up location at 1504 E. 53rd Street – the store opened in September 2013 in the space now occupied by Belle Up Boutique. Sir & Madame’s “urban sophisticate” offerings were enthusiastically received by the Hyde Park community, and the Merritts said they hoped to open a permanent location once their Ukrainian Village lease ended.

The couple first met as students at Ray Elementary, attended Kenwood Academy together, and now they’re back in the neighborhood with the opening of Sir & Madame in the Harper Court development, next door to Nancy Krause Floral Design & Garden Antiques. When their pop-up store opened, Ms. Merritt explained, “We're all about Hyde Park. We're back on the block…We grew up walking 53rd Street. When we were teenagers, it was the place to be—where all the cool people were. All of that was sort of lost until now, and we want to be a part of bringing that back…We definitely see Hyde Park as a viable market, and I think everyone here can appreciate well-made clothes and accessories “

“We always knew that Sir & Madame was a great fit for Hyde Park and with the 53rd Street area increasingly becoming known as a vibrant shopping and dining destination, we could not be happier to welcome them back,” said James Hennessy, associate vice president for commercial real estate operations for the University. “It’s a great benefit to the Hyde Park community when a pop-up shop owner experiences the vitality and charm of the neighborhood and decides to make the area a permanent home for his or her business."

The Promontory starts lunch service on Monday, July 6

Diners in Hyde Park will have a new midday restaurant option when The Promontory starts its new lunch service on Monday, July 6.

In addition to its existing dinner and weekend brunch hours, The Promontory will serve lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Chef de Cuisine Matt Sliwinski has developed a “hearth charred lunch” menu including options such as a fried chicken sandwich with challah bun, house made buttermilk ranch dressing, turmeric pickle relish, and smoked bacon; a vegetarian sandwich with crispy potato masala, creamed spinach, maitake mushroom, cashews, and LaClare chèvre; and even multigrain French toast with strawberry royale, chocolate cremeaux, malted mint whipped cream, and toasted hazelnut for those who want a breakfast-for-lunch treat.

“53rd Street has been established as a true dining destination,” said James Hennessy, associate vice president for commercial real estate operations for the University. “We’re very pleased that The Promontory’s new lunch service will provide residents, visitors, and local employees with even more options for a quality lunch experience in the community."

Since opening in July 2014, The Promontory has an earned a loyal following for the restaurant as well as its innovative cocktail program and music venue, with mentions and awards from Chicago magazine, Chicagoist, Chicago Reader, Chicago Tribune Metromix, Eater Chicago, Imbibe magazine, Thrillist, Timeout Chicago, and more.

The Promontory is located at 5311 S. Lake Park Avenue West. For reservations, call 312-801-2100.

Ten Hyde Park restaurants to participate in June 9 Dinner Crawl

The Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce Dinner Crawl takes place on Tuesday, June 9.

The annual event features 10 local restaurants including A10 Hyde Park, Chant, Clarke’s Diner, Ja’ Grill, Kilwins, Mellow Yellow Restaurant, Native Foods, Porkchop, Rajun Cajun, and ZBerry Frozen Yogurt & Treats.

The crawl begins at 5:30 pm. starting from The Silver Room, and continues until 9 p.m.

Tickets are $35 each, or $25 when purchased online by June 8 at www.hydeparkchamberchicago.org/crawl.