News about 53rd St. in Hyde Park, Chicago

First Thursday

Hyde Park’s October 5th “First Thursday” event includes 56 local businesses

This week’s “First Thursday” event includes a record number of Hyde Park businesses, with 56 local restaurants, shops, health and beauty establishments, and entertainment venues participating on October 5. “First Thursday” takes place on 53rd, 55th, and 57th Streets (and some surrounding streets) from 5-8 p.m.

Seven newly opened, reopened, or relocated businesses taking part in the event for the first time include Aloha Poke Co., B’Gabs Goodies, ETO’O Modern Asian Cuisine, Litehouse Whole Food Grill, Nella Pizza e Pasta, Orangetheory Fitness, and the Threading & Waxing Salon.

Event goers will find a range of offerings, including free samples (McDonald’s and Native Foods), BOGO offers (Leona’s, Mellow Yellow, and Nando’s PERi-PERi), free weeks of fitness memberships (Core Power Yoga and LA Fitness), beer or wine tastings (Kimbark Beverage Shoppe and 57th Street Wines), gifts or free food items with purchase (Café 53, Dearborn Denim & Apparel, Insomnia Cookies, Nella Pizza e Pasta, NoteworthyNotes, Powell’s Books, Target Express, Whole Foods Market), discounts ranging from 10 percent to 50 percent at 30 or more businesses, and $5 movie tickets at the Harper Theater.

Some businesses will offer specials all day or until their closing times.  For a full list of participating businesses and details visit

The November 2 “First Thursday” event will be the last one in the 2017 season, which runs from May to November. Organized by the University of Chicago Real Estate Operations group in cooperation with Downtown Hyde Park, the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, and the South East Chicago Commission, “First Thursday” is a community event designed to bring shoppers and diners to Hyde Park to discover new and existing businesses, enjoy a variety of specials and deals, and have fun exploring the neighborhood with their friends and families.

Participating businesses and offer types include:


Dining Offers

53rd Street Area

McDonalds – 5200 S. Lake Park Avenue

A10 Hyde Park – 1462 E. 53rd Street

Aloha Poke Co. – 5221 S. Harper Court

Ancien Cycles & Café (also see Shopping) – 1558 E. 53rd Street

Bonne Sante Health Foods (also see Shopping) – 1512 E. 53rd Street

Café 53 – 1369 E. 53rd Street

ET’O Modern Asian Cuisine – 1373 E. 53rd Street

Fabiana’s Bakery – 1658 E. 53rd Street

Kilwins – 5226 S. Harper Avenue

Leona’s – 1236 E. 53rd Street

Mellow Yellow – 1508 E. 53rd Street

Mikkey’s Retro Grill – 5319 S. Hyde Park Boulevard

Nando’s PERi-PERi – 1447 E. 53rd Street

Native Foods – 1518 E. Harper Court

Pockets – 1307 E. 53rd Street

Porkchop (also see Drinking) – 1516 E. Harper Court

Rajun Cajun – 1459 E. 53rd Street

Roti Modern Mediterranean – 1526 E. 53rd Street

The Sit Down Café & Sushi Bar – 1312 E. 53rd Street

Target Express – 1346 E. 53rd Street

55th Street Area

Bergstein’s NY Deli – 1164 E. 55th Street

Insomnia Cookies – 1105 E. 55th Street

Litehouse Whole Food Grill – 1660 E. 55th Street

Nella Pizza e Pasta – 1125 E. 55th Street

57th Street Area

B’ Gabs Goodies – 1450 E. 57th Street

Cemitas Puebla – 1321 E. 57th Street

Noodles, Etc. – 1333 E. 57th Street


Shopping Offers

53rd Street Area

Whole Foods Market – 5118 S. Lake Park Avenue

Akira – 1539 E. 53rd Street

Ancien Cycles & Café (also see Dining) – 1558 E. 53rd Street

Bonne Sante Health Foods (also see Dining) – 1512 E. 53rd Street

Dearborn Denim & Apparel – 1504 E. 53rd Street

Hyde Park Produce Market – 1226 E. 53rd Street

Hyde Park Records – 1377 E. 53rd Street

Jojayden – 1457 E. 53rd Street

Kilimanjaro International – 1305 E. 53rd Street

Modern Cooperative – 1500 E. 53rd Street

NoteworthyNotes – 5231 S. Harper Court

Pearle Vision – 1200 E. 53rd Street

The Silver Room – 1506 E. 53rd Street

The Silver Umbrella – 5305 S. Hyde Park Boulevard

Sir & Madame – 5225 S. Harper Court

Sprocket & Stone – 1013 E. 53rd Street

55th Street Area

First Aid Comics – 1617 E. 55th Street

Gilda’s Designer Thrift Boutique – 1703 E. 55th Street

57th Street Area

57th Street Books – 1301 E. 57th Street

Powell’s Books – 1501 E. 57th Street


Drinking Offers

53rd Street Area

Chant – 1509 E. 53rd Street

Ja’ Grill – 1510 E. 53rd Street

Kimbark Beverage Shoppe – 1214 E. 53rd Street

Porkchop (also see Dining) – 1516 E. Harper Court

The Promontory – 5311 S. Lake Park Avenue

55th Street Area

Seven Ten Lanes – 1055 E. 55th Street

57th Street Area

57th Street Wines – 1448 E. 57th Street


Fitness/Beauty Offers

53rd Street Area

Core Power Yoga – 1539 E. 53rd Street, 2nd Floor

LA Fitness – 5224 S. Lake Park Avenue

Orangetheory Fitness – 1503 E. Hyde Park Boulevard

Threading & Waxing Salon – 1648 E. 53rd Street


Entertainment Offers

53rd Street Area

Harper Theater – 5238 S. Harper Avenue

Polsky Center Fab Lab to participate in September “First Thursday” event with 3D printer demos

53rd Street’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fab Lab will participate in the upcoming September 7 “First Thursday” community event, with free 3D printer demonstrations from 5 – 8 p.m.

The Fab Lab will staff a pop-up location at The Silver Room, at 1506 E. 53rd Street, and will offer participants the opportunity to make a free light-up card using circuit stickers. Experience with 3D printing is not necessary.

“We enjoyed meeting our neighbors and demonstrating 3D printing during the July event,” said Elizabeth Koprucki, Assistant Director of the Fab Lab. “We are looking forward to more 3D printer demos and a make-and-take light-up card activity in September.”

The University of Chicago’s Polsky Center promotes the creation of new ventures and commercial partnerships. The Fab Lab is part of the center’s Polsky Exchange, a hub on 53rd Street that provides a range of resources to entrepreneurs from the University of Chicago and the surrounding community.

In addition to hosting the Polsky Center pop-up event table, The Silver Room will offer 15 percent off all purchases when you mention “First Thursday.”

The First Thursday event brings together 40+ local shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues on 53rd, 55th, 57th, and the surrounding streets – all offering discounts, deals, and special giveaways for shoppers.

For more information on the event and a full list of participating businesses and offers, visit

First Thursday 2017 season kicks off on May 4 with 40+ participating businesses

The 2017 season of Hyde Park’s “First Thursday” event kicks off on Thursday, May 4, from 5-8 p.m. with more than 40 retailers, restaurants and other businesses offering discounts, raffles, refreshments, special menu items, and more.

The event, which features businesses from S. Lake Park Avenue, 53rd, 55th, and 57th Streets and the surrounding commercial streets, is back for its second year and includes Hyde Park newcomers such as Nando’s PERi-PERi, Roti Modern Mediterranean, Target, and Whole Foods Market.

The full list of participating businesses and offers can be found on the event website – S. Lake Park Avenue/53rd Street area highlights include free frozen slushie samples (approx. 4 oz.) at McDonald’s; a free 2 oz. scoop of gelato at Whole Foods Market; one free Starbucks Grande (16 oz.) beverage at Target Express with receipt from $20 store purchase from 5-8 p.m.; $6 classic, strawberry, and peach margaritas at Chant; a free can of soda and bag of chips with any oven-baked sandwich at Café 53; two weeks of free yoga to anyone who registers for classes that night at Core Power Yoga; an $11 savings on two movie tickets, popcorn, and sodas at the Harper Theater; a $200 savings on apartment move-in fees at Hyde Park Property Management; a $7 island cocktail at Ja’ Grill; a “First Thursday” Happy Hour from 4-7 p.m. at Kimbark Beverage Shoppe for those 21 and over as well as a promo code to save $10 on tickets to the June 3 & 4 Hyde Park Brew Fest (use the code “FIRSTTHURS” on May 4 ONLY at the event website); a free week’s pass at LA Fitness; BOGO coupon at Nando’s PERi-PERi; a mini peanut butter parfait sample at Native Foods; $200 off a complete pair of glasses (and cocktails!) at Pearle Vision; and $150 savings on apartment administration fees at Vue53. Businesses offering discounts include A10 Hyde Park, Akira, Ancien Cycles & Café, Bonne Sante Health Foods, Hyde Park Produce Market, Hyde Park Records, Jojayden, Kilwins, Leona’s, Mikkey’s Retro Grill, Modern Cooperative, NoteworthyNotes, Pockets, Porkchop, The Promontory, Rajun Cajun, Roti Modern Mediterranean, The Silver Room, The Silver UmbrellaSir & Madame, Sprocket & Stone, Zberry, and Yusho.

Offers from 55th Street business include a junior sandwich and side for $5 at Bergstein’s Deli, a free 8-oz. Metropolis coffee at Dollop Coffee Co. with the purchase of any food item, a 15% discount if you correctly answer a trivia question at First Aid comics,15% off your entire purchase at Gilda's Designer Thrift Boutique; and free nail grinding for dogs and cats, free freshly baked grain-free blueberry and banana dog cookies, $5 off coupon for next grooming appointment and custom dog tag when a grooming appointment is booked during event, free glass of red or white wine from 57th Street Wines, and a shot for the pups of Mr. Grumples doggie protein shakes at Parker's Pet Spa & Boutique.

On 57th Street, offers include a wine tasting at 57th Street Wines; a free “mystery book” with purchase at 57th Street Books; free chips & salsa vouchers at Cemitas Puebla; and discounts at Medici Bakery & Delicatessen; Noodles, Etc.; and Powell’s Books Chicago.

All offers are one per person, while supplies last from 5-8 p.m. on May 4, with the mention of “First Thursday.” Several businesses such as Chant and Roti Modern Mediterranean will offer discounts all day long.

“Downtown Hyde Park has a great mix of local, independent businesses combined with popular national chains,” said James Hennessy, associate vice president for commercial real estate operations for the University. “The First Thursday events are an excellent opportunity for people to visit their favorite businesses for discounts and explore new businesses, as well.”

If you are a local Hyde Park business owner and would like to participate in the event, please contact Amy Srodon at

Visit the event website and Facebook page.

Monthly “First Thursday” Event Will Begin in Hyde Park on April 7

On April 7, the Hyde Park Vitality Committee will launch “First Thursday” – a monthly community event designed to add more fun and extended hours to the shopping and dining experience in Hyde Park. Events will be scheduled for the first Thursday of every month from April-December 2016, from 6-9 p.m.

More than 40 businesses from 53rd, 55th, and 57th Streets and the surrounding commercial streets will participate in First Thursdays, with some offering extended hours and parking vouchers as well as discounts, raffles, refreshments, special menu items, and more. The city’s tourism association, Choose Chicago, will also be involved in the event, and will station local residents as “Insta-Greeters” for impromptu guided tours of Hyde Park at Ancien Cycles & Café, 1558 E. 53rd Street, beginning in May and running through December.

The Hyde Park Vitality Committee says the goal is for First Thursday to become an anticipated night out for Hyde Parkers as well as those who might be new to Hyde Park. The committee is a partnership that includes Downtown Hyde Park, the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, the Nichols Park Advisory Council, the South East Chicago Commission (SECC), and the University of Chicago.

“Hyde Park is a special place, with a variety of shops and restaurants to cater to many tastes,” said James Hennessy, associate vice president for commercial real estate operations for the University. “New businesses are continuously opening, and First Thursday will provide an occasion for people to visit their favorite businesses, learn about new ones, and have a fun night out with their family and friends.”

Some of the more creative offers already planned for First Thursday include free Pumpkin Spiced Lattes for dogs at Sprocket & Stone (1013 E. 53rd Street), a fun run and gong meditation session at New Balance and Chaturanga Holistic Fitness (5500 S. Lake Park Avenue), free “surprise” books at 57th Street Books (1301 E. 57th Street), and much more.

Participating businesses to date include A10 Hyde Park, Akira, Ancien Cycles & Café, Bergstein’s NY Deli, Café 53, Chant, Chaturanga Holistic Fitness, Chipotle, Comfort Me, Elston Ace Hardware, Einstein Bros. Bagels, 57th Street Books, First Aid Comics, H&R Block, Hyde Park Produce, Ja’ Grill, Kilwins, LA Fitness, Kimbark Beverage Shoppe, Leona’s, Litehouse Whole Food Grill, Medici on 57th, Mikkey’s Retro Grill, Modern Cooperative, Native Foods, New Balance, NoteworthyNotes, PACKED: dumplings reimagined, Pearle Vision, Pockets Hyde Park & Kingoberry Frozen Yogurt, Porkchop, Powell's Books, Rajun Cajun, The Revival, The Silver Room, Sir & Madame, The Sit Down Café & Sushi Bar, Sprocket & Stone Pet Boutique, Toys Etcetera, Wesley’s Shoe Corral, Yusho, and ZBerry Frozen Yogurt, with more being added daily.

Hyde Park business owners who would like to participate in First Thursday can contact Amy Williams at

Visit the First Thursday website and Facebook page.