News about 53rd St. in Hyde Park, Chicago

Ja' Grill

Shop and celebrate local – Hyde Park businesses turn up the romance for Valentine’s Day

Hyde Parkers who want to stay close to home for Valentine’s Day shopping and celebrating will have lots of options on 53rd Street to make it a holiday to remember for their sweethearts.

CARDS/GIFTS/CANDY

Kilwinshas a wide assortment of candy and chocolates perfect for gift-giving. Valentine’s Day specials include chocolate-dipped long stem strawberries – six for $30 and 12 for $55 in milk, dark, or white chocolate. 5226 S. Harper Avenue.

NoteworthyNotesin addition to a selection of Valentine’s Day cards, NoteworthyNotes also has great gift options for everyone on your list, including cookies, socks, books, pillows, candles, and more. The store also offers same-day printing on select personalized items – even if you’ve waited till the last minute, you can look extra thoughtful with a monogrammed cocktail shaker, travel mug, journal, stationery, and more. Personalization is also available with more notice on pens, flashlights, phone cases, and clipboards. 5231 S. Harper Court.

Modern Cooperative look to Modern Cooperative for a selection of unique jewelry and cards for your honey. 1500 E. 53rd Street.

The Silver Room – with a great collection of jewelry, records, t-shirts, backpacks, hats, and sunglasses, you’re sure to find something special for your Valentine. Or consider a gift certificate for The Silver Room’s in-store massage therapist. 1506 E. 53rd Street.

Jojayden – if your beau or male sweetheart has an eye for fashion, you’ll want to check out Jojayden’s custom-made suits and shoes, and accessories including watches, cufflinks, bracelets, belts, socks, and more. 1457 E. 53rd Street.

Sir & Madame – shop for “classic with a twist” clothing, shoes, and accessories from the store’s namesake clothing label. 5225 S. Harper Court.

Freehling Pot and Pan Co. – keep the little ones busy and come home with delicious cupcakes at Freehling Pot and Pan’s free Valentine's Cupcake Decorating Workshop on Saturday, February 11 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. The workshop is for children aged 5 and up accompanied by an adult, with all materials provided. 1365 E. 53rd Street.

DINING

A10 – is offering a Valentine’s Day a la carte menu or Couples Bar Special ($35 for half bottle of Champagne and choice of two snacks). The menu includes a choice of Clam Chowder or Fritto Misto and special dinners for two – “Lady and the Tramp” Squid Ink Bucatini for $30, Whole Roasted Branzino for $45, or 22-ounce Bone-In Ribeye with Lobster and Sweet Potato Hash and Truffle Béarnaise for $65. Specials are available from Friday through Tuesday, February 10-14. Call 773-288-1010 for reservations. 1462 E. 53rd Street.

Chantstop by for a before or after dinner drink on Valentine’s Day. The restaurant is offering drink specials including a PAMA Belvedere Martini for $6.00, a glass of Mark West Pinot Noir for $6.00, and a glass Moet & Chandon Imperial Champagne for $8.00, along with a complimentary long-stem tuxedo strawberry dessert. Specials are available from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on February 14. 1509 E. 53rd Street.

Ja’ Grillget the night started with Ja’ Grill’s complimentary rum tasting from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday night, featuring Captain Morgan rums. Guest Host Jeremy Geiger will be sampling Cannon Blast and Loconut rum. Be sure to try the $7 Classic Daiquiri made with Captain Morgan Cannon Blast. All customers with reservations that night will receive a bottle of select bottle of wine or sparkling wine (per couple). 1510 E. Harper Court.

Porkchop – offering a special Valentine’s Day menu for $33 per person, including the choice of any appetizer, soup or salad, and 14 different entrées; along with a deep-fried brownie dessert. Entrée options include Southern Fried Chicken, Slow Smoked BBQ Chicken, Blackened Catfish Filet, burgers, ribs, and more. The menu is available from Friday through Tuesday, February 10-14. 1516 E. Harper Court.

The Promontoryenjoy a romantic dinner and a show at The Promontory on Tuesday, February 14. The second floor concert hall will host the “Valentine’s Day Love and Laughter” concert featuring R&B vocalist Michel’le, along with Just Nesh, Da Wild Cat, BLT, and Gemini Porter, while the first-floor restaurant will offer two prix fixe dining specials. Executive chef Andrew Graves will offer two tasting menus with tailored options:

  • 5:30 p.m. Seating - For lovebirds looking to attend the Michel’e concert at 7 p.m., Graves has created a three-course menu with dessert to go for $45. Offerings include Hearth Grilled Asparagus, Boneless Lamb Loin for two, and Pomegranate-Macadamia Cupcakes guests can take upstairs with them to enjoy during the concert. A package ticket including dinner and the concert is also available for $85 per person.
  • 7:30 p.m. Seating - This expanded five-course tasting menu includes two additional courses, including Capital Oysters on the half shell and salmon and mussels with celery root, mustard, confit potato, and tarragon butter. The dinner costs $65 per person with an optional wine pairing available for an additional $25.  

The Promontory will not offer the regular menu or accept walk-ins on February 14; reservations can be made here. 5311 S. Lake Park Avenue.

Yusho – offering a special “Lover's Meal” for $25 per person, featuring an Octopus Takoyaki Steam Bun, BBQ Brisket Ramen, Miso Chocolate Brownie, and a glass of Cava. A Shrimp Skewer ($5) or Lobster Tail ($10) are available as additional options. The special menu is available from Friday through Tuesday, February 10-14. Visit Yusho for your Valentine's Day meal and receive a complimentary Matcha-dusted chocolate to share with your special someone. 1301 E. 53rd Street.

ACTIVITIES

If you and your sweetie like to work out together, Core Power Yoga is hosting special Couples Yoga classes for Valentine's Day. Come by Friday, February 10 for a 6 p.m. class; Saturday, February 11 for a 10:30 a.m. class; or Wednesday, February 15 at 6 a.m. for an "Old Soul Flow" class. If you're both R&B fans stop in for special classes on Sunday, February 12 at 9:30 a.m. or Wednesday, February 15 at 6 p.m. Drop in rate is $25 per person or $22 for UChicago students, faculty, and staff. 1539 E. 53rd Street, Suite 2N.

Hyde Park businesses give Valentine’s Day couples a reason to celebrate

With Valentine’s Day next Sunday, February 14 – it’s the perfect time to start planning your gifts and celebrations. There will be no lack of romance in Hyde Park with several restaurants, stores, and entertainment venues offering special menus, gifts, and events for couples (and singles!) looking for a memorable holiday and night on the town.

Dining

For couples wanting to celebrate throughout the entire weekend, A10 Hyde Park at 1462 E. 53rd Street, The Promontory at 5311 S. Lake Park Avenue, Chant at 1509 E. 53rd Street, and Porkchop at 1516 E. Harper Court are all offering special menus and events from Friday, February 12, through Sunday, February 14.

A10 is offering a three-course tasting menu with optional wine pairing, a couple’s bar special, and beverage and brunch specials. The tasting menu is $65 per person with an optional $30 wine pairing and the bar special is $50 per couple with a half bottle of Champagne and choice of snacks. Call 773-288-1010 for reservations.

The Promontory has planned a three-course tasting menu for $45 per person with grilled oysters, strip steak, and chocolate dacquoise dessert. Their special “Cocktail for 2” features fresh strawberries, cream de cacao, vodka, fresh lemon, and sparkling wine for $14. Call 312-801-2100 for reservations.

Chant is featuring a 28-ounce double-cut, heart-shaped rib-eye steak with grilled asparagus, mashed potatoes and Béarnaise sauce, with one complimentary lava cake for $35 per person. After dinner from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m., stay and enjoy music by the Chester McSwain Jazz Band on Friday, February 12; and DJ Night House Music on Saturday, February 13.  Call 773-324-1999 for reservations.

Porkchop has created a special Valentine’s Day menu with your choice of appetizer, soup or salad, entrée, and deep-fried brownie dessert for $33 per person. For any singles dining alone, Porkchop is offering 50% off all regularly priced menu items, not including the Valentine’s Day menu. Call 773-493-9333 for reservations.

Ja’ Grill, at 1510 E. Harper Court, is celebrating all day long on Sunday, with a 50% discount on bottles of wine before 5 p.m. After 5 p.m., couples will receive a free bottle of Champagne or wine with entrée orders. For those dining solo after 5 p.m., Ja’ Grill will treat you to a free glass of Champagne, wine, or beer. Click here for more information.

Gifts

Kilwins, at 5226 S. Harper Avenue, is the perfect destination for all your Valentine’s Day sweets. Stop by for chocolate-dipped strawberries, gift baskets, boxed chocolates, chocolate hearts and truffles, and fudge. Shoppers who spend more than $50 will receive a coupon for a complimentary half-pound of fudge on their next visit with purchase, valid from February 15-29.

NoteworthyNotes, at 5231 S. Harper Court, is offering one free greeting card with any three cards purchased in February, as well as a raffle for a gallon container of delicious cookies valued at $40 – the winner will be selected on February 13. Stop in now to order their many items ready for personalization for a truly unique gift, or for procrastinators, the store will be open on Valentine’s Day from 12-5 p.m.

Entertainment

The new Hyde Park improv comedy club, The Revival, at 1160 E. 55th Street, is presenting “Love Is...” – a night of stand up comedy, games and music. “Couples will laugh and singles will mingle! Join your host, Doc Love, and four of Chicago's best comics for a night to remember!” The performance takes place on Sunday, February 14, at 7 p.m. Tickets $10 or $5 with student ID, and can be ordered by phone at 866-811-4111 or online here. If you’re celebrating on Friday or Saturday, The Revival has shows those nights as well – click here for the full calendar of events.

The Silver Room, at 1506 E. 53rd Street, is hosting SoulSessions, a live music open jam, with "no cover and no covers" on Sunday, February 14, from 7-10 p.m.

Don’t miss the Party Noire Valentine’s Day party at The Promontory on Friday, February 14, from 12-6 p.m. with a $10 cover charge. Tickets for the party are available here.

53rd Street and Harper Court restaurants offering New Year’s Eve events

Hyde Park will not be lacking in festive celebration options this New Year’s Eve, with special events planned by The Promontory, Porkchop, Ja’ Grill, and A10.

The Promontory, at 5311 S. Lake Park Avenue, is hosting musical guests Phli Life and Premo with a top shelf open bar from 8:30-11:30 p.m., passed hors d'oeuvres from 9-10 p.m., a complimentary Champagne toast, live entertainment, balloon drop, confetti cannon, well-known Chicago DJs, and other surprises. General admission tickets are $75, and VIP packages for groups of four and eight people are also available. Buy tickets here. For more information about VIP packages please email eldridge@promontorychicago.com.

Porkchop, at 1516 E. Harper Court, is hosting the Motown New Year’s Eve party with an all-star tribute to greats including the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, and more. The ticket price includes passed BBQ appetizers, late night kitchen menu, live music, and midnight whiskey or Champagne toast, as well as an open bar with wine, beer and liquor for all ticketed guests. Buy tickets here.

Ja’ Grill, at 1510 E. Harper Court, is offering a complimentary bottle of Champagne or wine per couple, with entree order. A special guest DJ will be spinning the best of reggae, dance hall, hip-hop, R&B, house, and electronic dance music from 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Click here for more information.

A10 Hyde Park, at 1462 E. 53rd Street, has planned a special three-course dinner for $65 per person with optional wine pairings at an additional charge of $25. First course options include Truffled Lyonnaise Salad with 60 Minute Egg or Burrata with Meyer Lemon, Fennel Cracker, and Caviar; main course options include Seafood Cioppino with Atlantic Cod, Littleneck Clams, and Lobster Sausage or Braised Lamb Goulash with Mustard Dumpling and Dill; and a dessert course with Spiced Black Walnut Cake with Roasted Heirloom Apple or Zabaglione Soft Serve with Cranberry. A pasta course at a supplemental charge of $15 is available, with options including Squid Ink Campanelle with Crab or Truffled Ricotta Pansotti With Brown Butter, Sage, and Shaved Squash. Click here for more information.

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.”

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.

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.

New Location Brings Ja' Grill Closer to Familiar Customers

By Rachel Wasielewski

Ja’ Grill, the Jamaican restaurant that opened quietly in Harper Court last month, may be new to Hyde Park but not necessarily to Hyde Parkers. Before the restaurant relocated from Lincoln Park, about 30-40% of its customers were from the South Side, said owner Tony Coates.

Coates noted that he was “thrilled at the chance to be closer” to loyal customers and “to build a state of the art restaurant from scratch.” Ja’ Grill is the latest restaurant to open in a burgeoning food corridor in the redeveloped Harper Court, alongside Porkchop, Native Foods, Red Mango, and Chipotle.

Because the new location was specifically designed for Ja’ Grill, the setup is quite different from the previous location.  In the center of the restaurant is one large communal table, with regular-sized tables on one side and the bar on the other.  While there is no formal lounge area, the restaurant’s bar is twice as large as the one in the previous location and Coates believes the bar area and communal table will naturally operate as a lounge.

Aside from the different layout, some things about Ja’ Grill remain the same—the fun and festive environment and the expectation for an authentic Jamaican experience. Ja’ Grill’s motto remains "authentic cuisine, spirits, and beats." Specialties include jerk chicken ($12-$14), curry goat ($18), ox tail ($18), “vegan” Ital Stew ($15), and the whole red snapper eschoveitch (market price), where, yes, you get the entire fish. Prices range from $3 for the coco bread appetizer, to the market-priced whole red snapper; the majority of entrees are between $11 and $20.

Ja’ Grill’s drink menu still includes a variety of rums, such as Ja’ rum punch, a customer favorite, along with many Caribbean drinks and martinis. The restaurant features Jamaican music on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with DJs spinning reggae and dancehall during dinner hours through closing.  

Ja’ Grill’s kitchen is open Sunday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The bar will stay open later.