News about 53rd St. in Hyde Park, Chicago

UChicago Local to host Hyde Park Hiring Fair on Tuesday, August 1, from 12- 4 p.m. at Harper Court

Several new restaurants and shops are slated to open in Hyde Park in the coming months, and they will be looking for workers.

UChicago Local, in partnership with 4th Ward Alderman Sophia King and 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston, will host a local hiring fair on Tuesday, August 1, from 12-4 p.m. at Harper Court, 5235 S. Harper Court, in the 11th Floor Conference Center.

Candidates will meet hiring representatives from Akira, Aloha Poké Co., Bergstein's NY Delicatessen, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Nella Pizza e Pasta, The Promontory, Té Amo Boba Bar, Treasure Island Foods, Vanille Patisserie, and other Hyde Park businesses.

The businesses are interested in workers with a variety of experience levels for retail/cashier, restaurant (front and back of house), administrative, and management positions.

“Staffing locally is a great way for businesses to truly become a part of the Hyde Park community, and this hiring event will be an opportunity for the many restaurants and shops to connect with talented candidates,” said Alyssa Berman-Cutler, director of Community Economic Development Initiatives in the University of Chicago’s Office of Civic Engagement.

Benjamin Rogers, manager at The Promontory, agrees. “We feel fortunate to have such a great local talent base and look forward to meeting more candidates to keep up with our growing hiring demand,” he said.

Job applicants who attend the event will receive validation for two hours of free parking at the Harper Court parking garage. The entrance is on S. Lake Park Avenue just south of McDonald’s. (A fee will be charged for more than two hours.)

Harper Court is also conveniently located near public transportation (Metra Electric to the 53rd Street Station or the 192 CTA bus). Street parking is also available.

For more information and to RSVP to the event, go to www.jobsinhydepark.com

Hyde Park Hiring Fair Graphic
Hyde Park Hiring Fair Graphic

53rd Street entrepreneur uses men’s fashion store to help South Side boys “G.R.O.O.M.,” build confidence

Reported by Patricia Andrews-Keenan

Just over a year ago, Wale Nubi opened Jojayden on 53rd Street to sell custom-made shoes and clothes for men interested in fashion, style and quality. Nowadays, he uses his stately Hyde Park storefront shop to do much more.

Late last year, Nubi, a former IT consultant who began his retail business as a “side hustle,” teamed up with the leader of a fledgling nonprofit that focuses on helping young men develop self-esteem and confidence, in part, through etiquette, dress and appearance.

“I saw that kids on the South Side were often discriminated against because of how they dressed,” said Nubi.  “No one was telling them about the right way to present themselves to avoid negative encounters, especially with the police, and they often didn’t have role models to help them distinguish right from wrong.” 

Nubi, a father of two young sons, knew he wanted to do something to support youth of color both in Hyde Park, and across the city. He found a kindred spirit in Carlos Duncan, who—influenced by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s call to action for citizens to actively engage in mentoring programs—had started a program called “From Gents to Gentlemen” a year earlier. In December 2016, Duncan formed the G.R.O.O.M. Mentoring Group to operate his program, and Nubi joined the organization’s board.

Earlier this year the pair led 10 boys ages 11-18 through a seven-week program, teaching them basic grooming skills such as how to tie a tie, as well as social skills and character-defining habits like looking a person in the eye while offering a firm handshake, keeping their heads up, walking with integrity, being prepared and managing their time, and always using proper manners. They also taught the youth about designing shoes. The mentoring group meets at Jojayden, 1457 E. 53rd Street.

“Meeting Wale opened things up for us to be able offer the program to more kids and help them hone some of those skills,” said Duncan, who met Nubi through a mutual friend who knew of both men’s interest in mentoring youth. Prior to offering the seven-week program at Jojayden, Duncan shared his insights with youth in one-hour, one-time presentations at schools or through other programs.

The vision for G.R.O.O.M.—which stands for “Getting Results Out Of Me”—is to reduce the stigma placed on young African-American males by “grooming them into productive citizens” who are prepared to restore their communities and cities.  Duncan and Nubi want to help more young men see how they can positively reflect what they are on the inside by how they present themselves on the outside. 

Upon completion of the program each student received a custom suit from Jojayden. 

“Many of these young people have never worn a suit, much less a custom-tailored one,” Nubi said while working with the youth earlier this year.

One of those young people was 16-year-old Devinar Billingslea, who participated in the program along with his 11-year-old brother, Demarco.  In addition to getting his first suit, Devinar said he was excited about the different people he met through the program, including professionals who spoke to the students.

“I am more confident because of the program. I learned how to be myself and stand up for myself,” said Billingslea, who added that he needed a male figure in his life and that he is now pushing his friends to get involved with G.R.O.O.M.

Billingslea’s mother, Fatima, said she can see a difference in both of her sons’ confidence levels and that they are no longer afraid to speak in public. “They come home excited about the program,” she said. “I’m so glad they were able to participate.” 

To help pay for the new suits and to give the students a chance to show off what they learned, Nubi and Duncan co-hosted a fundraiser at Jojayden in March called “Walk in a Gent’s Shoes.” They coached the boys in designing shoes from scratch, and some of their shoes sold for upwards of $300 per pair during the fundraiser.

Nubi and Duncan envision the ripple effects of positive change the G.R.O.O.M. program can have. They hope to expand their reach to 1,000 students by the end of 2017 by working within Chicago Public Schools. G.R.O.O.M. is also partnering with an organization called Lipstick Saints to bring some of the lessons it teaches to girls.

At the end of the program this spring, students participated in a graduation event and received awards. The top three awards: the Engaged Gent Award for exception participation, the Sir Award for showing good manners, and the Intelligent Award for academic excellence.

Duncan, the father of a teenage son and an adult daughter, cites his life experiences and lessons learned in barbershops, churches and other important institutions in African American communities, as the guiding force behind G.R.O.O.M. He says the main thing he wants youth who go through the program to understand is that “daily discipline plus good decisions equal a better life.”

The next session of the program at Jojayden will begin this fall.

Wale Nubi, owner of Jojayden of 53rd Street in Hyde Park, with a student.
Wale Nubi, owner of Jojayden, measures a From Gents to Gentlemen participant, for a suit.
Carlos Duncan, founder of G.R.O.O.M, speaks to students.
G.R.O.O.M. founder Carlos Duncan speaks to a group of students.

30 Businesses to Participate in Hyde Park Summer Sidewalk Sale This Thursday through Saturday, July 13-15

Thirty local businesses in the retail corridors surrounding  53rd, 55th, and 57th Streets will participate in the Hyde Park Summer Sidewalk Sale this Thursday through Saturday, July 13-15, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Participating businesses will offer a variety of discounts and deals for customers. Some businesses will have tables outside their stores, and some will hold indoor sidewalk sales, depending on their location and type of merchandise.

The Saturday date of the Sidewalk Sale coincides with The Silver Room Sound System Block Party, taking place from 12-10 p.m., so shoppers will also be able to enjoy live music and other performances on 53rd Street.

Participating 53rd Street and surrounding area businesses include The Silver Umbrella, LA Fitness, Ancien Cycles & Café, Akira, Core Power Yoga, NoteworthyNotes, Sir & Madame, Porkchop, Bonne Sante Health Foods, Dearborn Denim & Apparel, Kilwins, Modern Cooperative, Jojayden, Hyde Park Records, Zberry, Freehling Pot & Pan Co., The Sit Down Café & Sushi Bar, Pockets, Kilimanjaro International, Hyde Park Property Management, Kimbark Laundry, and Pearle Vision.

Participating 55th Street and surrounding area businesses include Hyde Park Florist, Gilda’s Designer Resale Boutique, First Aid Comics, Elston Ace Hardware, Toys et Cetera, Wesley’s Shoe Corral, and Bergstein’s Deli.

On 57th Street,  Cemitas Puebla will participate.

Hyde Park Property Management, located at 5316 S. Dorchester Avenue, will be hosting the Doughnut Vault Food Truck on Saturday, July 13, from 8:30-11:00 a.m. Complimentary doughnuts and coffee will be provided while supplies last,  and customers can take advantage of waived move-in fees with the signing of an apartment lease – a savings of $400.

The Hyde Park Summer Sidewalk Sale is sponsored by the University of Chicago Commercial Real Estate Operations (CREO), Downtown Hyde Park, and the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce.

“The Hyde Park Summer Sidewalk Sale is an excellent way for local businesses to connect with current and new customers while offering enticing savings at the same time,” said Wallace E. Goode, Executive Director of the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce.

For the full list of participating businesses, go to www.hpsidewalk.com

Hyde Park Summer Sidewalk Sale Graphic
Hyde Park Summer Sidewalk Sale Graphic

Yusho Hyde Park Closing

After nearly three years on 53rd Street, Yusho Hyde Park served its last meal on Saturday, July 1.

Award-winning chef and restaurateur Matthias Merges, who also owns A10 at 1462 E. 53rd Street, is closing the location to focus on the Michelin-rated A10 as well as new ventures. Merges’ Hyde Park restaurants were among the first to open as part of the redevelopment of 53rd Street, an effort led by the University of Chicago in partnership with the city, local community and private entities.

Merges opened the Hyde Park location of his yakitori-inspired concept in September 2014.

“Matthias Merges has been a great partner in helping to make 53rd Street a destination for dining, and we wish him continued success,” said James Hennessy, the University’s associate vice president for commercial real estate operations. “The University is seeking a new restaurant tenant for the space at 1301 E. 53rd Street, and we hope to bring a new concept to the neighborhood later this year.”

“After a great run in a neighborhood we love, we are closing Yusho Hyde Park to concentrate our efforts on the Michelin award-winning A10 and our new upcoming projects,” said Chef and Proprietor Matthias Merges. “We are grateful for the opportunity Yusho provided in the vibrant and historic community of Hyde Park and we will continue to provide great hospitality and cuisine to all of our A10 neighbors.”

Eric Williams, owner of The Silver Room, named as 2018 Harvard Graduate School of Design Loeb Fellow

The Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Design recently named Eric Williams, owner of The Silver Room on 53rd Street, one of nine members of its 2018 class of “midcareer practitioners whose work has influenced the built and natural environment.” The fellowship consists of a year of independent study at Harvard.

Since relocating The Silver Room to Hyde Park at 1506 E. 53rd Street in 2015, Williams has partnered with the University of Chicago to bring several activities and spaces to Hyde Park, including the Harper Court Summer Music Series, kicking off with Poi Dog Pondering on Wednesday, June 28; the CONNECT Hyde Park Art Festival, recently named “Best Public Art Event” by the Chicago Reader; the CONNECT Gallery at 1520 S. Harper Court, now exhibiting “100 Canvases;” the upcoming 14th Downtown Hyde Park /Sound System Block Party on July 15; and other projects in the works.

The Silver Room will continue to operate during Williams’ fellowship.

“It’s been a great asset to have The Silver Room as one of 53rd Street’s most vibrant businesses,” said James Hennessy, associate vice president for commercial real estate operations for the University. “Eric Williams is a respected creative force in the community, and we’ve been honored to collaborate with him on a number of projects."

In making the announcement, the LOEBlog noted, “Eric Williams is the founder of the Silver Room on the South Side of Chicago, for 20 years an influential retail and community art hub in the city. The Silver Room Sound System Block Party attracted more than 15,000 attendees in 2016, and the three-day CONNECT Hyde Park Arts Festival, a collaboration with the University of Chicago, activated empty storefronts with pop-up art exhibits organized by some of Chicago's leading curators. During his Loeb Fellowship Williams will focus on strategies for replicating the Silver Room model nationally and methods for measuring the social and economic impact of arts entrepreneurship.”

The year-long Loeb Fellowship program has been in existence since 1971, offering participants the opportunity to “…strengthen their ability to advance positive social outcomes and to make the world a better place for all.”

Williams found out about the program through his longtime friend, Emmanuel Pratt, a 2017 Loeb Fellow, and executive director of Chicago’s Sweet Water Foundation – teaching kids how to grow sustainable businesses through urban agriculture and other programs. Participants in Pratt’s foundation built displays for use in The Silver Room, learning construction and interpersonal skills in the process. Based on Pratt’s recommendation, Williams was asked to speak at Harvard this past fall on alternative models of retail, and he was then invited to apply to the program.

Williams starts class on August 22, and will be eligible to audit any class at Harvard or MIT. He plans to focus on leadership and business courses as well as urban planning and looks forward to connecting with the students and professors. Williams will share housing with several of the other Fellows, and they will meet weekly to discuss their coursework and future plans.

This will be a big change for Williams, who was last in school nearly 25 years ago as a finance major at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “I’m really excited about the opportunity to continue my education, and to take a step back, reflect, and plan the next phase of my career,” he said.

It will be business as usual at The Silver Room, with Jenny Stites as manager, and Carter Dorsey as weekend assistant manager, with Williams working remotely and coming back to Chicago on a monthly basis to check in at the store and spend time with his daughter. Williams’ longtime business associate, Rob McKay, will continue to manage the CONNECT art gallery.

 

Eric Williams at The Silver Room - photo courtesy of Eric Williams

Harper Court Summer Music Series back for third year, kicking off with Poi Dog Pondering on Wednesday, June 28, from 6-9 p.m.

The University of Chicago, in collaboration with Eric Williams, owner of The Silver Room, presents the third year of free, open-air summer concerts with the Harper Court Summer Music Series – starting in just three weeks. Located in the courtyard area at 5235 S. Harper Court off 53rd Street, the series includes three concerts scheduled for the last Wednesdays of June, July, and August – June 28, July 26, and August 30.

The music series will begin with the inventive and eclectic band, Poi Dog Pondering, on Wednesday, June 28, from 6-9 p.m. The show will open with DJ Lady D and House-O-Matics. Led by Frank Orrall and featuring 15+ band members, Poi Dog Pondering has been playing for 30+ years, incorporating orchestral arrangements and aspects of electronic, house, and soul music in their acoustic rock style.

The second concert will feature Res with DJ Joe Kollege, on Wednesday, July 26, from 6-9 p.m. Res’ musical style is a blend of indie pop, soul, and rock, and her third studio album, “Reset,” was released in late 2016.

The series will close with jazz great Dee Alexander, winner of NPR’s 2014 “Best Jazz Vocal” award, with DJ Duane Powell on Wednesday, August 30, from 6-9 p.m.

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, and on the street.

Harper Court is a mixed-use retail development with businesses including AT&T, Chipotle, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Hyatt Place Hotel, Ja’ Grill, Native Foods, LA Fitness, NoteworthyNotes, Porkchop, Roti Modern Mediterranean, Sir & Madame, ULTA Beauty, and VILLA  – with new businesses Aloha Poke Co. and Vanille Patisserie scheduled to open in mid-summer.

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

Harper Court Summer Music Series Poster

Hyde Park Farmers Market to feature more live music, children’s musicians in 2017 season

The 2017 Hyde Park Farmers Market will kick off at Harper Court on Thursday, June 1, at 7 a.m., with a full schedule of live music each week through October 26. Children’s musicians, a popular feature last year, are scheduled the first Thursday of each month, with two performers in August.

Live music starts at 8 a.m., and will run until the market closes at 1 p.m. The market is located on Harper Court, just off 53rd Street, between Chipotle Mexican Grill and Valois Cafeteria.

The caliber of musicians is impressive, with notables scheduled for June such as Isaiah Collier, a tenor saxophonist who has performed at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival; Phil Passen, a hammered dulcimer player; Kat Best, cellist; JD Kostyk, guitarist; Darius Hampton, saxophonist, composer, and educator; Kielbasa & Kimchi, flute/piano duo with Carol Jaryzna and Simmon Yoon; Kolleen Blume, fiddle; Aaron Smith, banjo; and George Urgo, blues guitarist.

The Hyde Park Farmers Market added music in 2016. The experiment generated a lot of interest from shoppers and passersby, particularly children and their caregivers.

Eric Reaves, Program Manager of the South East Chicago Commission and Director of the Hyde Park Farmers Market commented, “The addition of live music has been a great asset to the farmers market – both vendors and shoppers alike have all commented favorably on the quality of the performers. We look forward to the 2017 season and invite everyone to come out and experience it for themselves!”

This year, children’s musicians will play from 9:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., and include Jeanie B! (June 1), Laura Doherty (July 6), Anne-Marie Akin (August 3), Laura Doherty (August 10), Anne-Marie Akin (September 7), and Duke Otherwise (October 5).

Jeanie B!, scheduled for June 1, prompted Time Out Chicago to write, “Jeanie B!’s music is the one of the best things to happen to children in Chicago this decade!” Her original music has won multiple awards from Parent’s Choice and Billboard Magazine. She is an artist in residence for Ravinia’s “Reach, Teach and Play” program and teaches music at several area preschools.

Laura Doherty, scheduled for July 6 and August 10, is a nationally-touring children’s recording artist with four award-winning albums. She was the director of the Old Town School of Folk Music’s Wiggleworms program for more than a decade, and she has performed at Ravinia, Lollapalooza, and many other venues and festivals across the country.

Anne-Marie Akin, scheduled for August 3 and September 7, is a singer, songwriter, musician, storyteller, and an instructor with the Old Town School of Folk Music’s Wiggleworms program. She pioneered a Chicago Public School preschool music program on Chicago’s West Side, and co-leads the Wiggleworms in Residence program in the Lawndale neighborhood.

Duke Otherwise, scheduled for October 5, is a Madison, Wisconsin-based musician who plays nearly 150 shows a year throughout the Midwest and beyond. According to his website, his “energetic live show is filled with improvisation, audience participation, dancing, and outrageous fun!”

The full June musician schedule includes:

Thursday, June 1

8-9:30 a.m. – Isiaiah Collier (saxophone)

9:45-11:15 a.m. – Jeanie B! (children’s musician)

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Phil Passen (dulcimer)

Thursday, June 8

8-9:30 a.m. – Kat Best (cello)

9:45-11:15 a.m. – JD Kostyk (guitar)

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Darius Hampton (saxophone)

Thursday, June 15

8-9:30 a.m. – Kielbasa & Kimchi (flute & piano)

9:45-11:15 a.m. – Kolleen Blume (fiddle)

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. – George Urgo (blues guitar)

Thursday, June 22

8-9:30 a.m. – Aaron Smith (banjo)

9:45-11:15 a.m. – Kat Best (cello)

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Darius Hampton (saxophone)

Thursday, June 29

8-9:30 a.m. – Isiaiah Collier (saxophone)

9:45-11:15 a.m. – JD Kostyk (guitar)

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. – George Urgo (blues guitar)

 

To learn more about the Hyde Park Farmers Market, visit the market’s Facebook page.

 

Jeanie B! from Jeanie B! Music, photo courtesy of the artist
Laura Doherty, photo courtesy of the artist
Anne-Marie Akin, photo courtesy of the Daily Herald
Duke Otherwise, photo courtesy of the artist

Chicago’s Dearborn Denim & Apparel to open first-ever retail store in Hyde Park on May 20

Rob McMillan, a resident of the South Loop and founder of Dearborn Denim & Apparel, will open the online retailer’s first-ever brick-and-mortar store in Hyde Park at 1504 E. 53rd Street on May 20, in between Modern Cooperative and The Silver Room.

The opening of the store is part of the University of Chicago’s effort to bring new retailers to 53rd Street – particularly soft goods and apparel – creating a diverse mix of local and national retailers, as mentioned by participants in recent community focus groups.

At a time when “shop local” and “made in America” are becoming increasingly important to conscientious shoppers, Dearborn Denim & Apparel is a rarity – offering denim jeans for men and women designed and manufactured at the company’s factory in the Garfield Park neighborhood.

The jeans are made from premium stretch denim loomed in Georgia from West Texas long staple cotton, and sewn by Dearborn’s local Chicago staff of 15 employees. McMillan sells directly to customers.

In announcing the new Hyde Park store, McMillan said, “This is a major development for Dearborn Denim & Apparel – until this point we’ve primarily been selling our jeans online, but our new store will allow customers to try on all the different fits and washes – experiencing the quality first-hand before making a purchase. Hyde Park is a great community, and we’re excited to become a part of it."

In speaking with McMillan, we learned that the concept for Dearborn Denim & Apparel, officially started in 2016, came when McMillan, formerly a Chicago Board of Trade bond trader, heard his wife Katy’s complaints that the expensive jeans she was buying would start sagging midday, and become unwearable after several washes. McMillan was intrigued, and recounted, “OK, what if we started making jeans in Chicago, what would that look like? So I started researching denim online, visiting apparel manufacturers, and developing a plan. When we realized we could get a great pair of jeans out the door at a reasonable price, made in Chicago, I said, I want those and I bet other people would too."

 “Dearborn Denim & Apparel offers a unique concept that can become a destination for shoppers from Hyde Park as well as throughout the city,” said James Hennessy, associate vice president for commercial real estate operations for the University. “This is truly a ‘shop small/shop local’ business, and we’re honored to have their flagship location in Hyde Park."

The store is an important new addition to 53rd Street, establishing a strong apparel presence with existing businesses such as Sir & Madame, The Silver Room, Akira, and  Jojayden.

Dearborn Denim & Apparel offers five different fits for men and women (tailored, skinny high-rise, slim, straight leg, and relaxed) in dark wash, medium wash, black at prices ranging from $59 to $65.  Khakis, shorts, and tops for women will be coming soon.

To learn more about Dearborn Denim & Apparel, visit their website.

Dearborn Denim & Apparel Logo - image courtesy of Dearborn Denim & Apparel
Dearborn Denim & Apparel men's and women's jeans - photo courtesy of Dearborn Denim & Apparel
Dearborn Denim & Apparel jeans in production - photo courtesy of Dearborn Denim & Apparel

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 acsrodon@uchicago.edu.

Visit the event website and Facebook page.

First Thursday graphic
First Thursday graphic

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.

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas at NoteworthyNotes
Valentine's Day Gift Ideas at NoteworthyNotes
Personalized Gifts at NoteworthyNotes
Personalized Gifts at NoteworthyNotes
A10 Valentine's Day Menu
A10 Valentine's Day Menu
Michel'le Concert at The Promontory
Michel'le Concert at The Promontory