News about 53rd St. in Hyde Park, Chicago

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.”

Exterior of Hyde Park Taco Station - Now Under Construction
Exterior of Hyde Park Taco Station - Photo by Amy Williams
Hyde Park Taco Station Sign
Hyde Park Taco Station Sign - Photo by Amy Williams
Hyde Park Taco Station Sign
Hyde Park Taco Station Sign - Photo by Amy Williams

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."

Brian and Autumn Merritt from Sir & Madame - Photo by Clayton Hauck, Chicago Mag
Brian and Autumn Merritt from Sir & Madame - Photo by Clayton Hauck, Chicago Magazine

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.

Green Tomato Bisque with Peekytoe Crab - The Promontory
Green Tomato Bisque with Peekytoe Crab - Photo Courtesy of The Promontory
Vegetarian Sandwich - The Promontory
Vegetarian Sandwich - Photo Courtesy of The Promontory

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.

Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce Dinner Crawl Graphic
Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce Dinner Crawl Graphic

Hyde Park Farmers Market returns to Harper Court on Thursday, June 4

The Hyde Park Farmers Market will begin its summer season in the courtyard area of Harper Court at 5300 S. Harper Court, on Thursday, June 4, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., taking place rain or shine every week through October 29.

Co-sponsored by the South East Chicago Commission and the Special Service Area of Hyde Park with assistance from the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, the 2015 season marks the return to the market’s original location in Harper Court from its hiatus at Harold Washington Park from 2010-2014, and includes more than one dozen local and regional farms and Hyde Park vendors selling fruits, vegetables, baked goods, crafts, plants, flowers, and more.

Confirmed vendors include Lyons Fruit Farm, Hardin Farms, Smits Farms, C&D Family Farms, Mudsock Stock Farm, Gunthorp Farms, Parrish Farms, Marilyn’s Bakery, Noffke Family Farm, Katic Breads, Artisan Bread Shoppe, Madsen Farms, Liveland Farms, and Nancy Krause Floral Design & Garden Antiques.

“We’re happy to bring the Hyde Park Farmers Market back to its original location in Harper Court,” said James M. Hennessy, associate vice president for commercial real estate operations for the University. “With 53rd Street increasingly becoming a center for retail and other activity, this location will put the vendors in the heart of Hyde Park’s commercial district while providing the local community with convenient access to a farmer’s market.”

To stay up to date with Farmers Market news, visit their Facebook page as well as Twitter and Instagram at @DHPChicago.

Hyde Park Farmers Market Graphic
Hyde Park Farmers Market Graphic

Harper Court included as venue site in Make Music Chicago 2015

Make Music Chicago is coming to 53rd Street. Harper Court will be one of the venues for the 2015 free music festival on Sunday, June 21.

Both amateur and professional musicians are invited to sign up to perform in the outdoor area at Harper Court, at 5235 South Harper Court. The space near Native Foods restaurant will be available to performers from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and interested musicians may request a time slot via email to acwilliams@uchicago.edu. An electrical outlet will be available if needed.

Make Music Chicago originated from France’s Fête de la Musique (International Music Day), a musical celebration begun in 1982, and now the largest single-day music event in the world. The festival takes place in more than 700 cities in 110 countries, and this is the fifth year that Chicago will participate, with both scheduled and impromptu musical performances planned at locations throughout the city, including Harper Court. Other Hyde Park-area locations include the Midway Plaisance, the University of Chicago International House,  and 63rd Street Beach.

For more information and a full listing of Make Music Chicago 2015 events, click here. A full listing of Harper Court scheduled performances can be found here.

Participants and spectators are invited to spread the work via social media using the hash tag #makemusicchi.

Make Music Chicago 2015 - Harper Court Graphic
Make Music Chicago 2015 - Harper Court Graphic

Third generation silhouette artist comes to Bellē Up Boutique on 53rd Street

Bellē Up Boutique, at 1504 E. 53rd Street, is welcoming Erik Johnson, a third-generation silhouette artist, to its store on Monday, June 1, from 3-6 p.m.

Erik is a world-renowned artist who travels the country, cutting his keepsake silhouettes by hand in five minutes or less. Bellē Up has hosted him several times over the last few years in its Beverly store, and those events have proven popular with customers. Silhouettes are a unique way to document babies, children, teens, and adults, and they make excellent gifts.

The art of silhouette cutting began in Europe in the early 1700s – at first it was just for the royal class, but by the 1800s silhouette artists had come to America and were capturing the likenesses of everyone from American politicians to local people at county fairs. It is estimated there are as few as 15 remaining silhouette artists in the United States.

To see samples of Erik’s work, visit his Facebook page. Silhouettes will be available for purchase at Bellē Up on June 1.

To sign up for an appointment, click here.

Erik Johnson Silhouettes
Silhouettes Courtesy of Erik Johnson

“Chicago’s Best” food challenge films at 53rd Street’s Rajun Cajun

Elliott Bambrough from WGN-TV will be coming to Hyde Park to film Trushar Patel, owner of Rajun Cajun, for an episode of “Chicago’s Best” food challenge.

The segment will be filmed on Friday, May 15th at 11 a.m. and will air on Sunday, June 14th, at 10 p.m. on WGN.

Bambrough will interview Patel about what makes Rajun Cajun one of “Chicago’s Best” and which of his spicy menu items stand out from the rest. The two will cook a dish together – ideally so hot that Bambrough will not be able to finish it.

If you’re a Rajun Cajun fan and happen to be in the restaurant that day - who knows - you might just end up on television.

Trushar Patel
Trushar Patel - Photo by Anna Knott (Chicago Magazine)

Free Mom & Me yoga class at 53rd Street’s Lively Athletics

Lively Athletics, at 5241 S. Harper Avenue, will be hosting a free “Mom & Me” yoga class on Saturday, May 9th, at 9:15 a.m., in honor of Mother’s Day.

Shalise Nichols, founder of blissfolds yoga, will lead moms and children ages five and up through various yoga poses. Participants are asked to bring yoga mats and to wear comfortable clothing.

The class is free, but donations to the instructor are welcome. Spaces are limited; please reserve by emailing info@livelyrunning.com, calling 708-358-0605, or responding at https://www.facebook.com/events/780685055372284/.

Shalise Nichols with Yoga Class
Shalise Nichols with Yoga Class - Photo Courtesy of Shalise Nichols

53rd Street boutique, Anastasia, celebrates Hyde Park location with fashion show at The Promontory on May 12th

Chicago fashion designer, Anastasia Chatzka, started her namesake boutique in Wicker Park and later Ukrainian Village, and expanded to Hyde Park as a pop-up retailer in November 2014 at 1500 E. 53rd Street. She’s enjoyed the opportunity so much that she has extended her original lease term until October 2015. She will also be debuting her spring/summer 2015 original designs at a fashion show at The Promontory, on Tuesday, May 12, at 8 p.m.

The event will feature a special guest DJ and selfie booth, and guests will be able to shop the full Anastasia collection after the show. Doors open at 7 p.m., and admission is free. Guests may reserve seats by sending an email to rsvp@anastasiachatzka.com.

Originally from Detroit, Chatzka received her BFA in Fashion Design at the International Academy of Design & Technology of Chicago. She honed her design skills after college, working with iconic designers Betsey Johnson and Anna Sui. She was inspired by Detroit’s music scene and started her own clothing line with fun, feminine, and cutting edge ready-to-wear and custom-made designs – all sewn locally in Chicago. We talked with Chatzka to learn more about her experiences in Hyde Park and the upcoming fashion show:

Your upcoming fashion show is celebrating your Hyde Park opening – what can you tell us about your experience in expanding to the 53rd Street area?

It took a few months to get to know the neighborhood better and to find out first-hand what customers are looking for in their fashion wardrobes. We have met so many amazing people from around the neighborhood who enjoy what we are offering. All our designer clothes are made in Chicago and since we offer custom design services, the options are unlimited, which is very attractive to our customers. Our location in Hyde Park has opened up the visibility of the brand tremendously. 

How did the collaboration with The Promontory come about?

We’re “neighbors” on 53rd Street, and when I was looking for a venue space in the neighborhood, it was the perfect opportunity – I am super excited to be showing in such a beautiful space. Organizing the fashion show with The Promontory is a fun and easy way to “cross-pollenate” – introducing Anastasia fans to 53rd Street, Hyde Park, and The Promontory, while introducing The Promontory’s audience to my designs.

You’ll be presenting your spring and summer 2015 collections – what can we expect to see in terms of colors, styles, and themes?

The SS15 collection will showcase a range of looks from day to night and week to weekend. We will also be showcasing a handful of stunning, one-of-a-kind gowns and ready-to-wear pieces.  The colors range from bright and cheerful to dark and edgy. The collection will encompass our signature style of tailored lines with plenty of prints, textures, and colors. We will also be rolling the racks of clothes onto the runway after the show for everyone to enjoy up close, and if they choose to, they can try them on! 

What does it mean to you to be a Chicago designer, and how does the city – particularly Hyde Park — inspire your work?

Hyde Park inspires the collections that we put into the Hyde Park boutique just by the women who walk into the boutique. We listen to everyone’s needs and requests. So, if you were looking for something we didn't have a few months ago, there is a very good chance that we have designed it and put it into the boutique based on that feedback. We love fashion and we love dressing women! So come play dress up with us! 

Photo of Anastasia Chatzka
Photo Courtesy of Anastasia Chatzka
Design by Anastasia Chatzka
Spring/Summer 2015 Design by Anastasia Chatzka
Design by Anastasia Chatzka
Spring/Summer 2015 Design by Anastasia Chatzka