Restaurant plan shakes Damen neighbors


A rendering for the Shake-It restaurant proposed at 820 N. Damen.

East Village Association board meeting
August 14, 2017
West Town Bakery, 1916 W. Chicago Ave.

Neighbors of a car-repair shop at 820 N. Damen Ave. oppose its conversion to a burger bar. In East Village Association board discussion, president Michael VanDam said that neighbors' nuisance concerns should take precedence.

The patio could operate weekends till midnight under city ordinance. Its Motown soundtrack could run till 10. Damen Avenue is zoned for business use, but most buildings on the street are residential.

The restaurant and bar would feature milkshakes, burgers and pizza. Drinks would contribute up to half the revenue, according to estimates provided to EVA from Cleveland-based nightclub operator Forward Entertainment Group. Half the seating would be outdoors, in a layout similar to Big Star taqueria at 1531 N. Damen Ave.

At an Aug. 10 hearing, Ald. Brian Hopkins suggested that he would have little to say about the plan if floor plans conformed to current zoning, but he would have some say on the issuance of the liquor license. Meanwhile, current tenant Grace Auto Repair contended its lease extends through 2022.

Ashland liquor gets EVA consent


Paulette Lombardi of Market Select, 912 N. Ashland.

East Village Association membership meeting
August 7, 2017
Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott Ave.

By Michelle Hayward

Michael VanDam called the community meeting to order.

Business Minute

Sabroso Mexican Grill opened 3 weeks ago at 941 N. Damen. The restaurant is BYOB and awaiting a liquor license, said co-owner : Luis Escobar.

Market Select

Currently there is a liquor moratorium on Ashland between Augusta and Chicago. A similar pause on licenses was lifted four years ago on an adjoining stretch of Ashland for a similar concept, Garden Gourmet, 1130 N. Ashland Ave., under a plan of operation approved by EVA. Today, there is a request for a lift of the moratorium specifically regarding incidental packaged-goods sales.

The local market concept for 912 N. Ashland, presented by Paulette Lombardi, is called Market Select and is focused on everyday needs with some packaged beer and wine. It would follow the same plan of operation under which Garden Gourmet is currently operating.

EVA membership has voted not to oppose.

Market seeks Ashland moratorium lift


Market Select prepares to stock its shelves at 912 N. Ashland.

Market Select, a grocery at 912 N. Ashland Ave., plans to sell beer and wine, and is asking East Village Assocation members Monday to support lifting the freeze on Ashland Avenue packaged-goods liquor licenses.

EVA has proposed a Plan of Operation limiting liquor sales volume and ruling out malt liquor and fortified wine sales. The plan is based on the Garden Gourmet plan negotiated with EVA in 2013. Ald. Proco Joe Moreno (1st Ward), who must recommend the license, backs liquor restrictions to replace the moratorium.

EVA members will also discuss a restaurant proposal for 820 N. Damen. Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd Ward) will hold a community meeting Aug. 10 on the Shake-It restaurant. Its boozy milkshake menu would require a liquor license. The operator Forward Entertainment Group has submitted floor plans and development details.

Bard in the yard: Eckhart Park welcomes "Romeo and Juliet" for free Aug. 4 staging

Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks returns Aug. 4 to Eckhart Park with a free, 75-minute production of "Romeo and Juliet."

A specially equipped truck rolls into the park at 1330 W. Chicago Ave. A stage unfolds and a company of professional actors shares Shakespeare’s story.

The 6:30pm performance is part of an annual Chicago Shakespeare Theater summer tour. Other locations include Humboldt Park, 1301 N. Sacramento Ave., on Aug. 11. The series opens July 26-28 at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave.

Adapted and directed by Marti Lyons, the abridged staging features Nate Santana as Romeo and Emma Ladji as Juliet. The feud between the Capulets and Montagues divides a city. From these two proud families, Romeo and Juliet fall in love. Can these star-crossed lovers bring peace to Verona?

Since the first park tour six years ago, more than 100,000 Chicagoans have seen the free performances. This year's presentations are sponsored by the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District, Boeing and BMO Harris Bank.

EVA agrees to Division moratorium lift; Congressman Quigley shares agenda

Rep. Mike Quigley speaks to EVA members at the Happy Village.


East Village Association membership meeting
July 10, 2017
Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott Ave.

By Michelle Hayward

Healthy Soil Compost; Openlands tree grants

Michael VanDam opened the July 10 meeting at 7pm at the Happy Village and introduced Business Minute: Healthy Soil Compost turns household compost into fine dirt. Firm provides bucket for organic waste, picks up weekly or biweekly.  $28/month for onetime pickup; $40 weekly. Firm diverts about 10 tons a month from landfills.

Megan Humphrey from Openlands gave presentation on neighborhood tree grants. Openlands is the oldest metropolitan conservation group in the country, focused on Chicago and Illinois.  In Chicago, it gives grants for planting trees.  Neighborhood associations can apply and Openlands will provide 40 trees to be planted within 2 or 3 blocks of one another. This area is a native oak and hickory forest.  Sites need to be in a parkway or a Chicago public school.  Applications should be available in the fall for spring planting.

Foxtrot Packaged Goods Moratorium Lift 

Mike LaVitola of Foxtrot introduced his plan for a store in Wicker Park, requiring permission to lift the liquor license moratorium on Division Street. The market currently has two locations:  West Loop and Lincoln Park. The premise is a corner store with in-house coffee program, craft beer and wine, and groceries.  The moratorium is currently on packaged goods. Foxtrot could not open a liquor store or wine shop, which requires commercial zoning. Packaged goods are considered an accessory.

A plan of operation from the Armitage location has been shared with the community. FoxTrot would request a loading zone.  Building under consideration would open Nov. 1. Wicker Park Association has voted to support the lift.  The Planning, Preservation & Development committee of EVA has recommended to not oppose the lift.

The EVA general membership unanimously voted to not opppose the lift and committed to sending a letter of support

Division Street liquor moratorium vote

Foxtrot is hoping to open a Wicker Park location at 1714 W. Division this fall. It's seeking the East Village Association's support in its request to the alderman to lift the packaged goods liquor moratorium between Milwaukee Avenue and Wood Street. Its presentation follows.

The agenda for Monday's membership meeting, at 7pm at Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott:

  • President's Welcome
  • Business Minute – Devon Kondziela, Healthy Soil Compost
  • Megan Humphrey from Openlands on trees and neighborhood tree grants
  • Mike LaVitola, Foxtrot
    • Introduction and Q&A
    • Vote on Division Street Liquor Moratorium
  • PPD Updates: St. Boniface
  • Schools/Polish Triangle
  • New Business

Read more >>