Auto shop's restaurant remake to be revealed in June 27 Shake-It forum

The former Grace Auto Body at 820 N. Damen would become a restaurant with outdoor seating.

Partners planning the Shake-It restaurant at 820 N. Damen will present details of their venture at 6:30pm June 27 at J&M Tap, 957 N. Leavitt St. Ald. Brian Hopkins will sponsor the forum with EVA and the Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association.

The restaurant and bar would feature boozy milkshakes, burgers and pizza. EVA and UVNA have been negotiating a plan of operation that would set security, trash collection and other binding conditions to the restaurant's liquor license.

Forward Hospitality Group chief executive Michael Schwartz, operating chief Bobby Rutter and marketing chief Dante Deiana plan to reveal a chef and fourth partner; "it will be pretty big news," says Deiana, the DJ behind the Chicago Cubs public-address music.

Deiana and attorney Thomas Raines have been negotiating the operating agreement. Cleveland-based Forward shelved plans for the former auto shop after a 2017 hearing, in which outdoor seating drew comparisons to the Big Star taqueria at 1531 N. Damen Ave. Raines gave EVA members an overview of revived plans in March.

Hopkins will take questions or comments before the meeting at Ward02@cityofchicago.org.

No plastic bags in blue bins! Recycling rights and wrongs

Are you recycling right? Judging from what gets tossed into blue bins, probably not. All recyclables go into the same bin, says Courtney Bryson, Streets and Sanitation assistant deputy superintendent. But not the bag: It gets caught in the sorting conveyor belts.

Food containers need only a light rinse, Bryson says, but leftovers will contaminate the whole bin. Clean cardboard is ready to recycle but food contaminates the whole bin. A greasy pizza box liner should go in the trash. Foam cups and packing (plastics marked with a number 6) are not recyclable in blue bins. Neither is shredded paper, which scatters too easily.

The city eventually may fine homeowners for contaminated blue bins, Bryson said. That was a conversation starter: Many EVA members said neighbors were using their bins. She challenged the audience to take a recycling quiz; she spoke after WBEZ aired its own recycling tips.

Shake-It up for discussion

A public meeting is planned for late this month with representatives of the Shake-It restaurant proposed for the Grace Auto Body site at 820 N. Damen Ave. A revised draft plan of operations makes concessions to EVA and Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association members but withdraws limits on outdoor space hours.

Ald. Brian Hopkins had asked Ohio-based Forward Hospitality Group to get community feedback though it was not seeking zoning changes. Renovation plans were last circulated in 2017. Members commented that the restaurateurs should be more forthcoming in addressing past concerns or that Hopkins take a more active role.

In another planning discussion, Aeslin Pup Hub is seeking a special use permit for overnight dog boarding at 1802-06 W. Chicago Ave.

Library sponsors summer meals; Happy Village renovations begin

Librarian Migdalia Jimenez is now among EVA visitors photographed against the flocked wallpaper soon to disappear from Happy Village.

Library Events

Working with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the West Town librarians are planning to serve children lunch during summer break, says librarians Stephanie Flinchbaugh. Volunteers will be needed to serve meals, intended to supplement school-year subsidized lunches.

Children also get free books in a summer learning challenge. The popular Teacher in the Library program is popular with the local Ecuadorian population.

The events calendar on the library's website includes dates for free movie screenings at 1625 W. Chicago Ave., says librarian Migdalia Jimenez says. Roots Pizza, 1924 W. Chicago Ave., hosts a monthly Books & Brews book club.

The librarians have discussed scaffolding at the library entrance with Alderman-elect Daniel La Spata. EVA has been involved in past fundraising, which supported a teen section at the branch.

Wells expands high school choices

Wells Community Academy High School, 936 N. Ashland Ave.

Wells Community Academy High School has been allocated $120,000 as a "magnet cluster" in fine and performing arts.

This program adds art, music, dance and drama to Wells' specialties in JROTC, law and computers, and allows the neighborhood school at 936 N. Ashland Ave. to attract more students from outside its boundaries. Wells Principal Michael Stosek will address East Village Association members June 3.

While Wells won the fine arts designation, Ogden International School at 1250 W. Erie St. bid unsuccessfully for a bilingual program to complement its international baccalaureate designation. Michele Dreczynski and Grand Drutchas told members they've been working to establish a local language academy high school, devoted to bilingual proficiency, which benefits pupils across discipline.

The region has potential as a bilingual anchor: a Chicago Public Schools study indicates a high concentration of elementary language programs and an above-average number of parents opting out of neighborhood high schools. More options would encourage parents not to seek alternatives in the suburbs.

Police to improve under consent decree, 2nd Ward's Rivera says

1st Ward alderman-elect Daniel La Spata accepts congratulations from 2nd Ward chief of staff Jose Rivera.

2nd Ward public safety

Ward chief of staff Jose Rivera says police Cmdr. Stephen Chung has responded creatively to crime patterns in the north edge of the 12th District. Community policing will change under a court-supervised consent decree now in effect. Officers will receive additional training in impartial policing and crisis intervention under a federal monitor. Detectives will have more time to clear cases.

Friends of Eckhart Park

Volunteers on April 27 will clean Eckhart Park, 1330 W. Chicago Ave., to mark Earth Day, said Ben Beadles of Friends of Eckhart Park. Garden plots are tended the first Tuesday of the month from May till September. Fundraising will support youth sports and purchase park benches, said Claudia Sainsot. More information is available on Facebook.