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Wicker Park Bucktown Insider's Guide

La Colombe Says They're Opening Soon in Wicker Park

Michael Hamrick - Thursday, January 16, 2014
photo courtesy of La Colombe 

We first reported on La Colombe heading to Wicker Park waaaay back in May of last year and their target date for opening then was September 2013.


Photo: Our newest location in Chicago's Wicker Park got a hand-gilded window sign by Gibbs Connors.Wicker Park location photo courtesy of La Colombe via Facebook.

Well, delays do happen and La Colombe is getting ready at long last to open their doors in the space formerly the location of Greener Cleaners at 1552 N. Damen Avenue directly next to the Blue Line in Wicker Park. Today is "health inspection day" according to an instagram photo published earlier.

They should be opening any day now.


We, of course, will keep you posted.



Related: La Colombe to Open in Bucktown.


PSA- Wicker Park Post Office is Moving - Closed This Weekend

Michael Hamrick - Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wicker Wire: If you live in the area and happen to use the post office next to Staples, they're moving this weekend. Just a few doors down, however, the walk-up window will be closed on Saturday and they will be closed on Monday for the holiday as well.

Their new location will be 1240 N. Ashland, right by the Dunkin Donuts. They are unsure at this time as to whether customers will still be allowed to use the large parking lot for K-Mart, Staples, Jewel etc.

Just an early warning. 

$10 Burgers Tonight at Trenchermen - Wicker Park

Michael Hamrick - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

 Image courtesy of Trenchermen via Facebook

Each and every Wednesday, Wicker Park's Trenchermen offers an ah-mazing burger, popcorn, chips and beer for just $10 in their bar (only).

So what's on deck for tonight?


New Tonight
- Black pepper and lime kettle corn

The Dion Burger
- Hoosier grass fed beef, American cheese, pico de gallo, avocado, mayo, house bun, Trench chips

Solemn Oath Brewery
- Axe Scar Pig (American Red Ale)

Get 'em while you can. Limited quantities available - 2039 W. North Avenue. 

Potbelly To Open in Wicker Park

Michael Hamrick - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

 - Centrum Partners plans to renovate this building. Photo from CoStar Group Inc.
Wicker Wire: According to a report published earlier by Chicago Real Estate Daily, Potbelly will be opening another spot in the neighborhood. They currently have a restaurant located at 1625 N. Damen Avenue.

The new location will be 1275 N. Milwaukee Avenue in the former Wieboldt's building owned by Centrum LLC and undergoing a major renovation and will taking over the 2,000 square foot space which was the former location of Oberweis.

No additional details are available at this time but we will keep you posted as they become available.

Potbelly to Open Wicker Park restaurant [Chicago Real Estate Daily]


Major Renovation Planned for Milwaukee Avenue 

Crime Alert - 7 Bucktown Burglaries

Michael Hamrick - Monday, January 13, 2014

According to a report published by DNAINfo, police are looking for 2 men in connection with burglaries involving 7 Bucktown businesses within a 30 day period of time. The burglaries began on December 2nd.

The men are described as: black men who are 35-45 years old, weighing 180-250 pounds, standing 5 foot 8 to 5 foot 10 inches tall and medium complexions.

Most of the businesses affected were located on Damen Avenue and include:

-December 2nd: 2100 Block of North Damen Avenue.

-December 12: 2100 Block of North Elston.

-December 13: 2100 Block of North Damen Avenue.

-December 19: 1900 Block of North Damen Avenue.

-December 21: 1800 Block of North Damen Avenue.

-January 2: 1300 Block of West North Avenue.

-January 4: 1900 Block of North Damen Avenue.

If you have any information or see anything suspicious please contact the Chicago Police Department.

Police Looking for Men Suspected in Seven Burglaries of Bucktown Business [DNAInfo]

Links Taproom Opens Today in Wicker Park

Michael Hamrick - Saturday, January 11, 2014

image courtesy of Links Taproom via Facebook

Links Taproom, an All-American craft beer and sausage-based bar, plans to open very soon in the space formerly Bin Wine Café at 1559 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park according to an update posted on their Facebook page. Plans to open (finally) are scheduled for the evening of January 11, 2014. 

Links Taproom will feature 36 All-American beers on tap, four All-American cask beers on beer engines, 40-ish All-American craft beers in large format bottles and about 10 by can. Five different types of wine will be available as well but the focus will definitely be on the beer.

Buried Alive Fries: topped with Italian sausage, bacon, cheddar, giardiniera, and green onions. Photo courtesy of Links Taproom.

Chef Andrew Kern has created the menu with 8 different types of links available including: Chicago Steak & Ale (sirloin, bacon, Bell’s Amber Ale, horseradish), bratwurst (veal pork shoulder, toasted spices, whole milk) and vegan (Portobello mushrooms, black beans, tamari, extra virgin olive oil). Snacks including: hand-cut fires, cheese curds, beer cheese soup, fried pickles, roasted peanuts, white bean hummus etc. will also be available. Brunch will be offered shortly after opening.

Links Taproom To Open Mid-December in Chicago's Wicker Park Neighborhood [BWW Food & Wine]

Who's Responsible for Shoveling Chicago Sidewalks

Michael Hamrick - Thursday, January 09, 2014

Throughout the Winter, when you walk through Wicker Park and Bucktown, or all of Chicago for that matter, you're bound to come across city sidewalks that are packed with snow. When the temps warm up and then freeze again, sidewalks can become an icy path to walk on.

Clearing snow from your sidewalks is not only a darned nice thing to do for your neighbors and the community; it's actually required by the City of Chicago.

So who's responsible for clearing the sidewalks? You might be surprised to learn that according to Municipal Codes 4-4 310 and 10-8-180, everyone is responsible for clearing snow in front of their property. Property owners as well as the occupants are responsible for removing snow:

According to the Municipal Code of Chicago, "Every owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or other person having charge of any building or lot of ground abutting upon any public way or public space shall remove the snow and ice from the sidewalk..."

That's right. It's actually not just a landlord's responsibility. If you live there, you're responsible as well. According to the City of Chicago website, it's everyone's responsibility to make sure the sidewalks are clear of snow and ice. And there's even a time limit.

If the snow stops falling before 4pm, you only  have 3 hours to clear the snow. (A little tough for people who happen to be at work.) And if the snow stops falling after 4pm, you have until 10am the next morning to get out there and shovel. 

But that's not all. Think that little space the width of a snow shovel is enough? It's not. According to the Municipal Code, the path needs to be 5 feet wide to accommodate strollers, wheel chairs and even your friendly mail people. Not feeling inspired to shovel? You could end up with a fine compliments of the City of Chicago.

For all of the details: Sidewalk Snow Removal City of Chicago

Burlesque Auditions - Gorilla Tango Bucktown

Michael Hamrick - Thursday, January 09, 2014
For those of you looking to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone in 2014, now's your chance. Gorilla Tango Burlesque (GTB) is pleased to announce it will revisit its popular Star Trek burlesque in 2014 and is seeking Trekkies of all shapes and sizes to audition - newbies (ie those with no previous burlesque experience) are particularly encouraged to audition. Auditions will be held on January 26 (5:00-8:00pm in one hour slots) at Gorilla Tango Theatre Bucktown, and the show will run Fridays at 9:00pm, April 18-August 29, 2014. For more information on auditions, contact Director Erica Reid at auditions@ericareid.com.

Producer Dan Abbate says "The burlesque we do is very tongue-in-cheek and silly. It's story based and a very 'non-threatening' introduction to neo-burlesque. Because of this, we often connect with women who have had no prior burlesque experience but who want to try something new."  

Director Erica Reid states: "We work closely with each performer to both properly teach the art form and also unleash their self-confidence. The beauty of burlesque is that it really celebrates the woman--it's about being comfortable in your own skin and learning to love what you've got. All body types are welcome! More often than not, we find that first time burlesque performers get hooked, and we love to witness the inspiration and transformation that it can bring. Plus, with the amazing women in the scene, it's a great way to expand your social circle and make life-long friends."

Gorilla Tango Burlesque performers who were once new to the artform feel the same way.

"Since I started performing burlesque, I've had family and friends comment on how happy I seem. If you'd told me even five years ago I'd be taking off my clothes in public, I would have laughed in your face. And now, I can't imagine NOT doing burlesque, " says Emma Glitterbomb, "Ma Boobs" in "The Oregon Tail Burlesque: You Have Died of Sexy" opening this Friday at 9pm.

Busty Warren, author of GTB's hit "Don't Blink: A Doctor Who Burlesque", states, "Burlesque helps me maintain a positive body image. Especially a company like GTB where all shapes and sizes are welcome."

GTB regular Vespa Van Dyne (in such shows as "Temple of Boobs: An Indiana Jones Burlesque" and "Holy Bouncing Boobies: A Batman Burlesque") continues on to say, "I think what I really learned from burlesque is a level of bravery I didn't know I had. I'm up onstage and I get to literally strip myself (nearly) bare in front of an audience: no apologies, no shame, no regrets. There's nowhere to hide, nothing but panties & pasties between myself and them. It's an amazing thrill of personal power to be there as I am. Me and my panties and pasties and an audience full of people cheering me on."

Newcomer Polly Poms Poms - making her debut this Friday at 9pm in "The Oregon Tail Burlesque: You Have Died of Sexy" - says "When I saw the audition notice, I responded kind of on a whim. I'd always been interested in burlesque, but never thought it was something that I could actually do. I was surprised when I got scheduled for a time slot, even more surprised when I made callbacks, and pretty much stunned when I was cast in Oregon Tail. After each step in the process I wasn't sure I'd come back, because I found the whole idea of burlesque pretty intimidating, but I did keep coming back, for one reason only - it was the most fun I'd had in a long time. I can't say enough about how talented all the company members are - everyone is so incredible, and in an industry like theater where women so often cut each other down, it is truly remarkable how supportive and encouraging everyone is. Thanks to them, all my fears of feeling not good enough have turned into feeling effing fabulous."

Gorilla Tango Burlesque seeks a fresh full cast of eight actresses/dancers for their revival of Star Trek: The Rack of Khan Burlesque, written by Nerdologues, directed and choreographed by Erica Reid. We will also be casting understudies for our other productions currently in open runs. Initial auditions will be dance-based, held on January 26th from 5:00-8:00pm, scheduled in groups in 1-hour slots.  To be considered, please email a current photo (headshot preferred), resume, and preferred audition slot to auditions@ericareid.com with “Burlesque Audition” in the subject line.

Audition Date: January 26 (5:00-8:00pm in one hour slots)
Pay: $25/performance plus tips

Type/Restrictions:  Women, 21 and over only please.  Must be comfortable stripping down to pasties and a g-string.  Women with dance, movement, or comedy background especially encouraged to submit.

Time Commitment:  Rehearsals begin mid-February 2014, evenings and weekends. Rehearsals are always scheduled based on actor availability. Star Trek will run Fridays at 9:00pm from April 18th through August 29th. Actresses may still be considered for casting even with performance conflicts. Understudy positions in ongoing shows perform Fridays or Saturdays at 9:00pm, 10:30pm, or 11:59pm depending on casting.

Material to Prepare:  Audition by appointment. Please email a current photo (headshot preferred), resume, and preferred audition slot toauditions@ericareid.com with “Burlesque Audition” in the subject line. Arrive dressed to move; audition will consist of a dance taught day-of. Please Note: You will not be required to strip in initial audition. If you are called back, you will be asked to perform audition dance with additional strip down to bra and panties.

New 2014 Wicker Park, Bucktown Restaurants To Put On Your Radar

Michael Hamrick - Tuesday, January 07, 2014

With 2013 just days behind us, we're setting our sights on the new Wicker Park and Bucktown area eateries heading our way. So who are we really looking forward to in 2014?

Brendan Sodikoff's New Pizza Place - 1732 N. Milwaukee Avenue. Cafe Con Leche closed in 2013 and a new pizza-by-the-slice spot may just be taking its place.

Cheesies Pub & Grub - Voted the best grilled cheese in America, Cheesie's is opening another location in Wicker Park plus they're adding a bar called Whiskey Business and a poutine bar. A rooftop deck is also in the works at 1365 N. Milwaukee Avenue.

Paul Kahan (Big Star)/One Hospitality -  New Spot in Cipolina Space - Cipolina closed up shop quietly in 2013 and the team behind Big Star and the Violet Hour were quick to secure the space just steps away at 1543 N. Damen Avenue. Plans are also in the works to expand Big Star this year.

Rick Bayless's Wicker Park Resto - Similar to Xoco but with a bar program and larger space. This new spot is planned for the previous location of Salud at 1471 N. Milwaukee Avenue. Their target date is April 2014.

Stan's Doughnuts - Opening the location formerly Skewerz, and directly across the street from Glazed and Infused, LA-based Stan's Doughnuts. They were anticipating a Fall 2013 opening so our guess would be 1st Quarter of this year.  

The Winchester - Technically located in Ukrainian Village at 1001 N. Winchester, The Winchester will offer and all-day menu serving sandwiches and salads and will start bright an early with a breakfast menu. The best part? The former chef of Tavernita is heading up this spot. Hoping to open last Fall, The Winchester should be opening very soon.

In addition to these, there are a bunch of new coffee shops opening early this year in Wicker Park including Le Colombe and Intelligentsia.

Many of these openings have been delayed. So we'll keep you posted.

Wicker Park, Bucktown Side Streets Still Packed With Snow

Michael Hamrick - Monday, January 06, 2014

Wicker Wire: The snow ended late last night and Chicago's snow plows have barreled through the neighborhood but the side streets in Wicker Park and Bucktown are still packed with snow.

If you're driving around the neighborhood please be aware the streets are slick and the alleys are filled with almost a foot of snow.

Just a heads up if you need to drive around the neighborhood. You're probably not going to have a whole lot of traction.

Be safe out there. Still -12 degrees in Wicker Park. 

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