Woodlawn Wonder, the dynamic and quite entertaining voice of I Hate my Developer, describes being too close for comfort to the insane spate of gunshots in mid-August, some of which were directed at CTA buses on Stony Island and 65th Street, down the street from her ranch and the future south campus U of C dormitories.
I am appropriately horrified, even from the distance of 47th Street. And the tragic gunfire continues.
Looks like you can have firearms and mayhem even without a decrepit elevated spur along 63rd Street.
You might also read her narration of our first face-to-face meeting, in which we observed her handling table service for at least two successive tables of families with kids, all with impeccable aplomb. From our conversation that evening, it sounds like things are looking up for Woodlawn Wonder. You can cheer for her when you check out her blog.
Meanwhile, another little shop appears poised to enter the local retail landscape: Open Produce, at 1635 E. 55th Street, tells me that they're in the last stages of their build-out, and hope to win their last duel with City inspectors in the next few weeks, which you can read about on their blog.
They have some remodeling pics on the blog, which like the shots J/Tati put up of his shop when his ceiling collapsed earlier this year, remind us how crappy a lot of the lead-paint death-trap retail space in Hyde Park really is. (We note that Tati's old basement shop at 55th and Cornell is still vacant. Low rent with free lead poisoning, anyone?)
Back on topic, here's what the Open Produce folks say about themselves:
Open Produce ... will provide as many fruits and vegetables (conventional, organic, local, really local) and dry goods as we can fit in our storefront. In addition to providing good food at good prices, we also want to push the envelope in terms of transparency and accountability to the community -- all of our bank statements, wholesale prices, contractor payments, employee wages, etc. will be made available for everyone to scrutinize.
"Social entrepreneurialism" it's called, and it looks like the next generation of Hyde Park innovation with some interesting bells and whistles. We'll see if it marks an improvement over what came before when it comes to the bottom line: quality goods, quality service, and reliable operation. Our fingers are crossed.
Meanwhile, of course, our favorite "Zig and Lou" has been blogging about the long-awaited arrival of the Zaleski & Horvath Market Cafe at 1126 E. 47th Street, undoubtedly named after the well-known Polish-Hungarian retail merchants who bring their business acumen, and taste in finer imported foods, here from the Old Country.
Can't wait to meet them and tell dirty jokes in Yiddish.
Read about blogger Z&L's meetings with "cheese reps," the joys of having ComEd inspectors come over, the punctuality of City inspectors, and the super hot technology that is going to make Z&H the hippest Polish-Hungarian outpost in the neighborhood. There's more to learn here about opening a small business in Chicago than I've found anywhere else.
You know we've been cheering for this one for a long time. With Z&H and Open Produce hopefully here this fall, we could be eating very well indeed. Stay tuned.