Friday, February 13, 2009

Del Prado Zoning Change Meeting -- Feb. 23 2009


Click on image above to enlarge

25 comments:

Greg said...

Nice! This can only benefit the neighborhood. That's an ideal corner for a restaurant and lounge.

I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop (Jack and company to claim the rezoning is really so Antheus can raze the building and put up a giant, automated sun barrier like Mr. Burns did in The Simpsons.)

Richard Gill said...

Sounds good to me. Pretty much the same change as was made for the MAC building west of Cornell on 55th Street, enabling the restaurants there to apply for liquor licenses, for serving alcohol to in conjunction with food service.

David Farley said...

Didn't the Del Prado used to have a Chinese restaurant on the roof? This is a story I've heard.

David Farley said...

House of Eng (in the penthouse).

Answered my own question thanks to the new searchable HP Herald.

chicago pop said...

What's up with rooftop dining in Hyde Park? It comes up on every survey of consumer preferences in the neighborhood. More retail, more retail, and oh yeah, rooftop dining!!! Hyde Park must have a lot of fans of Rock Bottom up on Grand.

House of Eng ... I can only assume the fare was standard for the area -- egg foo yung and all that -- but that had to be a sweet view. Cornell/Washington Park is the most magnificent park of its size in Chicago. MAC is very smart to have grabbed that building.

Richard Gill said...

Hyde Park is slowly regaining its once-fine restaurantness. House of Eng was quite nice, I thought. Other once-upon-a-time excellent dining establishments: Effendi on the top floor of the Hyde Park Bank Building; Morton's; Citro's; Station JBD; Continental Gourmet; Tropical Hut; Courtyard. Then there were places with real promise that just blew it altogether,largely by management inattention, e.g. Unique and Ann Sather. But restaurants come and go almost everywhere, it seems.

Elizabeth Fama said...

Ha! This shows our respective ages, Richard Gill, because the restaurant at the top of the Bank Building was Mallory's by the time I was old enough to notice restaurants.

I didn't realize the Del Prado was in Leslie Hairston's ward.

Richard Gill said...

Right, I had forgotten about the change to Mallory's. By that time, I was too old to notice restaurants.

Yes, east of the tracks, the Fifth Ward goes as far north as the south side of 53rd Street. Somewhere in that vicinity, there is also a Congressional District boundary, as well as a ZIP Code dividing line. Even the postal service has gerrymandered Hyde Park!

Greg said...

Yikes, Hyde Park had an Ann Sather and a Mortons? As in Mortons Steakhouse?? Where was that?

Richard Gill said...

Just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating about Morton's in Hyde Park, I did some checking. I found what I was looking for in the Hyde Park Herald's new on-line archive (Know what? It ain't bad).

Morton's in Hyde Park was owned by the father of Arnie Morton, of steakhouse fame. It was at 55th & Lake Park. Later, the restaurant moved to the Shore Drive Motel at 56th & Lake Shore Drive, site of the present-day Montgomery Place. The motel fell into disrepair, and at some point, Morton's relocated north.

Ann Sather was at 57th & Kenwood, where Noodles Etc. presently is. The Ann Sather place was unfortunate from the get-go. They used a buffet format that was only so-so and was a bit pricey for students. The staff was often indifferent at best, and downright surly at other times. Even the managers didn't seem to care much. Ann Sather came in after a place called the Agora--a popular coffee shop, sort of like Salonica--went out. Agora's departure was controversial, but I don't recall what the issue was.

Elizabeth Fama said...

Ann Sather was in the space of Noodles, etc. on 57th Street. There was another brief tenant there (after Ann Sather and before Noodles, or before Ann Sather?) called Prairie City Diner.

Richard Gill said...

Ah yes, Prairie City Diner. I had forgotten about that short-lived establishment. Maybe it did come in the diaspora between Agora and Ann Sather. In any case, I believe both Ann and Prairie were failed U of C attempts to upscale the venue.

David Farley said...

"Eddie's Collage" followed Ann Sather, and occupied the entire space. After the space was split in two, where Noodles Etc. is was a weird, often-not-open sandwich place. A clothing store was in Medici Bakery space, followed by the ill-fated Stay Up Forever.

David Farley said...

I did a little research.

Lulu's (another Asian restaurant) followed Eddie's Collage and was the first occupant of the split space.

The mysterious sandwich shop was Guiseppe's, which towards the end used to do clever things like be closed during lunchtime.

Prior to Anne Sather, the space was occupied by the the Agora followed by Prairie City Diner. Apparently there was a big stink when the University terminated the Agora's lease.

Richard Gill said...

This discussion shows the value of a good blog--in two days it has revealed a long-running history of failures at an on-campus location that, almost by definition, should be a gold mine for restaurants. It's good that Noodles etc. seems to be making a go of it.
Agora, too, was apparently doing well, but once their lease was terminated, the revolving door started spinning. Mysterious and interesting, yes, Poirot?

cjb said...

2008?

Zig and Lou said...

And it seems that the UofC currently has little interest in leasing quality (location, location, location) space to independent retailers.ath1

Elizabeth Fama said...

"Fundamentals" was the name of the clothing store. It (and Lulu's, a dim sum place) opened in spring/summer of 1996. Fundamentals closed in January of 1999, and Lulu's closed in March of 1999. Fundamentals was co-owned by Howard Cohn (of Cohn and Stern) and his sister, and I think it was solicited by the University to answer the "GAP" needs of the U of C students.

David Farley said...

Apropos of nothing, this is too good not to share. 1987...

http://ddd-hph.dlconsulting.com/cgi-bin/newshph?a=d&cl=search&d=HPH19870819.2.33

Richard Gill said...

David Farley, that link you provided is VERY apropos, and certainly relevant to the original Del Prado post, above. I can already hear the hysterical wailing Feb. 23 about the "undesirables" the rezoning will attract, and the "congestion" it will cause. Is it any wonder there is little remaining patience for listening to the "moral certainty" of the paleodoctrinaire NIMBYs?

Cate Plys said...

Not only did House of Eng exist, it was still there as late as 1987-88 or so, because I remember going there for a work thing just after grad school. It was just so-so. But the views are fabulous. My parents had their wedding reception there in 1956 when I assume the restaurant belonged to the Del Prado Hotel. The 3-D pictures from the terrace are amazing. But if the new plan goes through without several years of complaints first, I'll be stunned.

Re the Agora, I didn't think it was worth mourning even at the time. But I agree it's odd that the spot hasn't worked well since--except, apparently, now with Noodles. Lulu's didn't have a very, I guess I would say accessible, menu and it was a bit too expensive--that's why it couldn't make there.

Elizabeth Fama said...

David Farley, I had no idea the Dorchester Commons neighbors voted their precinct dry back in the 1980s. The recent Tribune article about the 39th Precinct dry vote implied that using the law preemptively was a new tactic in Chicago. I guess we Hyde Parkers have always been ahead of the NIMBY curve! Why didn't Peter Rossi mention this during the Doctor's Hospital discussion? Peter, had you forgotten, too?

David Farley said...

Elizabeth - there was a vote-dry attempt to try to keep out Leona's, too (which failed). There might have been more - I only ran across that and Peter's letter browsing for other things.

(That archive is the greatest thing ever - I learned a certain HP notable was the person who accosted me on The Point a couple years ago when I was taking pictures of a race. And you couldn't make up some of the more rabid letters about parking.)

Back to House of Eng: a co-worker told me that before they shut down for good they began to get very creative looking for ways to drum up business. One of their more interesting ideas was something she described as "underwear show" lunches. Can anybody confirm this? Was it like "Models On Parade"? All the fun has fled Hyde Park.

chicago pop said...

My understanding of the dry-vote attempt on Leona's was that it was defused before it got on the ballot, but someone can check that on the archive to make sure.

harry said...

during the early 60's;i resided at the madison park apartments and used to eat at the station jbd resturant on east 51st street- whatever happened to it ????