Sunday, August 15, 2010

Progress Report

posted by Elizabeth Fama

A certain eagerly-anticipated new market/cafe on 57th Street will be having a soft opening sometime this week. These photos are only one day old, and already the interior is much more tidy and the shelves and refrigerators more stocked than this quick view suggests. Watch this space for a complete review when the store is fully armed and operational.


Mural on entry-way wall


Space for 8 tables.

20 comments:

GlassHospital said...

eXcellent!

TA said...

Excellent! Thanks for the update.

Once Z&H opens we can start dreaming about what we'd like to go in the Florian's old location.

Patrick said...

We're very excited about this. I make it up to the 47th street location whenever I can (usually after cycling through Washington Park), but this one will be far more convenient.

In other exciting neighborhood news, a delightful new cafe has just opened at the corner of 63rd and Woodlawn. It's called Robust Coffee Lounge, and it is in the nice renovated loft-like building that somehow survived being torn down with everything else along 63rd Street when they took down the El. There are some other storefronts available for lease in this building, but Robust has the prime corner spot and has fitted it out very nicely. The owners are very serious about the coffee. After looking at Intelligentsia and Metropolis, they ended up going with Alterra, an excellent micro-roaster in Milwaukee. The cup I had was excellent. They also serve sandwiches and belgian waffles, among other items, though I didn't try any. Maybe worth one of your "First Look" posts Beth.

chicago pop said...

I love the roll-up storefront window right there on 57th. That is just a breath of fresh air. Can't wait for this place.

Greg said...

Yes, my GF and I noticed the big roll up door a couple weekends ago. It's gonna be great in the warm months and I hope they have some outdoor seating.

I'm sad about Florian. Yes, there's a glut of pizza places right there but Florian was much better than any of them. It's a prime location though. We could use a 24 hour casual restaurant, or a vegan place, or a seafood restaurant... I'm sure people can think of other things too.

Chicago_mom said...

OK, I peeked through an open door today and saw a blackboard listing various specialty coffee drinks....nice, but will it be possible to buy a quart of milk, a bag of sugar, box of cereal, etc.? It's not clear yet to me what niche will be filled here.....

TA said...

Seemed like they had a great crowd yesterday! I wonder what this will do to the sandwich business at the bakery given that Z&H is half a block closer to campus and has better sandwiches.

Congrats to them on a very successful first day.

Otto said...

We could use a 24 hour casual restaurant, or a vegan place, or a seafood restaurant...

Wasn't there once a Red Lobster across from the armory, or was that a Ponderosa, or both side-by-side? Anyway, setting aside the genuinely crazy notion that a (practically by definition) mediocre vegan restaurant would really liven up these here parts, I arrive once again at the dearth of late-night options since the demise of the Tiki. Indeed, contraction of mere evening service seems inevitable--the Istria at 57th was originally open until 9 p.m., as I recall, and the 55th Starbucks has cut back by an hour. I can't even keep track of when De Rice is open any more, and the Kimbark Harold's lopped three hours off the back end of the Kenwood location's schedule.

Postulate. Hyde Park is officially a cow town.

In this sense, I would note that Z&H represents a retreat (which is unfortunate for me, as I'm in just the mood for an iced coffee at this krazy kosmopolitan time of 8 p.m.), with two fewer hours daily of operation than the U. Mart. Mutatis mutandis, Pleasure Island.

Of course, the Bixler Playlot is jumping at all hours during warm weather. It's not much to go on in terms of business models for an all-night restaurant. A genuine collapse in real-estate prices might help, but unless the University sells the Facilities building to a cab company, the odds of a 24-hour joint would seem to be nil.

Jennifer Bremer MD said...

The place is up and running and gorgeous! The owners really did a super job. Such a plus for 57th street! Plenty of people hanging around its inside/outside counter. What a plus for this corner of HP!

jmogs said...

The opening made Chicagoist today:
http://chicagoist.com/2010/08/29/zh_in_the_hp_first_bronzeville_hot.php

Richard Gill said...

Re a 24-hour eatery: It's my understanding that a restaurant food-service license comes with no restrictions on hours of operation, so there wouldn't have to be any meetings or hearings or resident ranting sessions. Of course, neighbors would stoke fears that loud, unruly students would stagger onto the sidewalk at 3 in the morning, drunk on coffee, cheeseburgers and chocolate phosphates. The Alderman could try to look tough with a toothless "we'll keep an eye on it" bluster.

Right now, Salonica is the closest thing in Hyde Park to a Steak 'n Egger type of place, which was suggested on this blog at one time. All-night operation of such a place could be worth a try.

mchinand said...

Not exactly on topic, but the Big Easy (the latest restaurant incarnation of Orly's) is one of the Groupons today ($12 for $25). They've already almost reached the tipping point of 300 buy-ins. I think this will get me to finally try it out. It's not the main listing for today so it will probably show up on the right-hand side. http://www.groupon.com/r/uu122039

LadyB said...

The Robust Coffee Lounge at 63rd & Woodlawn is outstanding! The coffee is better than anywhere else and the food was terrific. I love the design, its elegant but casual and its big enough that your not on top of anyone else like at all the other campus coffee shops.

Jennifer Bremer MD said...

So far just not as super as I had hoped. Both times the sandwiches were ok but not superb despite the big price tag for sandwiches.

Just this evening I took my family there, and it wasn't worth it. We were rushed. Wasn't too friendly. Food was ok but not great. I will try Z&H again as I was a fan of the 47th street location, but I hope they step it up. Tonight I ended up wishing I had gone to Noodles or Subway.

susan said...

Caffe Florian replacement: if they can't fix the bathrooms, which smell just as bad as when it was the Medici, it doesn't really matter what they put there.

edj said...

Went up to the north side today for a few errands and thought about how many restaurants we have in Hyde Park. A pretty good number. If you expand beyond Hyde Park to Bridgeport and the South Loop, we have a lot of variety already. We have to get beyond simply talking about Hyde Park and look to neighboring neighborhoods. A lot of people here already think north to Roosevelt (the Co-op certainly got more people shopping over there). When I lived in North Center or Uptown, I never thought about all night places in North Center and Uptown, I thought about the all night places a neighborhood or two over. White Palace Grill at Roosevelt and Canal. Even when I was in college at Big Ten schools in the 80s and 90s, we had to walk a ways or take a bus to all night places. I don't want to get caught in the Hyde Park only trap like the HP elitists.

TA said...

Any new posts coming in the near future? Sadly I've had to subsist on Herald news for the last month and it hasn't been all too pleasant. I hope all is well with our wonderful HPP bloggers!

Jennifer Bremer MD said...

I also miss Progress posts ... I so appreciate this blog's voice supporting positive movement in Hyde Park.

Richard Gill said...

Aw c'mon, edj, suggesting an all-night diner in Hyde Park doesn't make me an elitist. It's just that the U of C, with it's substantial nocturnal population, would make a ready market for the diner, and it would be available to the rest of us. Anyway, I'd rather be able to walk to a place, accompanied by my private security detail, instead of rousting out my driver and limo at 2am, to shuttle me down to the White Palace.

Patrick said...

The Florian has a sign up advertising for a new tenant restaurant. Signs notes "No Liquor allowed,' which I found surprising and disappointing since this seems like one of the few locations on 57th where a liquor license might actually be a possibility.

Anyone know why that is? That location is not within 100 feet of a school or church, right? Is it in the Doctors' Hospital Prohibition Restoration Zone? Or is it a term of the lease?