RETAIL YEAR IN REVIEW 2017 Openings and Closings

Hyde Park resident Susan “Sue” Freehling, founder and owner of The Freehling Pot and Pan Co., 1365 E. 53rd. St., is permanently closing her shop after nearly 43 years in business. This photo of Freehling was taken in 2005. – Marc Monahgan  

By Joseph Phillips
Staff Writer

In 2017, Hyde Park said goodbye to some longtime institutions (4 closings) and hello to new stores (13 openings) and grand re openings (3) on each of its commercial corridors.

Hyde Park says goodbye to multiple neighborhood staples


Freehling Pot and Pan Co. closed its doors in December after nearly 43 years in the Hyde Park neighborhood.

Susan “Sue” Freehling, founder and owner of The Freehling Pot and Pan Co., 1365 E. 53rd. St., said she will permanently close her shop due to her and her husband’s desire to travel.

“I’m 77 years old and the time has come,” Freehling said. “My husband Paul retired last June and we’d like to travel.”

Freehling, whose business specialized in houseware and cookware
appliances, announced on Wednesday, Dec. 6, that she would host a going out of business sale with everything being 40 percent off in the store. She said the sale would continue until all items were gone.

Freehling also said it was a moment of madness when she first opened her doors nearly 43 years ago.

“I liked to cook and there weren’t a lot of places to buy cookware at the time,” Freehling said. “Then places like Williams – Sonoma came in but [Freehling Pot and Pan] was the only one on the Southside.”

Z Berry Frozen Yogurt Shoppe closes its doors after nearly seven years in Hyde Park

After nearly seven years in Hyde Park, Zenzile Powell, founder and owner of Z Berry Frozen Yogurt Shoppe, 1368 1/2 E. 53rd St., closed her shop in the month of July.

Powell said the high cost of rent expenses and day-to-day operations made it difficult for her to be profitable as a small business owner in the Hyde Park community.

“It is very clear that the developments in Hyde Park are not for family owned and operated businesses but for big retailers, restaurants and LLCs, that have excessive capital to build out and operate under such conditions,” said Powell, who opened the frozen yogurt shop in 2010.

Powell also said with rent cost and the value of amenities on the rise in Hyde Park, she’s decided to move her frozen yogurt shop to Café at Ellis Park, 3520 S. Cottage Grove Ave., in Bronzeville.

Powell said that the self-serve, soft serve frozen yogurt and sorbet bar, will continue to offer its variety of flavors and plenty of toppings of fresh fruit, cookies, candy and other items at her new location.

Yusho Hyde Park closes its doors after three years

Yusho Hyde Park, 1301 E. 53rd St., would close its doors after nearly three years of operation in Hyde Park.

According to the company’s website, the Japanese Grill and Noodle House closed its doors on Saturday, July 1.

“From the moment they’ve got here they wanted to learn more about the community and invest in the community,” said Jonathan Swain, president of the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce. “It’s always sad to see a business close. I will miss seeing it on the corner [of 53rd Street and Kimbark Avenue].”

After closing Yusho, owner Chef Matthias Merges said he would now focus more closely on running his other restaurant A10,1342 E. 53rd St.

Hyde Park Century 21 Affiliated abruptly closes

The local Century 21 Affiliated, 5200 S. Harper Ave., closed its doors in September.

The real estate agency’s Hyde Park agents specialized in helping first-time homebuyers, luxury residential markets, rentals, mid-market communities and commercial real estate, according to its website.

According to a source familiar with the business, the real estate company closed on Friday, Sept. 1, due to financial difficulties that made it hard to maintain its Hyde Park location. A Century 21 Affiliated representative said, agents from the Hyde Park location are consolidating with its Homewood, Ill. office and headquarters, 930 W. 175th St., but it is not due to financial difficulties.

“We consolidated with our Homewood office and moved our agents to that location,” said Noel Williams, Century 21 Affiliated area director. “We consolidated to better serve our agents and our clients.”

Although the agency in its current form has been in Hyde Park for only two years, Century 21 has had a long history in the community. Century 21 first merged with real estate firm Kennedy, Ryan, Monigal and Associates, Inc. (KRM), in May of 1980. Businessman and real estate mogul Winston Kennedy, a University of Chicago graduate who was known as one of the movers and shakers in the Hyde Park community, owned the firm.

According to the Herald archives, Kennedy, whose office was located in the Art Deco building, 5508 S. Lake Park Ave., played a huge role in the merging of the two companies. Kennedy’s ability to broker deals and his understanding of the markets, the school districts, the businesses and the people in the Hyde Park area played a key role in the real estate firm’s success.

Prior to the merger, the history of KRM and Associates can be traced back about 40 years.

Kennedy’s firm was purchased by Hyde Park Realtor Jeanne Spurlock in 1997. Spurlock later partnered with Tom Bretz of Century 21 Affiliated in May 2013. Spurlock left the company in Novemeber 2016.

Several of the agents from KRM were pillars of the community for decades and are still remembered by residents today.

During its time in Hyde Park, Century 21 Affiliated has brought Hyde Park realtors access to more than 500 other agents in the Chicago area, according to Bretz in a May 2013 issue of the Herald.


Build Coffee Shop

Build Coffee Shop hosted its grand opening on Saturday, June 24, at the Experimental Station, 6100 S. Blackstone Ave.

“We spent the last couple of weeks honing our menu,” said Hannah Nyhart, owner of Build Coffee. “We have a great team on board and are excited to open to the public.”

The menu will feature coffee from Chicago’s Halfwit Coffee Roasters, including house specialties like a sweetened cold brew coffee called the “Light and Sweet S’mores Hot Chocolate.” Which is a combination mixture of hot chocolate, toasted marshmallows and graham crackers.

In addition to the shop’s brew and beverage options, they have added quiche and pie from “Justice of the Pies,” a bakery that specializes in sweet pies, savory pies, quiches and tarts. Plus, a few snacks made in-house with a range of pastries to be added in the next week or two.

There will also be a bookstore.

Sugarly Candy Shop opens in Hyde Park

Sugarly Candy Shop, 1368 1/2 E. 53rd St., opened its doors on Saturday, Oct. 18. The shop took over the current location and retail space formerly held by Z Berry Frozen Yogurt Shoppe.

“This is my first business,” said Tania Gordon, owner of Sugarly.

The store currently offers a pick and mix candy option, with a cost that vary based on weight, and has dedicated half of its store to selling upmarket brands.

Antonis II Grill and Catering restaurant opens in Hyde Park.

The Greek grill opened its doors in November 2017 and currently, occupies the retail space that formerly housed Pepes, 1310 E. 53rd St.

Its menu includes pasta, sandwiches, signature Kabobs, Greek grilled wings with grilled lemon potatoes, chicken kabob quinoa, avocado romaine chicken salad, burgers, and homemade chicken noodle

At its other location in Lockport, Ill., 1151 E 9th St., the restaurant offers lunch and dinner, catering, delivery, take out, waiter services, and walk-ins.

Obama Foundation added multi-purpose space this fall

The Obama Foundation added a multi-purpose space on 1538 S. Lake Park Ave. next to Starbucks this fall. The development completed the second phase of the organization’s strategic move from downtown Chicago to Hyde Park.

A source close to the project said that the foundation, which has office space inside the University of Chicago building at 5235 S. Harper Court, began using the storefront space as early as September.

The foundation is in charge of the creation of the Obama Presidential Center, which will be built nearby in Jackson Park.

This marks the second move for the foundation since its inception in January 2014. The foundation moved from its original location 300 E. Randolph St. to the Harper Court building in March 2016.

Eto’s Modern Asian Cuisine opens in Hyde Park

Eto’o Modern Asian Cuisine restaurant, 1373 E. 53rd St., held a soft opening Tuesday, Aug. 29, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and hosted a grand opening in the last week of September.

“I think this place is something fresh in Hyde Park,” said Chef Book K, owner of Eto’o Modern Asian Cuisine restaurant. “The taste is 95 percent authentic Thai food.”

Chef K, who also owns Shinju Sushi restaurant next door to Eto’o, 1375 E. 53rd St., purchased additional space to help expand his business and offer his customers more authentic Thai food options.

Chef K said that the new restaurant menu will provide customers modern Asian Cuisine style options such as Lobster and Shrimp Pad Thai, Shrimp Tom Yum soup, curry dishes, fried rice, pasta, vegetable options, noodles, Eto’o signature meals and a host of other Asian Cuisine style dishes.

The restaurant will feature a dine-in area and a space for customers to mingle.

Prior to his business opening, the space was previously occupied by Litehouse Grill, which was relocated to 1660 E. 55th St. in June.

Vanille Patisserie shop hosted a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony in December

The Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony in honor of the grand opening of Vanille Patisserie, 5229 S. Harper Court, on Friday, Dec. 1.

“We are delighted to open our fourth location and are excited to bring Vanille pastries and desserts to Hyde Park,” said Sophie Evanoff, president of Vanille Patisserie. “We invite customers to relax in our cozy Harper Court cafe savoring the moment to experience our high-quality, French-inspired menu featuring freshly made artisanal French pastries and cakes.”

Vanille, which also has shops in Lincoln Park, Lakeview, and the Chicago French Market inside Ogilvie Metra Station, specializes in authentic French pastries, desserts, and cakes. The 900-square-foot shop in Hyde Park will feature a private cake tasting salon where customers will be able to plan custom designed cake and elegant European style wedding creations.

The shop also offers catering for corporate breakfasts and lunches and make deliveries to offices.

Jolly Pumpkin brewery opens late fall 2017

The Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales restaurant and brewery, 1504 E. Harper Court, opened in fall 2017 in Harper Court.

The brewery, which was first expected to open this summer, is a combined restaurant and bar featuring a full pub menu unique to the location as well as their signature artisan ales that are brewed in Dexter, Mich.

The 5,800-square-foot restaurant and brewery serves craft beers, distilled spirits, and wines available through the Northern United Brewing Company (NUBC) brand, according to The brewery also features both indoor and outdoor seating, as well as walk-up ordering service.

Aloha Poke celebrates grand opening with ribbon cutting ceremony in Hyde Park

Aloha Poke Co., 5221 S. Harper Court, celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce and Ald. Sophia King (4th) back in October.

“They have a great reputation, they have a lot of people who enjoy sushi and they seem like they have everything down to a science,” King said after the ribbon cutting.

The fast-casual style restaurant chain features a Hawaiian theme and specializes in poke bowls, which is a native Hawaiian dish that traditionally includes chunks of raw, cubed marinated fish (most of the time tuna) tossed over rice and topped with vegetables and umami-based sauces.

Aloha Poke’s bowls range in sizes including little, big, and kahuna. The restaurant offers restaurant-built bowls or the option to build-your-own-bowl. Protein options include tuna, salmon or tofu.

In addition to the Hyde Park location, the group plans to open restaurants in Lake View near Loyola University and in Evanston near Northwestern University.

BBQ Supply Company host grand opening in October

The Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce hosted its ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of The BBQ Supply Company on Friday, Oct. 13, in Hyde Park.

The BBQ Supply Company, 1301 E. 53rd St., specializes in meat assortments of pork ribs, pulled pork, Texas-style smoked briskets, and sausages. The company currently occupies the space formerly held by Yusho Hyde Park, which closed in July.

According to its website, the company opened in 2010 in the West Ridge neighborhood as a small take-out BBQ Joint created by husband and wife team Jared and Amanda Leonard. They wanted to pair Amanda’s love for hospitality and event planning with Jared’s love for American BBQ.

Orangetheory Fitness opens new location in Hyde Park

Orangetheory Fitness opens new location in Hyde Park.

The fitness studio franchise opened on Thursday, Dec. 7, in the City Hyde Park building, 5111 S. Harper Ave.

The fitness center offers customized group fitness level training, high energy, coach-led group workouts and a heart-rate based interval training, according to the company’s website.

The goal of the franchise is to combine both state of the art technology with fitness.

“There’s a lot of culture in the Hyde Park area,” said Adryenne Hearne-Alvarez, owner of Orangetheory Fitness. “But one of the components that’s missing is a customized fitness component.”

Hearne-Alvarez and her brother Derek Hearne currently own four fitness franchises in the South Loop neighborhood, Frankfurt, Ill., Oak Park, Ill., and now Hyde Park.

Dearborn Denim & Apparel opens first brick and mortar store in Hyde Park in May

An online company since 2016, the Dearborn Denim & Apparel Company,1504 East 53rd St., celebrated its grand opening of its first brick and mortar retail shop on Saturday, May 27.

“We don’t want to be [known] as just a store in Hyde Park,” said Kaleb Sullivan, head of retail of Dearborn Denim & Apparel. “We want to be a part of Hyde Park.”

According to Sullivan, Dearborn Denim jeans are made from premium stretch denim loomed in Georgia from West Texas long staple cotton, and sewn by Dearborn Denim’s staff of 15 employees at the company’s factory in the Garfield Park neighborhood.

Rob McMillan, owner of Dearborn Denim & Apparel, has sold the locally made jeans directly to customers online since 2016.

“This is a major development for Dearborn Denim & Apparel – until this point we’ve primarily been selling our jeans online,” McMillan said. “Our new store will allow customers to try on all the different fits and washes – experiencing the quality first-hand before making a purchase. Hyde Park is a great community, and we’re excited to become a part of it.”

The company offers five different fits for men and women: tailored, skinny high-rise, slim, straight leg, and relaxed. They also offer dark wash, medium wash, and black at prices ranging from $59 to $65. McMillan also plans to soon add khakis, shorts, and tops for women to the company’s apparel selection.

Grand Re-Openings

Fabiana’s Bakery moves to 53rd Street

With all recipes made from scratch, Fabiana’s Bakery, 1658 E. 53rd St., held its grand opening celebration on Saturday June 10.

Fabiana’s, which was previously located inside University Church, 5655 S. University Ave., made the move to 53rd St. to provide commerce back on the main streets said Michael Scott Carter, co-owner of Fabiana’s Bakery.

“One of the problems in the community is there have been a lack of businesses on main streets.” Carter said. “Not to be cliché but it’s been the ruin of middle classes across Chicago. We don’t see mom and pop stores peppering the streets anymore.”

Owned by Carter and his wife Fabiana Carter, the bakery specializes in customized cakes such as; wedding cakes, birthday cakes, cookies, mini cakes, cupcakes, pastries and Brazilian sweets. And when it comes to their recipes, the couple said they only use high quality, locally sourced ingredients with no preservatives.

“Our first priority is great taste and customer satisfaction,” said Fabiana Carter, co-owner and head chef of the bakery. “We make sure each recipe is carefully researched and tested.”

The Space: Functional Applied Fitness expands facility

Known as one of the top fitness guru’s in the city, Annie Padrid, owner of “The Space: Functional Applied Fitness LLC,” 5307 S. Hyde Park Blvd., added a new space to her fitness facility.

“We are not relocating,” said Padrid, about the new addition to her fitness location. “We have added an entire second floor.”

After adding the new addition to the facility, Padrid said that her new expansion will feature a set of stairs for her clients to run up and down, a studio for classes, four workout rooms and a host of other options for clients and therapy patients.

“We will have…a corrective exercise station where we work with clients who may be coming out of physical therapy, recovering from an injury, or simply need postural corrections,” Padrid said.

The center will also offer waxing services, spa services and clinical
and diagnostic massage therapy.

Litehouse Grill hosted grand reopening in August

The Litehouse Grill hosted two soft re openings at its new location at 1660 E. 55th St., on Thursday, Aug. 24, and Friday, Aug. 25.  Followed by a grand re-opening a week later on Sunday, Sept. 3.

“We’ll be open all week, getting everything in order and making sure everything is perfectly right for our customers who have been waiting so patiently for us to finally get these doors open and our food out to them in the matter that we do,” said Rico Nance, owner of Litehouse Grill.

Nance originally opened Litehouse Grill at 1373 E. 53rd St. in 2013. After four years at the 53rd Street location, Nance decided to relocate to a larger space so that he could accommodate expanding catering and delivery requests.

Nance originally announced that his grand reopening date would be June 25 but due to city inspections and legal processes, he was forced to push the date back to late August.

Nance also said that the new current Litehouse Grill location provides more dining space for customers, who dine in.

“The ambiance will be so much better,” Nance said. “We’ll have a real dine in experience for you.”

The new restaurant also features an updated menu with expanded meal options that include wine and drinks, and a breakfast menu.

Threading and Waxing Salon opens in Hyde Park

The Threading and Waxing Salon, 1648 E. 53rd St., hosted its grand opening in Hyde Park on Aug. 30.

The salon owned by Sohail Bawany specializes in body waxing, facials, threading and waxing, tinting eyebrows, eye lash extensions, and henna tattoos that are five dollars and up.