Friday, July 20, 2007

Belgian Ale house proposed for Jarvis

There is a proposal for a new Belgian Ale house on Jarvis at Ashland. The prospective owners of this bar are a brother and sister. She owns La Donna, a nice Italian restaurant in Andersonville, one of my favorites. He owns Via Veneto, also a nice restaurant, which near Devon and Lincoln. This proposal is for a high-end place with quality food, not a cheap saloon. The proposal has been presented to the Alderman's Zoning Advisory Committee. It would require a zoning change and approval by the community in order for a liquor license to be approved. Sounds like a business that could be an asset to the community, one that would complement Poitin Stil, Gruppo di Amici, and Taste.

For a long time, Rogers Park folks complained of having very few choices of places to go for a fine meal in a nice restaurant, and have usually gone to Evanston or Andersonville to find what they wanted. The first incarnation of Gateway offered one option, but the version we got after the long closure took that away. Now with Amphora we've got a nicer version. Jamaica Jerk offered another quality restaurant with pleasant ambience. Lake Side Cafe enhances the mix. Cafe Suron certain qualifies for both food and ambience, but is a long walk if you live in Jargowood. Gruppo di Amici offered the first taste of truly upscale dining in the north end of Rogers Park. Poitin Stil and Taste enhance the block. The Belgian Ale house could be the icing on the cake.

Some folks have expressed concern that the lack of parking could be a hindrance. Seems like Cafe Suron has done just fine without much parking. There are an awful lot of potential customers within one mile, an easy walking distance for most of us. Unlike Suron, the 1500 block of Jarvis has an El stop right there. I know a fair number of folks who come on their bikes to visit Gruppo di Amici and Cafe Suron now. No reason why they wouldn't do the same at the Belgian Ale house. Many of these same folks ride to Evanston or Andersonville for the fine dining and drinks that they don't find in RP. It's not hard to add more bike racks, if needed.

Downtown Jargowood has improved so much in the last 5 years. I hope that we'll see a better, livelier version in years to come.


The North Coast said...

LaDonna is a great restaurant!! It would be great for these two to open up a bar at Jarvis and Ashland and I don't think parking will be a problem.

Why do we make so much noise about parking up here when Lakeview and Wrigleyville have much worse parking and yet thrive?

Could it be that they thrive because of the incredible density of both people and businesses?

I've always had the theory that Rogers Park languished to begin with because it is what the late urbanist Jane Jacobs would refer to as a "gray area"- an area lacking in definition,that doesn't have the density to support itself as an urban neighborhood but isn't quite a suburb, either. Rogers Park began to go downhill at age 50, while denser neighborhoods closer in, like Lakeview, deslumified from this date forward.

Wouldn't hurt that area up there to have a few more high density quality condo or apt projects. Not HUGE , mind you, just more 4-story mixed use.

I'd like to see that wretched little strip mall, the one where Joe Moore has his office, razed because that is one dead, ugly corner. A mixed use of two or three stories, with retail fronting the street, would complete that intersection.

Fargo said...

Good points. Lakeview's density contributes a lot to its thriving restaurant and entertainment sector. Andersonville's density is not all that different from Rogers Park. They've made it work. They also don't have the huge number of low income housing units.

I think that a small increase in density, boosting the middle income population that would support the businesses many of us want, could be enough to turn the tide. Seems like it did the trick in Andersonville.

I would so love to see the wretched strip mall disappear. A well designed mixed-use building really would improve Jargowood tremendously.

The North Coast said...

Rogers Park certainly got saddled with an excess number of low-income housing units from the 70s forward, thanks to the huge growth in Section 8 rentals in that time period.

It's incredible how much alike American cities are, and how the same type of neighborhood behaves the same way from city to city. Rogers Park very much resembles University City, which sits on the western border of St. Louis. U. City and St. Louis' silk-stocking Central West End were both ravaged by huge influx of Section 8 tenants. Beautiful apartment buildings with really exceptional, large, luxurious units were destroyed totally, and there was a mass exodus of upper and middle class residents, leaving only the poor along with a relative handful of middle income people who loved the beautiful housing, romantic ambiance and urban amenities too much to leave and sat it out through 25 dismal years of soaring violent crime and rapidly spreading blight. These two St. Louis nabes have never recovered, and even though they are "trendy" and expensive, continue to be dangerous places to live - far worse than RP.

We should never have made it possible for a landlord to make more money from federal rent subsidies than by running a fine market-rate building. Not only have neighborhoods suffered, but middle-income and low-wage people found themselves dealt out of decent rentals as the subsidies drove "market" rents higher.

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