Be a better neighbor. Sign up for EveryBlock to follow and discuss neighborhood news.

Sign up for free →

I looked up the profile for Koch Foods in ReferenceUSA (available through your local library), and it lists Tyler Davis as the executive at that location. The number for the plant is listed as 773-286-4343.

— On the neighbor message Koch Foods Old Irving Park
12:45 p.m.

Agreed. We finally went there a few weeks ago based on an EB recommendation, and we've been back since. They've always gone out of their way to make us feel welcome...and overlook my spirited toddler. These are the good guys who need more neighborhood support.

— On the neighbor message Central Kitchen & Tap - you gotta go
9:43 p.m.

Hi MK -

Sounds like you're in exactly the same position my wife and I were in two years ago. We bought a house in the 6 Corners area and we've been pretty happy with it. It's certainly a step down in terms of overall liveliness, but you more than make up for it with a feeling of comfort. There are a lot of walkable amenities nearby, including the Portage, the Patio, City News, Family Fruit Market, Ruk Sushi, Fischman's, not to mention the park itself.

We've got an almost-two-year-old now, and overall it's felt like a very nice place to bring him up. Let me know here or off-list if you've got any specific questions, and I'll be happy to answer them for you. Good luck on the house hunt!

— On the neighbor message Moving to Portage Park
9:52 a.m.

I've had good work done by Rich Escallier at (773) 282-5857. His website is He's always done a great job, and is committed to making sure works gets done right.

— On the neighbor message Looking for Reliable Handyman
9:36 a.m.

Has there been an Indiegogo site or other online space set up for collecting donations? I wish I had been able to attend last night, but the kid was nursing a fever and I couldn't leave the house.

— On the neighbor message Save the Portage Theater - AS WE KNOW IT!
10:38 a.m.

Took the fam to Central Kitchen and Tap last night, and I'm pleased to report it was an overwhelming success. Service was great (guy at counter: "are you sure you haven't been here before? You might have a doppelganger around here."), and the kiddo enjoyed the crayons and toys they had at the counter. We'll definitely be back. Thanks to everyone for the recommendations - it was good to finally get the kick in the pants to try it out.

— On the neighbor message Family Restaurants for Foodies
12:27 a.m.

We've taken our almost-2-year-old to Ruk on Milwaukee on a number of occasions, and they've always treated us right. Good sushi, nice BYOB, and very accommodating service.

I'm definitely interested in hearing about other suggestions.

— On the neighbor message Family Restaurants for Foodies
7:29 p.m.

Hey, Filament folks:

Are you taking donations for the space? I'm going out of town this weekend so I can't attend the performance, but I'd be happy to contribute to the cause.

— On the neighborhood event Filament's Charlie Brown / Grinch Holiday Party
10 a.m.


You mentioned something about "retractable seating" in one of your earlier posts. Can you provide examples of places that have done this? If there's an option to modify the venue to accommodate concerts without sacrificing the comfort level for the movie screenings.

As someone who lives a stone's throw from the theater, I'd like nothing more than to see it succeed. I remain cautiously optimistic that it can be done. As a former Logan Square resident, I'm definitely more comfortable sticking to the old adage "trust, but verify." I hope the theater management, ownership, and the residents of the community can come together to create the entertainment venue this neighborhood deserves.

10:47 a.m.

Andrew, It depends on the judgeship in question. If you're at the results page, you'll see the retention votes after the elected positions. The cases in which there's one person and a number, that just means that judicial candidate ran unopposed. The first yes/no retention vote shows up on page 10 of the unofficial results document, starting with James Fitzgerald Smith.

And Kathy, the ballot questions are on that document - I just missed them in my first scan of the document. You can find the other results on page 16. Looks like we voted for the city to arrange our own electricity, yes on teacher pensions, and yes on regulating corporate political contributions.

— On the neighbor message Need some voting results
10:20 a.m.

Kathy - You can find the results for the pension question at Click on Election Results - it's the first thing (Proposed Amendment to the Illinois Constitution.)

That page doesn't seem to have results for the other ballot initiatives. I'll poke around and see what I can find.

— On the neighbor message Need some voting results
9:50 a.m.

Naomi, I've been taking my kid to Children's Choice at 3522 North Central since he was about 3 months old. The caregivers are incredibly attentive, and as my kid has gotten older (18 months now), he's made a really good transition from the baby room to the toddler room.

If you'd like more information, I'd be happy to talk off-list. Feel free to send me an email with any questions.

— On the neighbor message Please help me find a daycare!
2:22 p.m.

Sorry, team: baby crisis. We'll try again next time.

— On the neighbor message down with the bushes
8:10 p.m.

Looks like we're planning to go by around 7:45 or so, if anyone wants to join us.

— On the neighbor message down with the bushes
7:12 p.m.

Any thoughts toward a reprise? We couldn't make it tonight, but our schedules should be open tomorrow.

— On the neighbor message down with the bushes
10:33 p.m.

Hear hear. Single drip is the best.

— On the neighbor message City Newstand
1:20 a.m.

@pattymelt -

Maybe what it needs is a Little Free Library:

I would not be averse to contributing to such a venture.

— On the neighbor message down with the bushes
6:06 p.m.

Can you provide some information on what Villari's is, 6CA? The URL is just a placeholder site for the time being.

— On the neighbor message What happens to the belly dancing school?
12:22 p.m.

@Bob - I've taken my rather finicky toddler to Ruk on multiple occasions, and he's always enjoyed his food. The staff has always been accommodating, too.

The restaurant is regularly frequented by folks with babies and children. I would welcome another place like it over a fast food place any day.

— On the neighbor message Chick-fil-A
10:03 p.m.

Great question, Karen. This is definitely cause for celebration, but there are a bunch of "what's next?" type questions left hanging.

— On the neighbor message The Portage Theatre LIVES ON!
2:39 p.m.

Fantastic news! I look forward to patronizing the theater for years to come.

— On the neighbor message The Portage Theatre LIVES ON!
2:23 p.m.

I'm in. Happy to pitch in for the cause.

— On the neighbor message Feature film being shot in Jefferson Park
10:44 p.m.

This sounds like a job for the resident librarian. Or one of them, at least.

A search function is sorely missing on EveryBlock. In its absence, there's always the Goog.

Structure your search string as follows:

<search term>

so if you were to go to Google and type in
"portage theater"
you'd get all the posts on EB that reference the Portage.

Hope this helps.

— On the neighbor message Search function?
12:34 a.m.

Thanks for posting, Shaun. As a resident of the 'hood (just a few blocks away from your proposed location), I want you to know you have my support. Thanks for your perseverance. We'll keep fighting to see positive business development in 6 Corners.

— On the neighbor message Website for Pomo Dolce
2:08 p.m.

As promised, here's the link for the piece WBEZ did on the Portage:

It's the first thing discussed in Hour 2 of the archive, after about a minute of banter.

12:56 p.m.

That's been up since earlier this week, Cal. It's a notice of the application, not its approval.
They're required by law to post that up before any public hearing - in this case the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on April 20th.

12:12 p.m.

Another thought:

I was thinking about the mentions in the Trib and the Nadig articles regarding how the theater managers are attempting to put an offer together. (The Trib quotes Arena saying that the operators "have been trying to put together an offer," while the Nadig paper says "the theater's management team has submitted its own offer to buy the theater and add a jazz club to it.")

I'm a librarian, and many libraries in the area have Friends groups that serve to raise funds and perform other acts of boosterism. Would it be possible to create a friends group for the theater, or possibly the nascent film scene in our neighborhood? Not sure what the legalities would be given that the Portage (and potentially the Patio, as they're just as much in need of our support) are both for-profit entities, but if there's a way to further formalize community activity, so much the better. Especially if the effort to protect the theater goes viral, as the kids say.

11:36 p.m.

Some kind of public showing is vital, but it's important not to come off as directly antagonistic of the church. Probably the best thing to do right now is to pack the seats. If anyone's going to the theater, be sure to take pictures of the crowd. It's important to show just how many different groups make use of the space.

I've been mulling over sending posts to some of the larger web communities that might be sympathetic to our cause. Movie nerd sites, places like Boing Boing and Metafilter, and so on. Still trying to figure out how to present the information, though. Will submit soon.

3:42 p.m.

They're discussing this on WBEZ right now, and comparing to what's happened with a church takeover of the arts space in Wicker Park. Here's the preview.

The archive should be up soon. Will post link if/when it appears.

3:15 p.m.

Nice to see so many of you at the meeting. Sorry I couldn't stay after to chat - I had to get home and put the baby to bed. But I joined PPNA so you'll likely be seeing me around. We can do this.

11:22 a.m.

In case you haven't seen it, Chicagoist has a thorough write-up on this, that also mentions this thread:

If you've reached this conversation via Chicagoist, welcome! Try the salmon.

2:14 p.m.

Bearing all this in mind - and keeping it perfectly explicit that the issue isn't with the church as an institution - what other measures can we take to make our voices known? Talking to Arena is an important step, but it can't be the only one. I'm just spitballing here, but here area few possibilities:

A. Contact the church. Their website lists 773.583.7344 as a phone number and as the email form. Keep it respectful, and stay on topic regarding the importance of the Portage as a keystone of the community.

B. Contact the attorney. The public notice lists 312.782.1983. Again, keep it respectful, but if people make it clear that pursuing the Portage is not worth the effort, he might discourage the motion. If there's a way we can identify Banks' other clients, that might also help maintain the pressure. (If it works for campaigns against talk radio advertisers...)

C. Contact the press. Roger Ebert tweeted about the Facebook group, and it received a notice in Gapers Block, but the pressure needs to be maintained. It'd be impossible to create a space like the Portage from scratch. Stress that element in your comments.

D. Contact other buyers. This is a long shot, but there are theaters like the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin (TX) that promote the same kind of esoterica that makes for the Portage's stock in trade. I know there are others out there. Maybe someone's thinking of expansion.

E. Support the Portage! Go see a movie, or buy tickets for an event.

Any other ideas?

1:13 p.m.

It's theanalogdivide, Kenji. Get your mind out of the gutter.

/on topic: Should there be an organization (a 501c3 or somesuch) devoted to preserving one or both Portage Park theaters? I know next to nothing about arts administration, but I wonder if some kind of membership/patronage program can help improve either venue's sustainability projects. It'd also be a way for chumps like me (i.e., those folks with small children, who can't ever leave the house to do anything fun, ever) to show their support even if they can't attend an event.

1:43 p.m.

Sending in my email now, and spreading the word via my other networks. (Welcome back, Kenji!)

12:22 p.m.

Welcome! Hope your closing went smoothly. If there's anything we can do to introduce you to the 'hood, just ask!

— On the neighbor message Hello Portage Park!
9:56 p.m.

I think it's a great idea, KM. I don't have much to add, except to say that I agree with the other folks on here in saying that workshops would also be a great addition to the services you'd offer. I'd make use of the place if it existed in the neighborhood.

— On the neighbor message Potential New Business in Portage Park
9:56 a.m.

Hear hear! The wife and I had a great time, even if we couldn't stay too long due to the weather. Look forward to this being a regular event!

Now, if we can just get that law passed to allow cooking on food trucks...

— On the neighbor message Thanks to Fischman's and my neighbors!
11:04 a.m.

I will say this: that True Value definitely deserves your business. As a new homeowner, I'm quickly coming to terms with my ineptitude as a handyman. The owner at that location really knows his stuff, and he's more than willing to patiently explain what you need to know.It's a sharp contrast to the big-box stores, where it's often enough of a challenge to find anyone to help you, let alone someone who knows what they're talking about.

10:10 a.m.

My wife and I were in a similar situation, legaldiva. Drawn by the home prices, we moved to Portage Park about a year ago and have really enjoyed it so far. Coming from Logan Square, it's certainly a bit of a downshift activity-wise, but that's counteracted by sheer enthusiasm on the part of all the folks living here. With all the places that have opened in the last year, it's a bit like being on the ground floor of something new.

With good aldermen in Arena and Cullerton, ready access to the Blue Line, and a fabulous park, the neighborhood has a lot to offer, and potential to add even more. Good luck with the search for your new home.

— On the neighbor message Guidance on Portage Park from the locals?
10:13 a.m.

The Mayor's office is tracking phone responses to this current plan. If you'd like to preserve the current level of library services and staffing, we're urging everyone to call City Hall at 312-744-3300.

All you need to say is “My name is _________. I support the Chicago Public Library and don't want any cuts to Library hours, staff, or services. Please fully fund the Library.”

They're counting the number of calls received in support of the Library, so they won't take your name. Have your whole family call and spread the word.

For more information, please check the FB page:

— On the neighbor message Budget Talks - Cuts to Chicago Public Library
8:17 p.m.

Mr. Cullerton: Thank you for taking the time to post a response on here. It means a lot to know that our elected officials are listening, and you raise a valid challenge to those of working to protect this linchpin of the community.

But I know that this proposal wasn't formed in a vacuum. Alternatives Must have been proposed along the way, and I presume you've had seen a few of them in your standing on the Budget Committee. I hope you're continuing to work with your fellow elected officials to pursue solutions.

But still, I'll bite. My tax bill has me paying $125 for library services. I'd easily pay more to preserve a strong system. I also think a smart fee system that encourages use of public transit downtown and in the neighborhoods can be an asset. Part of that may be parking fees, as long as they're actually going to us and not outsourced to an external company.

There are also the questions of salary reductions. Many departments are notoriously top-heavy, and a rigorous examination of how the burden could be more equally distributed is in order. I commend your decision not to take a pay increase this year, but without a council-wide mandate it's little more than a symbolic gesture.

Finally, there's the question of TIF money. No matter who you talk to, the recurring theme throughout this conversation is that nothing is sacred wrt plugging the budget.

That's a few off the top of my head. What does everyone else have?

— On the neighbor message Budget Talks - Cuts to Chicago Public Library
8:15 p.m.

@Bob From Mayfair - this is one of the biggest misconceptions related to libraries, and something that those of us in the field have done an admittedly poor job correcting.
CPL and other libraries have access to a wide variety of resources connected to the "deep web" - material you can't find with a simple Google search. Many of these are news archives and business databases that corporations generally buy for tens of thousands of dollars.
There's also the expertise librarians offer in sorting through the flood of potentially dangerous info online. Wikipedia might help you find the population of Guam, but how can you find out who's vetting the latest bit of research mentioned on CNN?
You're absolutely right- nothing can be sacred with regard to this budget. But the library cuts will cripple remaining staff and services. Once that's gone, it's not coming back.

— On the neighbor message Budget Talks - Cuts to Chicago Public Library
12:23 p.m.

@kenji - I'm probably what you'd call a hipster that's gotten old, fat, and boring. I definitely can't wear skinny jeans any more.

— On the neighbor message Budget Talks - Cuts to Chicago Public Library
11:40 a.m.

(full disclosure: my wife works for CPL. She's not likely to be laid off, but we know many people - employees and library users alike - who will be severely affected by these cuts.)

Contact information for area aldermen are here:
Ward 30: Ariel Rebroyas (phone 773-794-3095, email
Ward 36: Nicholas Sposato (phone 773-836-0036, email
Ward 38: Tim Cullerton (phone 773-545-3838, email
Ward 45: John Arena (phone 773 286-4545, email

— On the neighbor message Budget Talks - Cuts to Chicago Public Library
11:34 p.m.

Renee -
Family Fruit Market on Cicero is everything I ever wanted in a grocery store. Great produce, nice meat selection, a healthy selection of ethnic foods (largely Mexican and Polish), and prices that will make you want to have Jewel investigated for fraud. I'm not sure what exists if you're looking further west, but I do believe there are a few options.

10:06 a.m.

Renee -
Sounds like you're going through the same experience my wife and I just had. We had lived in the Bucktown/Wicker Park/Logan area for the past six years, and went looking for a more affordable neighborhood. We bought a house in Portage Park in March, and have been slowly working to discover our new neighborhood.

The comments everyone else has made are definitely valid. If you're looking for the bustle of your current neighborhood, you'll have to make some adjustments. (For us, having a kid certainly helped us curtail our need to hit the bars every so often.) But it seems that there's a lot of enthusiasm here, and a ton of opportunity for growth. The community here on EveryBlock is a prime example of that.

Between the park, quick access to our jobs (I work in the adjacent burbs, the wife works in Bucktown), and the opportunities for growth, we've been really pleased with our decision to move to the neighborhood. Best of luck finding a place!

9:47 a.m.

Thanks for sharing, Lisa! As a new homeowner and a new parent, it's great to see how many options are out there.

— On the neighbor message Portage Park Write-up for NPN
12:03 a.m.

CareerBuilder has this posting for store managers:

It's a couple of weeks old, which makes me wonder if they're moving on to the next phase of hiring.

— On the neighbor message CW Price
9:56 a.m.