There are so many things going on in and around our township that I can’t confine myself to one topic.
Like all others, I mourn the departure of the Chew Chew Cafe, one of Riverside’s few successful businesses-in fact, one of Riverside’s few remaining businesses.
As I have noted before, Riverside keeps losing businesses faster than property taxes can rise in exchange. It was fun to read Joanne Kosey’s comments about earlier incarnations of restaurants in that location. I especially remember the Grill-ette, which had the most incredibly greasy hamburgers and fries, but which we in grade and high school all loved to indulge in, over and above that stuff our parents cooked for us. And, Uncle Frankie’s gave the location a good try as well. But, none could rival the success of the Chew Chew.
We all ponder if and when Scott Zimmer, the Chew’s owner, will surface with a new Chew Chew-somewhere. With the Chew’s popularity, I expect a bidding war among municipalities, giving Zimmer a great choice on where to settle, if he chooses to go back into the restaurant business. Forest Park, with its thriving, gentrifying Madison Street, is a possible successor to Riverside. And Forest Park is business-friendly to boot.
Anyway, it is a sad day for Riverside to lose its treasured Chew Chew. But, best of luck to Zimmer in whatever future endeavors he undertakes. Thanks for the memories.
To another topic-fireworks wars. Yup, there was a bit more fireworks between Riverside and North Riverside over July 4 with regard to North Riverside’s annual, professional fireworks exhibition. It seems that some folks suffered some burns last year, allegedly from some North Riverside fireworks which went offsides.
That caused Riverside to keep folks out of Patriots Park on 26th Street, which faces the fireworks show. North Riverside would have claimed that the burns were not from their display, which is very professional and long on experience.
But, the real firecrackers went off when Riverside filed a complaint about the fireworks, then demanded information about the fireworks that the North Riverside-contracted fireworks company was going to use. Ultimately, Riverside filed a Freedom of Information request with North Riverside to get the information.
As North Riverside Mayor Richard Scheck suggested, why did not the presidents of the two villages just exchange a call and bring some sanity to all of this? Ya gotta love bureaucracy when it has the bit in its mouth.
I don’t know where the situation sits now, but it is never too late for calls to be exchanged and peace brought to the valley.
It is goodbye to the Cermak Plaza’s ugly, degenerating stack of old cars called “The Spindle.”
Yup, it’s coming down as the plaza, one of the earliest shopping plazas ever built, does a 50-year makeover. Apparently the mall’s current ownership would like a free-standing Walgreen’s there, and does not know where they could relocate the spindle, if at all, due to the cost and other considerations.
Well, make it easy on yourself, plaza management. Send the old cars to the junkyard where they belong.
I recall talking with David Bermant, the shopping center’s original owner, early on in my legislative career, when I represented Berwyn.
Residents and officials within the city tried every which way to rid the plaza of the spindle, and the now departed “pork chop of garbage” sculpture that once faced Harlem Avenue.
Bermant, now deceased, took me on, and said he would neither relent nor remove the contentious sculptures and suggested that I and my constituents were “rednecks” who did not appreciate public art. He said he would keep the sculptures there to “educate us” into understanding what art was all about.
Frankly, I am glad to see the vertical auto graveyard go. Yes, it brought notoriety to the area, but who needs such bad or embarrassing press that makes us all look like a bunch of goofs.
Having said that, I still marvel that the State of Illinois put “The Clouds” sculpture in front of the Thompson Center and paid good money for it. I admit it. I guess I am a redneck and lack appreciation of art.
Those lower halves of giants’ statues in Chicago’s Grant Park also do not score too highly on my list of artworks. I can understand why folks walking their dogs there felt that it was OK for the dogs to mistake this fleet of large legs and feet bereft of bodies for fireplugs.
The July 4 parades in Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield had great turnouts, helped by the weather-a perfect day.
I think that Brookfield had more people out than I ever remember. North Riverside, however, has the best draw with the most things going on-tents and booths everywhere. It was a great July 4, but sad, noting all of our young people overseas fighting a war.
Wish they were home again.