#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Show Notes from Episode 23 with designer Michael Newman of estudiotres and Michael John Newman | Design + Build

This week, Laura and Joelle are joined by, Michael Newman, the Chicago-based principal and creative director of estudiotres, a branding, design, development and marketing firm that he runs nationally with two other designers. Michael, who goes by newman, has recently been dubbed an “Andersonville Craftsman” by the Chicago Eater for his recent work on Brightwok Kitchen in River North via his own firm, Michael John Newman | Design + Build. He has also worked on projects throughout Andersonville and Chicago, including the redesign of our 2018-19 Andersonville Neighborhood Guide.


newman recording in Studio C at Transistor.

“It’s already a beautiful neighborhood. It already has beautiful people. We just have to get out of the way and tell their story.”
– newman


Listen to Episode 23 with Michael Newman!

Here are some references from Episode 23 that you may want to check out:

  • newman is from a small town in Florida and majored in sculpture, but after graduation, jumped into the design field where more jobs were available. Upon moving up to Chicago, he worked for a design house called Modge Design for three or four years before breaking out on his own.
  • newman’s partner in estudiotres, principal John Hopefl lives in Prescott, Arizona and runs the second studio there. newman and Hopefl went to school together in St. Augustine, and started the company together knowing they may live in different locations.
  • estudiotres redesigned the Andersonville Chamber branding in 2013. Ironically, the iconic water tower design was launched just before the old water tower had to be taken down in 2014 due to water damage! The new fiberglass water tower was reinstalled on August 8, 2017.
  • estudiotres has also designed the logos and branding for Andersonville Wine and Spirits (5201 N Clark), Jin Ju (5203 N Clark), and more!
  • newman was one of the creative forces behind the re-design of the 2018-19 Andersonville Neighborhood Guide. Newman references a quote from architect Henry van de Velde to better explain the approach to this year’s guide – learn more about van de Velde here.

“There was already a narrative; it was just my job to make that narrative linear to tell as story.”
– newman on designing the new 2018-19 Neighborhood Guide


Pick up a free copy of the Guide at the Andersonville Chamber offices (5217 N Clark) or at area businesses.

  • newman loves living in the neighborhood and seeing the weekly prep that goes into the weekend business. He specifically calls out Scout (5221 N Clark), Lady Gregory’s (5260 N Clark), Cowboys and Astronauts (1478 W Summerdale), and Passerotto (5420 N Clark).
  • newman recently started his own design firm, Michael John Newman | Design + Build. He hooked up with a friend named Seth Hanno to work on rebranding a restaurant, Cemitas Puebla, which was featured on Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. The owner very much wanted to showcase Puebla, Mexico. newman was hands on with building and designing art installations, building furniture, and instructing contractors.

newman working on an art installation at Cemitas Puebla.

  • Through this work, newman was hooked up with Brightwok Kitchen, which was recently written up for their new location in River North in Chicago Eater. View the article here.
  • There are two types of furniture that newman designs: functional couches and vanity lights, and installation furniture at the restaurants. For example, Brightwok’s wall installation features over 20,000 chopsticks to create 4ft tall letters! He also designed their built-in bench seating with “The Future is Bright” made out of individual wooden spheres. Check it out on his website here, and view one of the photos below!

newman’s installation at Brightwok.

  • If given the chance, newman would like to trade places for the day with Great Lakes Clinical Trials (5149 N Ashland). He’s love to go back to school for his doctorate in Evolutionary Biology and the trials going on right now are fascinating and super important.

“If we’re going to do something, we better do it on purpose.”

Visit newman on the following platforms:
Online: estudiotres.com  | michaeljohnnewman.com
Facebook: facebook.com/MichaelJohnNewmanDesignandBuild
Instagram: @michaeljohnnewman

#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Show notes from episode 22 with our summer review and Rhonda Welbel and Al Rose of Kopi Cafe

We kick off this week’s episode with a special Summer Review: recapping July’s Summer Sidewalk Sale, previewing this week’s outdoor movie night with the 48th Ward and the Taste of Andersonville on Wednesday, August 15, and highlighting the new dates for Arts Week this September.  

Then, Laura and Joelle are joined by Rhonda Welbel and Al Rose, co owners of Kopi Café located at 5317 N Clark. With its world-traveler decor, hand-painted table tops and clocks set to different international times, Kopi offers a quiet respite any time of day. Their extensive menu is packed with sandwiches, salads and snacks and features vegetarian, vegan and gluten free items. Kopi also offers wine, beer, and specialty cocktails. If you’re looking to get away from it all, Kopi can transport you to another world for the price of a cup of coffee.


(From left) Laura Austin, Rhonda Welbel, Al Rose, and Joelle Scillia in Transistor’s main store.

“We are travelers. Both of us have been traveling since we were pretty young, and we fell in love with other cultures and wanted to bring that to our home town of Chicago.”
– Rhonda Welbel

When you’re traveling around the world, some of the favorites places you can duck into are the local cafes.”
– Al Rose

Listen to Episode 22 with Rhonda Welbel and Al Rose!

Here are some references from Episode 22 that you may want to check out:

  • Kopi is inspired by a passion for travel. Rhonda and Al have traveled to many places around the world, and some of their favorite places to duck into in any neighborhood were always the cafés.  This inspired the opening of Kopi Café on September 10, 1991.
  • Kopi means coffee in Indonesian and comes from the time Rhonda and Al spent in Bali. People responded quickly to the store after it first opened.
  • Rhonda’s background is in art and design, and she worked in film and animation and special effects. Al’s background is as a musician/songwriter, as a janitor at the Chicago Public Library, and also had a firewood business with his brother-in-law. Kopi Cafe will celebrate 30 years in 2021!
  • Al is very proud of Kopi’s menu, including the soups and sandwiches salads as well as the fun names that are associated with them. Check out the food menu here! They also feature Smokey the Beet cocktail made with fresh beet juice with Mezcal, tequila, agave and lemon juice, shaken Bond style. View the creative drinks here! The menu has grown immensely over the years. The cafe used to have a very basic muffin/bagel menu, which Rhonda refers to this as a Cafe 101 menu.
  • Kopi serves alcohol and is open very late! Kopi went 18 years without a liquor license and has now had theirs for 9 or 10 years, but still have people surprised to walk in the door and have that option. Rhonda and Al are both late night people and Kopi is open until 11PM Sunday-Thursday and Midnight on Friday and Saturday. Folks can head over after a theater show at Raven (6157 N. Clark) Rivendell (5779 N. Ridge) or Steep (1115 W. Berwyn) for a late night snack, drink or coffee. Joelle highly recommends their Chai!
  • The Kopi Cafe logo was designed by graphic designer and friend to Al and Rhonda, Harlan Wallach.

A Kopi mug posed in Studio C at Transistor.

  • On Kopi’s new website, the homepage video was shot by Brooklyn Filmmaker Robert Kolodny of House of Nod. He’s also shot music videos for Al’s music. Click for Official Music Videos: I hear the laughing sound of lists and Spin Spin Dizzy
  • Larry Vodak was recently on our podcast (Listen to Larry’s episode here), and Scout (5221 N. Clark) provided the globe light fixture in the front entrance of Kopi.
  • Kopi hosts a Monday Night Music Series at 8PM with no cover and delicious house margaritas for only $6! Hear all about the musicians on the podcast, but checkout the the lineup here.
  • Al and his band have played for 15 or more years at Midsommarfest. He’s toured around the world, has 7 albums out, and will begin teaching a songwriting class this fall at the Music Institute of Chicago.
  • A large number of marriage proposals have occurred at Kopi and it is first date central according to Al and Rhonda. Al ended up officiating the wedding of a couple that met on their first date at Kopi!
  • Kopi also features an in-store boutique featuring local artists from around the world. Rhonda and her partner Lyn Pusztai have a jewelry line in the shop called Roulette 18. The jewelry features all recycled silver!
  • Travel books are sold at Kopi Cafe and both Rhonda and Al feel that they are still useful even in the days of the internet because there are some places you can’t access on your phone. Al’s favorite thing is finding stubs tucked inside and seeing the memories come flooding back.

“I do love having a travel book – it shows it’s history when you’re done. It’s beat up and it’s a little tale of your travels.”
– Rhonda Welbell

  • Kopi Cafe is participating in the Taste of Andersonville again this year. Al and Rhonda love the community spirit and that the event brings people into the cafe that have never been before. This year they are serving Ruggelach on the KNIFE route.
  • If given the chance to trade places with another business for the day, Al and Rhonda would trade places with a bank like North Side Federal (5159 N. Clark). Full of history, the building’s limestone facade encloses a vintage lobby containing all the trappings of a prohibition era Chicago bank. These features include a spiked teller cage replete with bullet-proof glass, gun-ports, and tear gas dispensers.
  • Learn about the bank and more on the Swedish American Museum’s summer walking tour!
Kopi Interior

Kopi Café interior.

“If I yell beer in the middle of the morning shift, it means we are being robbed!”
– Al Rose

Visit Kopi Café on the following platforms:
Online: kopicafechicago.com
Facebook: facebook.com/kopicafechicago
Instagram: @kopicafe

#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Show notes from Episode 21 with Michael Plageman of American Family Insurance, Plageman Agency, INC

This week, Laura and Joelle are joined by Michael Plageman, American Family Insurance Agent at the Plageman Agency, Inc. Michael has been a longtime supporter of the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce. As one reviewer said, “Michael is an amazing agent and consummate professional.” With offices in Park Ridge and Lakeview, Michael is ready and willing to tackle all of insurance needs. He is also a sponsor of our upcoming Taste of Andersonville progressive dinner crawl on Wednesday, August 15!

Michael Plageman recording with us in Transistor's Studio C.

Michael Plageman recording with us in Transistor’s Studio C.

“For me, I wanted to marry that things that I wanted to do; have a business, but also do something important for the community.”
– Michael Plageman

Listen to Episode 21 with Michael Plageman!

Here are some references from Episode 21 that you may want to check out:

  • Michael was born in Ohio, then lived in Indiana up until 5 years ago when he moved to Chicago in 2013, right before the Polar Vortex.
  • Michael’s background is in Development for non-profits. He worked specially with the Boy Scouts of America and The Damien Center. He gained his sense of community and giving back from this first half of his career.
  • Michael started as an agent with American Family Insurance only two years ago. He got all of his licensing first (home, auto, life, etc.) in order to open his own offices. 
  • Michael protects anywhere you live and anything you drive, as well as the items within the home. He also provides insurance for small businesses. View plans here.
  • The DreamKeep initiative that Michael mentions is a program American Family Insurance has launched as a rewards program for their customers.
  • Get renters insurance! Michael explains why renters insurance is important for covering items to be replaced immediately and also to provide the money to put you elsewhere.
  • Bundling does save you money! Michael is also licensed in 8 different states so he can better assist customers with secondary homes in other states. He’s able to work with umbrella liability insurance across all properties.
  • Michael is sponsoring the 2018 Taste of Andersonville progressive dinner crawl on August 15, has sponsored other events in the past, and is a regular attendee of our Third Thursday Networking event, doing his best to bring other professionals to each one.
  • Michael would love to switch places with Urban Pooch (5400 N Damen) and George’s Ice Cream & Sweets (5306 N Clark). 
Michael set up for the 2018 Summer Sidewalk Sale

Michael set up for the 2018 Summer Sidewalk Sale

” Consistency is the number one key of being successful at networking events. Networking is nothing without good follow up.”
– Michael Plageman

Visit Plageman Agency, INC on the following platforms:
Online: plagemanagency.com 
Facebook: facebook.com/MichaelPlagemanAgency
Twitter: @ChicagoDreamAgt
LinkedIn: Michael Plageman

#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Notes from Episode 20 with Joey Crandford of Chicago Magic Lounge

This week, Laura and Sara are joined by Joey Cranford, co-owner and CEO of Chicago Magic Lounge where the main attraction is the magic and can be experienced at three different spaces throughout the venue: at the front bar, in the 120 seat main cabaret-style theatre, and the more intimate 43 seat-654 Club. Chicago Magic Lounge is located at 5050 N. Clark Street in Andersonville and is open for magic, signature cocktails and small bites seven days a week.

Joey opens the night at our Andersonville Honors Gala in March 2018.

Joey opens the night at our Andersonville Honors Gala in March 2018.

“I get my haircut here [in Andersonville], I buy my shoes from Alamo, I have radios in my office from Transistor, I got my wall art framed from Foursided; I do everything here”
– Joey Cranford  

Listen to Episode 20 with Joey Cranford!

Here are some references from Episode 20 that you may want to check out:

  • Joey came to Chicago and trained with The Second City, the iO Theatre and The Annoyance Theatre.  He has acted in shows like Chicago Fire and Better Call Saul
  • Joey was a theatre kid who grew up being in school plays. He went to school for theatre, but he kept transferring to bigger and bigger schools throughout Texas to test his acting abilities against a larger pool of competitors.
  • After a brief time in LA, Joey came to Chicago to train in improv. He was excepted into Second City’s conservatory program and viewed it like grad school.  He loved improv because he didn’t have to remember a script. He and a few other guys went on tour doing improv for a living for three years.
  • Joey then worked as a promotional MC (master of ceremonies) for Ford Motor Company.  While that became his living, he searched for other things to occupy his time as a hobby. He found a juggling club based out of the Alternatives space in Uptown, but didn’t feel like juggling was his true calling.

“If your hobby becomes your job, then you need another hobby”
– Joey Crandford

  • Joey had never seen a live magician until he was 32 at his friend’s wedding
  • Joey got his start in magic through a joke of sorts: Joey and his wife were at Walgreens and there was a Criss Angel magic set that said a $250 value for $29.95. They joked that they could sell its parts wholesale and make a fortune. His wife later gave him that same magic set one Christmas and he ended up enjoying it so much, he wanted to learn real magic. So he read, watched, and learned how to do sleight of hand magic.
  • Joey discovered Magic Inc. here in Chicago where he met magicians and worked his way into the magic community, and later on, upon opening Chicago Magic Lounge, Joey’s entertainment director gifted him a signed poster of Criss Angel Mindfreak (framed at Foursided – 5061 N Clark) signed by Criss and wishing Joey good luck with Chicago Magic Lounge!
Chicago Magic Lounge ribbon cutting in honor of their grand opening, February 2018.

Chicago Magic Lounge ribbon cutting in honor of their grand opening, February 2018.

  • Initially, Joey’s magic group performed at Uptown Underground on Thursday nights, but he had a vision while reading Now You See Them, Now You Don’t – My life in the magic bars of Chicago by Bill Weimer to open a dedicated magic lounge. His group eventually grew the programming to several nights a week at Uptown Underground, and then Joey was approached by his current business partner, Don Clark, to start their own lounge.
  • Joey has lived in “Andersonville adjacent” for the last 12 years. He had walked by the current location at 5050 N Clark several times when it was a commercial laundry building and found the building to be full of mystique and intrigue.
Joey (left) and Don Clark (back middle) with Chamber staff at the Chicago Magic Lounge groundbreaking in June 2017 at 5050 N. Clark

Joey and Don Clark (back middle) with Chamber staff at the Chicago Magic Lounge groundbreaking back in June 2017 at 5050 N. Clark

  • Joey and Don decided on a 1930s, post-prohibition feel in the Chicago Magic Lounge, to come out of the Victorian era and into art-deco style. The first magic bar opened in Chicago in 1936, and they also wanted to nod to that.
  • Misdirection is the secret behind magic, “Obviously, we don’t live in a Harry Potter universe, but we want you to get as close to that as possible.”   
  • During an evening at Chicago Magic Lounge, you can engage with the space as much as you want to.  It has an “onion peel effect.” Preview the venue here.
Joey Cranford. Photo by Mike Rivera.

Joey Cranford. Photo by Mike Rivera.

“The world we live in right now is full of all kinds of crazy things and we are just aching for a little misdirection”
– Joey Cranford

Visit Chicago Magic Lounge on the following platforms:
Online: chicagomagiclounge.com
Facebook: facebook.com/ChicagoMagicLounge
Instagram: @chicagomagiclounge
Twitter: @Chi_MagicLounge

#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Notes from Episode 19 with Larry Vodak of Scout

In this week’s episode, Sara and Laura are joined by Larry Vodak, owner and shopkeeper of Scout, an urban furniture shop and design business located at 5221 N. Clark.  At Scout you will find vintage, reclaimed, repurposed furniture, and industrial accessories.  Visit often as the inventory rotates daily.

Larry Vodak and Sara Dinges in Transistor’s Studio C.

“Find your passion, and then figure out a way to make a living out of it”
– Larry Vodak

Listen to Episode 19 with Larry Vodak!

Here are some references from Episode 19 that you may want to check out:

  • Larry spent 26 years in the ad business, but as the tide shifted in marketing he decided it wasn’t for him anymore. He developed a passion for antiquing from his ex in-laws. They used to always say “let’s go scouting,” which Larry translated as antiquing.  That’s where Scout’s name originated.
  • Larry felt like Chicago needed a very curated, neighborhood antique store that was run by someone who really cared about it. Scout was opened 10 years ago by the “seat of my pants,” says Larry.
  • Andersonville is so special because there is a connection between the neighborhood and the businesses. “The folks that continue to be the backbone of our business are the ones within a 10 block radius,” says Larry, and Sara references the same type of comment from Episode 1 of the podcast with Michael Bransford of Vincent (1475 W Balmoral)
  • What is Retail Agglomeration? Larry references this theory in his interview. He realized that he would benefit if there were more home stores like him, near him. “When there are other entities in the area, you cannot afford to become loose in your position – Positioning is the art of sacrifice.”
  • “The Scout Look” is hard to define, but for example, taking a courthouse table out of its original setting is when it becomes truly special. He especially loves Remington Tables from libraries. The look is all about being complete and functional without being formal or fussy.
  • Larry has three recommendations from first time home decorators: Never bring anything into the home that you don’t love; instead of buying three medium pieces for a home, buy one very large statement piece, even a piece that is very tall; and good upholstery is key.  
  • Scout’s design services now represent 50% of the store’s revenue
  • Larry got started with interior design when he was approached by Anne Rashford from the Museum of Science and Industry to design the interior of their Smart Home with all vintage pieces, and he was asked to design the home for a second year in a row! He gives much credit to Anne for believing in him before he believed in himself.
Larry posing with a 110-year-old roll top desk. Photo from @scoutdesign

Larry posing with a 110-year-old roll top desk. Photo from @scoutdesign

“Don’t spend a day doing something you don’t love”
– Larry Vodak does not believe in retirement and fully anticipates working for the rest of his life.

  • Larry’s inspiration has come in many ways: from customers and from developers. One developer who had seen Larry’s work on the Smart home, asked him to redesign his dream home in Lincoln Park, which was covered in a Chicago Magazine feature! This project really set Scout on its trajectory of work. He is also inspired by artists, both furniture designers and visual artists.
Scout's shop interior. Photo from @scoutdesign

Scout’s shop interior. Photo from @scoutdesign

  • Larry has been a part of Andersonville Arts Week since the very beginning and he loves all of the events that are put on by the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce because they are so good for the neighborhood. He’s looking forward to participating in the event this year, September 12-16 and has a big kick-off party planned for Friday night on September 14. He’s also planning something special to incorporate the expanded forms of art again this year including culinary art.
  • Sara brings up a comment made from Hallie Borden, owner of Milk Handmade (5137 N Clark) in Episode 13 of the podcast, when she reflects on Larry telling her, “Enough! Open your doors already!” In this same sentimentality, Larry believes in getting to know all the shops in Andersonville, and he loves going into Andies (5253 N Clark), Transistor (5224 N Clark) Candyality (5225 N Clark), Tilly’s (5232 N Clark) and all the other shops around the neighborhood.  
  • He would like to trade places with the owners of Taste of Lebanon (1509 W Foster) for a day. He also would love to trade with Andersonville Wine and Spirits (5201 N Clark), Michael from Vincent, Tim and Bob at Brownstone Antiques (5234 N Clark), Susan at Tilly’s and Karin at the Swedish American Museum (5211 N Clark).
  • The next step is to evolve the brand of Scout. 
Scout storefront featuring artwork by Chuck Meyers, and artist Larry works with frequently. Photo from @scoutdesign.

Scout storefront featuring artwork by Chuck Meyers, and artist Larry works with frequently. Photo from @scoutdesign.

“Small retail has to become more experiential. We have to become the Floyd’s Barbershop of antique retail.”
-Larry Vodak

Scout will be participating in this weekend’s annual Andersonville Summer Sidewalk Sale! Join Larry and 30+ other businesses for outdoor sales on antiques, books, shoes, home decor, and more!

Visit Scout on the following platforms:
Online: scoutchicago.com (site under construction)
Instagram: @scoutdesign

2018 Summer Sidewalk Sale: Busker Schedule


The annual Andersonville Summer Sidewalk Sale takes place at the end of every July with outdoor sales from 30+ area businesses. This weekend, the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce has programmed musicians and performers throughout the district to enhance the shopping experience! Please see the schedule below, and don’t forget to tip our buskers!


– Linda Smith-singer/songwriter @ former Turley Road space (5239 N. Clark)

– Katia Fetiosa-cello @ the Dala Horse (Farragut and Clark)
Klaas Folkernmagician @ Summerdale and Clark


John Lammsinger/songwriter @ Summerdale & Clark

– Katia Feitosa-cello @ Transistor (5224 N. Clark)
Edd Fairmanmagician @ former Turley Road space (5239 N. Clark)

Sad Girls ClubR&B @ Summerdale & Clark

The Ron and Rachel Showroots americana @ the Dala Horse (Farragut and Clark)
Edd Fairmanmagician @ former Turley Road space (5239 N. Clark)

VandaBobsguitar/bass @ Lost Larson (5318 N. Clark)
Learn more about Bob Goins (one half of the VandaBobs) on his episode of #AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast!


Edd Fairmanmagician @ former Turley Road space (5239 N. Clark)

Sad Girls ClubR&B @ Summerdale & Clark

Michelle Perryclassic country @ Murray & White (5416 N. Clark)
Klaas Folkernmagician @ the Dala Horse (Farragut and Clark)

Harmonizers-all women barbershop a capella choir @ Summerdale & Clark

– Katia Feitosa-cello @ Murrary & White (5416 N. Clark)
– Jim Casey-fiddle @ the Dala Horse (Farragut and Clark)
Bob Horanillustrator @ Dollop Diner (5060 N. Clark)

Heather Riordanaccordion @ Murray and White (5416 N. Clark)
Pullman Morris Dancersdancers @ Berwyn and Clark

#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Notes from Episode 18 with Terese Lang McDonald of Candyality

In this week’s episode we are joined by Terese Lang McDonald, owner of Candyality located at 5225 N Clark.  Candyality carries thousands of bulk items and sweet treats including gummies, sours, taffy, and more. If you want to view paradise, close your eyes, make a wish and enter into a world of pure imagination. Just look for the sweet corner candy shop next to the blue Dala horse in Andersonville.

Terese in Studio C at Transistor.

Terese in Studio C at Transistor.

“I had my eye on Andersonville almost from the beginning”
– Terese Lang McDonald

Listen to Episode 18 with Terese Lang McDonald!

Here are some references from Episode 18 that you may want to check out:

  • Candyality has locations in the Southport Corridor, Water Tower Place and Andersonville.  She chose Andersonville because she lives close and it is such a vibrant neighborhood and filled with small independent businesses. Check out all locations here.  
  • Originally, Terese was in politics working for Terry Thompson, but then she went into the beauty industry.  When she left the industry she was the vice-president for Yves Saint Laurent.  
  • Terese created a module about candy personalities for a sales training ice breaker and it went over really well. She and her team were asked to go overseas and teach the candy personality module. Terese had originally planned to open a beauty apothecary shop but opened Candyality instead. Candy + personality= Candyality. The name is actually Trademarked.
Terese and her staff show off candy offerings at Candyality.

Terese and her staff show off candy offerings at Candyality.

“People that didn’t like each other became best friends over a piece of candy”
– Terese Lang McDonalad

  • Terese serves as president for the SSA 27 for her Southport location in Lakeview and she hopes that she can serve the community well.
  • Candyality just celebrated National Candy Month this past June and Terese and her staff attend the Sweets & Snacks Expo here in Chicago at the end of each May to learn about new candy offerings.
  • When shoppers pick out candy at Candyality, the staff will look at each bag and offer a candy “personality” or Candyality reading based on each shopper’s selection upon checkout! We have some fun with Terese doing live candy personalities on air in this episode.  
  • The most popular candies in Andersonville are of course Swedish Fish, sour belts, milk chocolate pretzel twist, malted milk balls and english toffee slab.
  • Terese watches Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory almost every day in one of her stores and still loves it.
  • Candyality has just started offering Mochi, a very popular item in the summer. Mochi is a Japanese ice cream ball encased in a sweet rice dough.
  • Terese made a Skittles wrapper dress for one of the malls downtown.  The next year she approached Wrigley Gum and asked if they would sponsor them to do a series of dresses that would tell their brand story. See the Candy dresses in person at the shop!
  • Candyality is participating in Taste of Andersonville this year on Wednesday, August 15 from 6-9PM, as well as sponsoring the first Candy 5K here in Chicago. The race takes place on September 22 at 8AM in Lincoln Park and benefits Girl Forward.
  • If given the chance to trade places with another business owners, Terese would trade with Rick Verkler, the General Manager of The Guesthouse Hotel (4872 N Clark).
Terese poses with the "timeless" candies available at the shop, including the Necco Wafers she mentions in the episode!

Terese poses with the “timeless” candies available at the shop, including the Necco Wafers she mentions in the episode!

Visit Candyality on the following platforms:
Online: candyality.com 
Facebook: facebook.com/CandyalityChicago
Instagram: @candyality
Twitter: @candyality

#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Notes from Episode 17 with Bob Goins from Classes on Clark

This week, Laura and Sara are joined by Bob Goins, owner of Classes on Clark.  Bob teaches guitar to people of all ages, and is currently located in the beautiful space above Brimfield at 5219 N. Clark. During this episode, Bob even plays a lovely rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” to demonstrate fingerstyle guitar for our listeners!


Bob Goins upstairs in Brimfield where he teaches for Classes on Clark.

“I knew how good [playing the guitar] made me feel and I wanted others to feel that good too.”
– Bob Goins

Listen to Episode 17 with Bob Goins!

Here are some references from Episode 17 that you may want to check out:

  • Bob is from Dayton, Ohio. He started playing guitar at age 7 and the first song he learned was “More Than a Feeling” by Boston, which was brand new at the time! He taught himself to play songs directly from that record.  
  • Bob moved to Cincinnati in 1993 and started giving lessons out of his apartment. His friend owned the former Children’s Music Association in Cincinnati, and one day he was asked to fill in and teach guitar there, and the kids loved him. They offered him his first professional teaching job.  
  • Bob was all packed and ready to go to Oregon (due to a fascination with Puget Sound) when his friend called and told him he was going to Chicago for the weekend and asked if he wanted to go with. After loving his visit so much, Bob changed his plan and moved to Chicago in 1997. He was working here at a coffee shop, when his friend encouraged him to go get a job at the Old Town School of Folk Music. He started there in 1998 and has been teaching there ever since.  
  • Bob formally lived in Lincoln Park for about 16 years, but one of his students showed him Andersonville, and he fell in love with the idea of living and working in the same neighborhood. He talked with the owners of Brimfield Antiques (5219 N Clark) about renting their upstairs room during weekday afternoons to teach, and Bob has been teaching Classes on Clark there since October 2017.
Classes on Clark is located upstairs above Brimfield at 5219 N Clark and right next door to the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce offices!

Classes on Clark is located upstairs above Brimfield at 5219 N Clark and right next door to the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce offices!

  • You will receive a Music 101 lesson in this episode! Bob teaches fingerstyle guitar, which takes all three parts or music (harmony, melody, rhythm) and puts them together in a finger picking method that allows listeners to recognize the song without hearing it sung. He then graces us with a rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” cheering for his north side Cubs.
  • Both children and adults alike start lessons with a lot of excitement when they are first beginning to learn guitar. Bob doesn’t believe in teaching scales, but teaching around the chords and muscle memory. Bob believes that we are all natural musicians and it gives us a great sense of accomplishment to learn to play.
  • Bob’s taught beginners who start at the age of 80 years old and now have a lot of time on their hands. Some come to music because it’s something more than the day-to-day of life.    
  • Bob often plays at Simon’s Tavern (5210 N Clark) here in Andersonville.  He plays solo as Bob Goins, plays in a duet called the VandaBobs, a trio (that keeps changing names), and a quartet, last called Treated and Released. The next band name his going to play under is the Aggravated Anglers.
Bob Goins and Vanda Kvjatkovski of the VandaBobs upstairs in Brimfield.

Bob Goins and Vanda Kvjatkovski of the VandaBobs upstairs in Brimfield.

“Music touches on things inside of you, and it opens up parts of yourself that you may not have otherwise acknowledged. It doesn’t judge or grade you, music just is.”
– Bob Goins

Bob Goins is temporarily closing Classes on Clark in September 2018 to relocate, but is teaching classes up until that point. Please email him directly at admin@classesonclark.com to schedule.

Visit Classes on Clark on the following platforms:
Online: classesonclark.com
Facebook: facebook.com/classesonclark
Instagram: @classesonclark
Twitter: @ClassesOnClark

#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – notes from Episode 16 with Alma Gutierrez of Cassona Home Furnishings and Accessories

In this week’s episode, Laura and Joelle are joined by Alma Gutierrez founder and owner of Cassona Home Furnishings and Accessories, located at 5241 N Clark.  Cassona has been serving the Andersonville community by offering affordable and high quality furniture since 1999. Shoppers can discover smaller scale items like vases and picture frames, as well as larger scale items like sofas and tables with the help of Cassona’s dedicated and friendly staff.

Alma Guitierrez inside of her store, Cassona, in Andersonville.

Alma Guitierrez inside of her store, Cassona, in Andersonville.

“Andersonville caught my attention because it’s a very quaint and very intimate neighborhood.”
– Alma Gutierez

Listen to Episode 16 with Alama Gutierrez! 

Here are some references from Episode 16 that you may want to check out:

  • The neighborhood has become more gentrified since Alma first opened here. But, it has become more active and more businesses have opened. Alma really enjoys Big Jones (5347 N Clark) , Ora Sushi (5143 N Clark )  and now Octavio (5310 N Clark)
  • Cassona means large house or mansion in Spanish. At first Alma was strictly importing items from Mexico, so she felt it was important to capture the Spanish aspect of her business in its name. She did, however, add the extra “s” to nod to Italian culture.
  • When Alma traveled for her past job, she fell in love with all of the different cultures and subcultures that she came across, and she decided she wanted to make these items available to the U.S market.  
  • Before opening Cassona, Alma worked in real estate which is something that she still does currently.  Even before that, she worked for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.  
  • Paris and Egypt are Alma’s favorite places to travel to, but she recommends first time international travelers to visit Asia, as it is one of the most magical places she has ever been to. She specifically mentions Halong Bay in Vietnam. She wants to go to Portugal in the future too, because she hears it beautiful and inexpensive.  
Sofa lines carried at Cassona.

Sofa lines carried at Cassona.

  • Cassona carries sofa lines that are produced in the United States – Alma does this to assure her customers of quality, affordability, warranties, and customization.
  • During this 4th of July week, Cassona is offering 20% off of their eco-friendly furniture line made of 100% muscle bamboo. The sale is happening now through July 9! Check it out.

Cassona storefront featuring the July 4 sale.

  • Cassona is also participating in the Andersonville Summer Sidewalk Sale on July 27-29 and will be offering a lot of good products.   
  • Cassona has done two benefits this year so far. One was for Casa Central which is an organization out of Humboldt Park.  The other was to help the current situation in Puerto Rico. On September 27, Alma and Cassona are planning a benefit for Honduras which is where Alma is from. She has a friend that runs an organization that helps build schools there. Stay tuned for more info!
  • Alma would trade places with Lost Larson (5318 N Clark) in Andersonville for a day. Gourmet food is one of Alma’s passions and she’s curious to learn how Bobby picks his raw materials and processes them, works the mill, etc.

“It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It’s an incredible neighborhood”
– Alma Gutierez 

Cassona hosted Third Thursday Networking in their storefront last November 2017.

Cassona hosted Third Thursday Networking in their storefront last November 2017.

Visit Cassona on the following platforms:
Online: cassona.com
Facebook: facebook.com/cassonafurniture
Instagram: @cassonachicago
Twitter: @cassonachicago
Yelp: Cassona Home Furnishings and Accessories 

#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Notes from Episode 15 with Chef Jennifer Kim and Tegan Brace of Passerotto

In this week’s episode, Laura is joined by owner Chef Jennifer Kim and General Manager Tegan Brace of Passerotto, which opened its doors in May at 5420 N Clark. The Chicago Tribune called Passerotto “a culinary love letter to growing up Korean-American” and having grown-up eating spaghetti with kimchi with her brother, Chef Jennifer brings fun Korean fare to Andersonville.

Passerotto General Manager Tegan Brace (left) and owner Chef Jennifer Kim (right) in Transistor's Studio C.

Passerotto General Manager Tegan Brace (left) and owner Chef Jennifer Kim (right) in Transistor’s Studio C.

“I just remember feeling there was something particular and very personal about Andersonville.”
– Chef Jennifer Kim

  Listen to Episode 15 with Passerotto!

Here are some references from Episode 15 that you may want to check out:

  • Owning restaurants and cooking is newer path for Chef Jennifer, as she was originally in Pharmacy school and was really intrigued with how things worked and why things happen. She then realized that cooking had a similar effect.  
  • Passerotto means “little sparrow” in Italian and is a nickname given to Jennifer by her father.  Because her food has an emotional connection she wanted the name to reflect that as well. Learn more about the restaurant’s concept here. 
  • Being in the neighborhood, walking around, and seeing what it is physically about is what helped convince Chef Jennifer to take over the old Brixton space.

    Passerotto's interior with the copper stools Laura speaks about in the episode.

    Passerotto’s interior with the copper stools Laura speaks about in the episode.

“We put the neighborhood first….we are creating a community and a home.”
– Tegan Brace

  • Tegan is also an artist. View her work here.
  • The restaurant is very personal to both Chef Jennifer and Tegan, and they wanted to be able to express that in every way, including the selected artwork.  The design and painting in the exposed brick interior was done by Chef Jennifer and Tegan, and they selected artwork by local Chicago artists including two large works by John Paul Morabito. There are also Monmon Cat prints and Japanese prints on silk paper by tattoo artist Mike Dorsey.
  • As a first generation Korean American, Korean food was Chef Jennifer’s anchor, yet there was a comforting quality that Chef Jennifer got from Italian food, particularly down on Taylor Street, Chicago’s Little Italy. Once she got into cooking professionally, she realized the similarities between Italian food and culture and Korean.
  • Passerotto is 100% a Korean restaurant, although it does have influences from Italy.  She hopes that the menu reflects the experiences that she, her staff, and her customers have experienced and she is excited to see how that changes in real time. The menu will continue to change, but you can view the current menu here.
  • The neighborhood favorite on the menu thus far is the KALBI, which is the glazed short ribs.
Passerotto small bites during their May Open House.

Passerotto small bites during their May Open House.

  • Tegan is in charge of the wine list for Passerotto. Normally, Korean food is paired with beer, but pairing wine and other selections with the menu items is something special that Tegan has cultivated. She tries to pull selections from similar regions as the food to create an unexpected combination. View the drink menu here.
  • At first, Chef Jennifer’s parents were a little hesitant to her idea of opening a Korean restaurant, but now they are opening up to it upon realizing how popular Korean food is in Chicago. Chicago diners are very adventurous and open to new things, which makes it a great time and place to open up this kind of restaurant.
  • Chef Jennifer loves David Bowie and even purchased art from Transistor (5224 N. Clark)! She’d also choose to change places with Bobby at Lost Larson (5318 N. Clark) for a day, and Tegan would change places with anyone at Simon’s Tavern (5210 N. Clark). They also love In Fine Spirits (5418 N. Clark ) and consider Jarran and his team phenomenal neighbors and collaborators.          
 All of the food at Passerotto is beautiful and colorful!  View more photos on their Instagram.

All of the food at Passerotto is beautiful and colorful! View more photos on their Instagram.

Visit Passerotto on the following platforms:
Online: passerottochicago.com
Facebook: facebook.com/passerottochicago
Instagram: @passerottochi