#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Show notes from Episode 64 with Andy Peters of TrueNorth Café

This week, Laura and Sara are joined by Andy Peters, owner of TrueNorth Café an independent, healthy cafe that serves top-notch coffee & tea, proper eats, and blended drinks in a serene and community space where everyone is welcome at 5507 N Clark.


Sara Dinges and Andy Peters recording in Studio C.

“Before I opened, I heard the phrase, ‘start before you’re ready’ and you have to do that, but looking back at it, it’s shocking how unready you are when you start.”
– Andy Peters

Listen to Episode 64 with Andy Peters!

Here are some references from Episode 64 that you may want to check out:

  • Andy has always been entrepreneurial – even as a kid. This desire led him to study economics in college, and after working in an office out of college, he jumped on the opportunity to start a business instead of continuing office work.
  • Andy opened the Andersonville location of TrueNorth in 2016, but moved to Chicago in 2013. He is originally from Berwyn, IL.  
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Front counter of the café. Photo by Mike Rivera.

  • The concept of the store was very focused at the beginning, only offering a small menu including salads and wraps. Over time that has expanded, and now Andy jokes it’s a smoothie shop disguised as a coffee shop. View the current menu here.
  • The original name for the café was ProGo (Protein Chicago), which was softly received by friends and family, but outright rejected by Larry Vodak of Scout (5221 N Clark), who eventually helped Andy design the café. Instead, he started thinking of map and explorer names and landed on TrueNorth, which was fitting, considering the café already had several of the globes in place as decor.
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TrueNorth smoothie offerings. Photo by Mike Rivera.

  • The menu is always changing with the seasons, however there’s often no big reason for the change, other then it accommodating what Andy feels like serving. This summer you can look forward to more prominent iced teas and cold brew smoothies.
  • A typical day for Andy starts in a state of horror, as he often already has texts or calls of things going wrong in his shops. After dealing with those, he makes lists of what needs to get done and gets to work.
  • Andy started the Andersonville cafe’s design by himself, but he knew that “Andersonville was a hard place to please design wise.”  Andy kept finding himself shopping at Scout, and after trying to purchase a Remington table for the space, he was told be Larry that he was “designing it all wrong,” and walked up to the space to see what was what. Larry is responsible for finding the big wooden Harvest table (perfect for meetings!) in the back of TrueNorth and restoring it.
  • As well as having a great menu, TrueNorth is also a great place for hosting private or community events, and they also offer different types of catering. View the catering menu here.
  • Opening their second location in Hyde Park came with a different set of issues then their first in Andersonville, but it was much easier as they didn’t need to create a menu and already knew how to do things, like ordering food in bulk.
  • TrueNorth also offers things like vitamins and protein powders, which has evolved along with the restaurant. They price these to beat Amazon’s price, to ensure you’re getting a great deal.
  • They’re also starting to incorporate CBD oil into some of their coffee drinks and smoothies, as well as selling bottles.
  • Andy talks about his experience on the The Chicago Mayoral Business Council and how it helped that he had experience working with for the city before, as well as the Illinois restaurant association before opening the café. He’s seen improvement on licensing issues, and is proud of those results.
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Andy in front of the Wall of Globes in the back of the café. Photo by Mike Rivera.

  • As to his own coffee and tea habits, Andy explains he drinks mostly black coffee or plain espresso drinks. Although he always has a coffee cup with him, he drinks it slowly throughout the day, so he doesn’t end up drinking too much of it.
  • The coffee he sells at the café is Metropolis Coffee. He discovered it’s deliciousness first at a diner in Lincoln Park, Jam’n Honey, and later discovered it too used to headquarter in Andersonville, making it the best of both worlds.
  • Many of TrueNorth’s other ingredients also come from places in Andersonville, as they try to shop local and support the other business of Andersonville, like Edgewater Produce and Phoenix Bean.
  • If able to trade places with an Andersonville business for a day, Andy would pick something that he could curate, like Transistor (5224 N Clark), or somewhere that their product wouldn’t go bad, like Brownstone (5234 N Clark) . He definitely wouldn’t want to swap with a restaurant, claiming that a café is hard enough.
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Photo by Mike Rivera.

Visit TrueNorth Café on the following platforms:
Online: truenorthchicago.com
Facebook: facebook.com/TrueNorthChicago
Instagram: @truenorthchicago
Twitter: @TrueNorthCafe


In this special Midsommarfest episode, Laura and Joelle are joined by Juan and Susy Lucero of the incredible modern mariachi band, Cielito Lindo. Cielito Lindo is comprised of the Lucero family of nine, with children ages ranging from 6 to 16. They have performed all over the city of Chicago and the Midwest.

You can catch them at Summerdale Stage at Andersonville Midsommarfest on Sunday, June 9 at 2PM! They are the third in a series of 4 episodes released this week leading up to the fest kickoff this Friday.


The Lucero Family singing and recording this episode in the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce offices.

“The idea to start a family band was always a fun idea in my head even before I had children. I figured at some point I would have kids and I would love to teach them music.”
– Juan Lucero

Listen to Episode 63.3 with the Lucero Family!

Here are some references from Episode 63.3 that you may want to check out:

  • Also joining the podcast this week is Lilia Lucero, 11 years old, and Carlos Lucero, who is 12 years old.
  • The Lucero’s starting playing music in their home state of New Mexico, where all the children were born. In 2015, the family moved to Chicago and continue to put a spin on modern Mexican music. What drew the Lucero’s to Chicago was the diversity, the opportunity for advancement in the arts, education opportunities, as well as previous living experience (Susy is originally from Chicago).
  • The idea of starting a family band was in Juan’s head before he even had kids. His oldest boys where 4 and 3 when they first performed together, and the band has evolved ever since.

The Lucero Family performs at Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion.

  • Susy’s most memorable performances are a Millenium Park performance and the Wreathing of the Lions at the Chicago Art Institute. At Millenium Park she loved having the whole family on stage for a crowd of 20,000 on Chicago’s front yard. As for the Chicago Art Institute, she used to visit there with her father and was honored her family had the opportunity to perform there.
  • Carlos’ favorite performances have been for the Chicago Bulls, due to the fact so many people where there (a larger crowd than for Bruno Mars!). It’s also there Carlos entered a competition where he performed “My Way” by Frank Sinatra. View the news clip on her performance here.
  • The band is made of all nine members of the Lucero Family: Susy, the mother;  Juan, the father, who plays guitar and sings; Diego plays guitarrón and sings; Miguel plays trumpet and sings; Antonio plays vihuela guitar and sings; Carlos plays vihuela guitar and sings; Lilia plays violin, percussion, sings, and dances; Maya sings, dances and plays maracas; and lastly Mateo sings and plays maracas as well.
  • Other creative things the family’s into are photography, graphic design, electronic music production, sports, biking, and exploring neighborhoods.
  • The Lucero kids were homeschooled for 10 years, and a big focus of that was the arts.
  • When performing for audiences at schools and museums, they make the show more like an interactive workshop: letting the kids come up and play maracas and dance with streamers, as well as speaking into the microphone and trying instruments.
  • Performing together as a family helps the Lucero’s put aside differences and arguments, as they have to work together in order to create music. Performing as a family also allows for great experiences that might otherwise be impossible for a family of their size, allowing them to build great memories.
  • If able to trade places with an Andersonville business for a day, Carlos would swap with George’s Ice Cream (5306 N Clark) or the Candyality (5225 N Clark) because they both have delicious treats. Susy would swap with Andersonville Galleria (5247 N Clark),  as there are so many different local artists there, or Crossroads (5127 N Clark) to be surrounded by clothes. Lilia would swap with Uptown Animal Hospital (5545 N Clark)  in order to help animals in need. Juan would swap with AlleyCat Comics (5304 N Clark) because of  his love for comics or serve as waiter at Svea Restaurant (5236 N Clark) for the day. 

Photo courtesy of Lucero Family.

“I like it when I’m performing and then I see everyone smile. It’s just nice to know we’ve made someone’s day.”
– Carlos Lucero

Find Cielito Lindo on the following platforms:
Online: cielitolindo.co
Facebook: facebook.com/CielitoLindoFamily
Instagram: @cielitolindofamily
Twitter: @cielitolindofam
YouTube: Cielito Lindo Family Music

#ALWAYSANDERSONVILLE: THE PODCAST – SHOW NOTES FROM EPISODE 63.2 WITH Kris Jackson, Trevor Dowd and Austin Halter of CBD Kratom Andersonville

In this episode, Laura and Joelle are joined by Kris Jackson, Trevor Dowd and Austin Halter of CBD Kratom. With locations in Chicago, St. Louis, L.A. and Texas, CBD Kratom is a one-stop shop for CBD oils and edibles, hemp products, and over 45 various strains of Kratom. Kratom can help relieve pain, enhance mood, and increase focus. You can find the largest selection of CBD and Kratom products in the Midwest and more in Andersonville at 5303 N. Clark.


(from left) Kris Jackson, Austin Halter and Trevor Dowd of CBD Kratom Andersonville recording at Transistor’s Studio C.

“We hear back from our regular customers that the environment in the Andersonville location is absolutely brightening.” 
– Austin Halter

Listen to Episode 63.2 with CBD Kratom!

Here are some references from Episode 63.2 you may want to check out:

  • First, a few introductions:
    • Trevor has been living in Chicago for seven years. He initially came to the city to pursue improv and comedy; he took classes at The Second City and worked at iO theatre for a while. He also worked a variety of odd jobs, including serving at restaurants and walking dogs. He started at CBD Kratom in January of 2017, and has been with the company ever since.
    • Austin moved to the city two and a half years ago to pursue an acting career. About a year into his time in Chicago, he picked up a job at CBD and is currently working as the Andersonville store manager. This job has allowed him to broaden his public speaking ability, as well as get to know more people in the area.
    • Kris is the General Manager of all the Chicago area CBD Kratom stores. Having previously lived in Oregon and Montana and working a variety of jobs (including a brief stint at TopGolf), Kris settled down here in June and stumbled upon an opening at CBD when trying to find the product for his wife. He applied and now oversees all of the stores in the area, including the one that is about to open in Hoffman Estates (1481 W Palatine).
  • For our three guests, Andersonville has been an excellent location for CBD Kratom. They all enjoy the small-town feel, the community and relationships they’ve cultivated with their returning customers, and also feel that this is an area of the city that is particularly focused on wellness, which allows them to do well.

Examples of edible CBD gummies offered at CBD Kratom shops.

  • In case you don’t know, there are very subtle – but very important – differences between CBD, kratom, hemp, and marijuana:
    • Hemp has 0.3% Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or less. 0.3% THC is the legal amount allowed in cannabis products. You cannot get a high from hemp. View hemp products here.
    • Kratom is an entirely different plant; in fact, it’s more closely related to the coffee tree. The leaves are dried, mixed into room temperature water or juice, and is a bit bitter to taste. Side effects include stimulation, mood enhancement, and other effects depending on the strain. It is a good alternative for people that are addicted to opiates, as it binds to your opioid receptors but does not release dopamine or serotonin chemicals. View kratom products here.
    • CBD is an anti-inflammatory remedy that is more of a long-term solution to pain than kratom. It also helps relieve anxiety and depression, assists in sleep, and has other health benefits. View CBD products here.
  • CBD Kratom carries a large variety of products including, but not limited to, topicals, oils, tinctures, vapables, bath bombs, gummies, and even treats for your furry friends. Because these products are so varied in strength and purpose, training of new employees take about 30 days. In fact, the majority of their work is educating and informing customers because many people don’t understand what the distinction is or how it can be beneficial.
  • For first time customers, the vast selection can be overwhelming, but the staff is friendly (and knowledgeable because of all of their training). If you tell them why you are there – anxiety, joint pain, sleeplessness – they should be able to pair you with the dosage of a product that will be the most helpful.

beeZbee CBD pain patch offered at CBD Kratom shops.

  • Despite the wide variety of offerings, each staff member has a favorite:
    • Austin enjoys the BeeZBee caramels. They ease anxiety and muscle tension, along with tasting absolutely delicious.
    • Trevor favors the vape cartridges, of which there are four different strengths and three different strains (40mg, 100mg, and 200mg). Recently a tangerine flavor was released; Trevor uses this to help him sleep.
    • Kris’s wife’s favorite is the BeeZBee mint tincture; however, he also enjoys the CBD sparkling water, particularly the lemon lime flavor.
  • An extremely popular product right now is the line of CBD bath bombs. CBD Kratom carries about 10 different scents including lavender, strawberry and champagne, kiwi, cotton candy, and more. According to the team, after 20-30 minutes soaking in the tub, you’ll feel like a limp noodle.
  • Many of CBD Kratom’s products come with very specific instructions for maximum enjoyment. For example: if you get gummy frogs don’t eat all of the frog in one bite. Letting them – or any other edibles – sit and bread down before chewing and swallowing will help the product activate faster and stronger.
  • As one may guess from the wide variety of products provided, there is also a wide variety of effects from each product. If you were looking for something to help with concentration and focus, kratom would be best. If you’re looking for something to quiet all of the thoughts in your brain, CBD would be more helpful.

A few of the bath products offered at CBD Kratom shops.

  • CBD Kratom usually gets new products once or twice a month – usually new edibles, new flavors, or a new strain of kratom. Soon there will be a new line of topicals available; there is also a variety of beauty products, massage oils, and even a tattoo cream.
  • Although you need to be 18 or older to purchase any products at CBD Kratom, you do not need a medical marijuana card to buy from their shops in Chicago. These laws do vary from state to state, though, so be sure to check if visiting an out-of-town location.
  • If Austin, Trevor, and Kris could trade with any Andersonville business for a day, they would choose:
    • Austin would swap with Transistor (5224 N Clark). The environment is quaint, friendly, and Austin loves the records and general vibe that music stores have.
    • Trevor would choose either Graham Crackers Comics (5028 N Clark)  because he’s a comic book nerd and loves Funko pop bobbleheads (his favorite is Teenage Groot with Stormbreaker and a gold Loki) or Jameson Loves Danger (5208 N Clark) because he gets his cat’s food there.
    • Because of his restaurant background and love for Italian food, Kris would spend the day at Calo Ristorante (5343 N Clark). He loves their pepperoni deep dish – and adds green olives if he feels wild.

Find CBD Kratom Andersonville on the following platforms:
Online: cbdkratomshops.com
Facebook: facebook.com/CBD-Kratom-Chicago (Andersonville)
Instagram: @cbdkratomshops


This week, Laura and Sara are joined by Dr. Shayna Mancuso and Mark Raymond from The Clark. The Clark is a primary care medical practice operated by nearby Swedish Covenant Health that redefines the patient experience and is designed to make patients feel cared for every step of the journey. Located in the former Swedish Bakery building, you can check out their spa like exam rooms and comfortable waiting lounge at 5346 N Clark.

The Clark is sponsoring Andersonville Midsommarfest’s North Stage this weekend (June 7-9)! They are the first in a series of 4 episodes released this week leading up to the fest kickoff this Friday.


The front facade of The Clark, located at 5346 N Clark. Photo by Anjali Pinto as shot for the 2019-20 Andersonville Neighborhood Guide.

“The community feel that you get when you come to Andersonville is also really apparent when you walk into The Clark. We want people to feel like they are family and that you’re coming into someone’s home.”
– Mark Raymond

Listen to Episode 63.1 with Mark and Dr. Mancuso!

Here are some references from Episode 63.1 you may want to check out:

  • Mark is a resident of Andersonville and has lived in the neighborhood for 22 years. His background is in design and was approached by Swedish Covenant Health about providing high level customer service for the new facility.
  • Dr. Shayna Mancuso was born and raised in Las Vegas and did much of her schooling in California. Her residency was back in Las Vegas, but she moved to Chicago about 16 years ago. She has three daughters and two English bulldogs!
  • The Clark offers a unique model of care. The CEO of Swedish Covenant Health wanted to do something very different and wonderful for patients which is reflected in their beautiful and uniquely design front lobby.

The front lobby of The Clark. Photo by Anjali Pinto.

  • Each member of the staff has been handpicked and is highly trained. It’s not just a “pretty face” (when referring to the office aesthetic) at The Clark. All of the doctors have a passion for integrative medicine and the whole-body approach. Welcome to feeling cared for.
  • Dr. Mancuso came to The Clark from Lake Forest and Northwestern’s Prentice Hospital. She came back to Swedish Covenant Health because she loves the Swedish family and group.
  • Mark loves the diversity in this neighborhood; he’s seen the neighborhood evolve and change over his 20 years here. Mark was surprised to learn about the actual “White Coat Syndrome” and the fear that many patients experience when visiting their doctor.
  • Dr. Mancuso specializes in OB/GYN and women’s health care. Named the Medical Director early on in the process, Dr. Mancuso was excited to be a part of the design of the facility from the ground up. She loved taking her girls into George’s Ice Cream & Sweets (5306 N Clark) and eating locally while the clinic construction was underway.

The split view between a private consultation room and a patient room at The Clark. Photo by Anjali Pinto.

  • Mark has worked in the service industry for many years, and was super excited to come into the entire design process pre-construction. He was responsible for helping pick tiling, colors, lighting fixtures and more. His goal is to make patients so comfortable,  “that you forget that you’re even at the doctor’s office.” The rooms themselves are also designed in a way to promote calm. Mark also encourages visitors to come in and look at the space and hang out in the lobby, even if they aren’t scheduled for an appointment. He’s particularly excited about the French windows that give open-air access during warmer months.
The Clark Staff

The team of doctors at The Clark.

  • Dr. Mancuso speaks about the Board-certified physicians at The Clark. Each doctor provides STD screening and PrEP as well as their specified field of care. She then walks us through each doctor and their specialty. Learn more about the entire team here.
  • Integrative and functional medicine is an important way to look at disease. Doctors with this background are trained to look at the entire body and really get to the root, or microbiology, of the issue. The doctors at The Clark are equipped to see patients for any reason, whether it’s an annual exam or for an illness or specialty.
  • The Clark takes most all commercial insurance plans as well as medicare. The cost for the patient is the same cost you would pay at any other doctor’s office.
  • If given the chance to switch places with another Andersonville business for the day, Mark would choose Cas Hardware (5305 N Clark) because they are one of the oldest, long standing businesses in the neighborhood. He loves that the same couple has been running the business for the last 40 years.
  • Dr. Mancuso felt like she’d want to switch with either Octavio Cantina & Kitchen (5310 N Clark) because she loves Mexican food or George’s Ice Cream & Sweets because she’d love to work somewhere where people are excited to visit every day and used to want to be an ice cream scooper as a child. Mark wanted to originally be a veterinarian!

Another view of The Clark lobby. Photo by Anjali Pinto.

 “I was so thrilled when I first heard about approaching patient care this way…I jumped at a chance to be a part of this.”
– Dr. Shayna Mancuso

Visit The Clark on the following platforms:
Online: theclarkmed.com
Facebook: facebook.com/theclarkmed
Instagram: @theclarkmed
Twitter: @theclarkmed


This week, Joelle and Sara are joined by our 2019-20 Andersonville Neighborhood Guide photographer Anjali Pinto. Anjali is a photographer and writer based in Chicago, and resident local to Andersonville! The new edition of the Neighborhood Guide will be distributed around Andersonville next week.


Anjali recording in Studio C.

“I made much better photography when I made relationships with people and tried to tell stories over longer periods of time.”
-Anjali Pinto

Listen to Episode 62 with Anjali Pinto!

Here are some references from Episode 62 that you may want to check out:

  • Anjali grew up in Peoria, IL, but she considers herself a Chicagoan. Her father is from Bombay, India and her mom is from Peoria and the two met while working at Cook County Hospital. Anjali went to school in Missouri for photojournalism and moved back up to Chicago in 2010. Learn more about Anjali here.
  • Anjali didn’t discover photographer until age 15 or 16. Her father didn’t know how to use his new digital camera at the time, and Anjali commandeered it to teach him the ropes. After seeing her talent, her father encourage her to enroll in night photography classes at the community college to learn how to properly develop film the “old school” way.
  • After school, Anjali worked for Lettuce Entertain You for six years in advertising before reconsidering her career path after the sudden death of her husband.

The cover of the 2019-20 Andersonville Neighborhood Guide featuring the Calo Theatre Building (home currently to Mary’s Attic, Hamburger Mary’s, Andersonville Brewing, and The Brown Elephant) shot by Anjali Pinto.

  • She has lived in Andersonville for eight years now and originally moved in with her sister after college. Shooting for the 2019-20 Neighborhood Guide was the ideal assignment to Anjali; she loves being able to throw on a backpack and walk everywhere. She enjoys spending her weekdays here, but makes sure to visit friends elsewhere in the City on the weekends.
  • Before shooting for the Guide, Anjali thought Great Lakes Clinical Trials (5149 N Ashland) was some kind of lab, but wasn’t sure what it was all about until she met owner Steve Saytek during his photo session. She was thrilled to learn about all of the clinical trials they conduct for Alzheimer’s research.

Anjali shooting on location for the Guide in March at Urban Pooch.

  • Anjali shares a studio with six other women and co-collaborators and draws inspiration from all kinds of people in her life. She firmly believes in making work that she’s passionate about without necessarily waiting for a paid job, and stepping up and making the ask for those she wishes to photograph.

Anjali’s printed zine, Body Talk.

  • Anjali recently released her photography zine, Body Talk, a 24 page full color publication of Anjali’s body positive nude photo project. Her friend, Adam Jason Cohen, curates a print zine festival each year at the Ace Hotel, and the first year Anjali gave away something she’d already published for free. Going into this year, she wanted a polished publication with a striking cover to sell at the fest in March. She put a call out on her social media for nude photo shoots, and immediately had over 25 inquiries. She made additional specific calls for a wider diversity of subjects after that.
  • Much of the editorial content for Body Talk comes from Anjali’s followers on Instagram and prompts that she gave them to answer questions about their bodies and personal images. She found that followers loved to participate because it was anonymous, and “when you give them a platform to be honest, they’ll be totally and brutally honest.” Stay tuned to Anjali’s website for further information about future print runs of Body Talk!
  • Sara asks Anjali what it’s been like to be so open and honest on social media in general. Anjali comments that it’s been a double-edged sword; she posted every day for a year memories from her life with her husband as a method to cope with her grief and needed an easy way to reach out when not wanting to leave her apartment. Sometimes, now though, she finds it hard to give so much of herself so often.
  • Anjali is now contemplating going back to school to study psychology and social work. She’s starting to recognize the legacy of her Dad’s work as a social worker, and has been exploring that route.

Anjali shooting on location with Cat Levine of Be Yoga Andersonville

  • Her advice to young entrepreneurs is to make connections as early as possible. She strongly believes Chicago is a small enough market that people really want to support each other and pass jobs between contacts. One of the best skills to have in photography is, “open mindedness about where your next paycheck is coming from.”
  • If able to trade places with an Andersonville business for a day, Anjali would switch with Lost Larson (5318 N Clark) and would love to work as a croissant baker. Anjali’s favorite thing to eat in Chicago is dinner at Cho Sun Ok on Lincoln Ave. She’s also a fan of Hopleaf (5148 N Clark), and Lulu Café and enjoys cooking at home.

Anjali is one of several creatives behind the new edition of the 2019-20 Neighborhood Guide: this year we welcomed back Michael Newman of estudiotres as designer, and we also used beautiful Midsommarfest photography by Starbelly Studios. Our local printer, Fisheye Graphic Services, INC., was the mastermind behind bringing the digital form to printed reality!

To request a mailed copy of the 2019-20 Andersonville Neighborhood Guide, please fill out our request form, or plan to pick one up in person at Midsommarfest, June 7-9 from the Andersonville Chamber booth!


Anjali shooting on location with Greg and Matthew of Cowboys and Astronauts.

Follow Anjali Pinto on the following platforms:
Online: anjalipinto.com
Instagram: @anjalipinto


#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Show Notes from Episode 61 with Michael Roper of Hopleaf Bar

This week, Laura and Sara are joined by Michael Roper owner of Hopleaf Bar. A relaxed neighborhood pub, Hopleaf has been promoting better beers, wines and spirits in Andersonville since 1992. Come experience the Belgian-inspired kitchen featuring their famous mussels and frites in an adults only setting at 5148 N Clark.


Michael and Louise Roper photographer in Hopleaf’s North bar for the 2018-19 Neighborhood Guide by photographer Mike Rivera.

“The future is making sure we have a future. To have a future, you have to realize the customer and the neighborhood is changing.”
– Michael Roper

Listen to Episode 61 with Michael Roper!

Here are some references from Episode 61 that you may want to check out:

  • Michael Roper is a native Detroiter and worked in the bar and restaurant industry in Detroit prior to moving to Chicago. He attended Wayne State University in 1972.
  • Michael moved to Chicago in 1982, working in retail, restaurants and construction. Michael was part of a larger exodus from Detroit in the 80s. While he explored the idea of New York City, he was not a fan of all the rats and trash on the streets. Chicago was more uniquely suited for what Michael wanted to do with his life.

“There is nothing like a hot weekend in New York City to make you appreciate Chicago’s alleys.”
– Sara Dinges

  • He saw an ad in the winter of 1991 for an old Swedish bar for sale in Andersonville, and although his friends encouraged him that it was too far north, he pulled the trigger on the space and finally got the keys to the former Clark Foster Liquors in February of 1992.

Michael recording this episode in Studio C.

  • Michael talks about a type of bar here in Chicago called a “slashie” which is essentially a liquor store that also has a separate room that you can drink in. The former Clark Foster Liquors was this type of packaged goods meets tavern establishment. Read more from a 2015 article on Thrillist about Chicago slashies. Michael did not want this type of establishment, so first thing to come down was the 35 foot wall dividing the storefronts. The six month renovations also saw the low-drop ceilings come down to reveal high tin ceilings, new bathrooms, booths, etc.
  • Michael and his staff held their Grand Opening at least one year after taking possession of the keys. The opening wasn’t celebrated until February 1993. Hopleaf “just squeaked by” during their first year due to a massive sewer replacement that closed Clark Street south of Foster for at least six months and saw the demise of several restaurants and businesses in south Andersonville. Pre-internet days, people received postcard invites for the opening and came out in droves. Read more about Hopleaf’s history here.
  • Upon opening, Michael and Hopleaf served food from neighbor Middle East Bakery (1512 W Foster). They did this for several years, as they did not have a kitchen or dining room.

Looking down on the Hopleaf’s second building, the South bar, from the mezzanine. Photo by Mike Rivera.

  • Michael purchased the Hopleaf building in 2000. This allowed them to eliminate the upstairs apartments and put in a kitchen and downstairs dining room. It took longer to get the second floor mezzanine open. The patio opening followed in 2006, and then in 2009, they purchased the building next door to expand further after the closing of neighboring restaurant, La Donna. This purchase went through right before the market crash, and the extra space sat empty for almost two years. Michael credits the Obama Stimulus Package for allowing Hopleaf to stay in business. It allowed them to borrow money directly from the Small Business Administration. And they turned out to be a model success! The kitchen was expanded, business doubled, 25 extra staff was hired, and Hopleaf became the example for SBA, so much so, that they filmed a video about their success.

Hopleaf’s upstairs kitchen. Photo by Mike Rivera.

  • Hopleaf’s beer is purchased through five or six distributors. There are 85 breweries now in the City of Chicago! A large section of the menu is Belgium beers, and Michael chooses beer by the flavor of the beer itself and the personal relationship he has with the owner/brewers. Hopleaf purchase a lot from local farmers and wineries. “We like them to be good stewards of the planet.”
  • Hopleaf has always carried Allagash White on tap since it came onto the market 15 years ago. They’ve always had a beer from Sierra Nevada on tap, same with Bells. Michael actually credits Bells with Hopleaf’s survival, as Bells was a cult-type beer in the 90s. Michael had Bells create a neon sign for the window, and “that beer brought people to Andersonville that would not have otherwise come here.” Listen to the full episode to learn more about the beers that have always been on tap and continue to be mainstay at Hopleaf!
  • Michael lived in a neighborhood of the eastside of Detroit that happened to have the largest urban Belgian population in America, and it housed a bar built in 1919 called the Cadieux Café, the oldest Belgian bar in the States. It even housed a sport there called Belgian Feather Bowling. Michael recognized that no one in Chicago had been exposed to this Belgian culture and saw an opportunity. After a visit to Belgium, Michael was introduced to local breweries; Hopleaf was way ahead of the curve.
  • Michael estimates that Hopleaf goes through an average of 1,000 lbs of mussels a week! They mussels are served six days a week and they arrive at Hopleaf alive, only 24 to 36 hours out of the water. Some weeks even exceed 2,000 lbs of sales.
  • Hopleaf started their event, Kegs for Kids, about 12 years ago for Peirce Elementary School in an effort to focus all of their charitable giving to one local cause. The cause evolved from smaller brunches, to a beer festival hosted at Metropolis Coffee, to finally having the event at Hopleaf. The event eventually has gotten to the point where Hopleaf or their brewers are donating kegs of beer with 100% of profits going back to the school. Michael looks at this cause as an investment; his customers turn into parents and he wants them to stay local and feel confident in sending their kids to a good public school in the neighborhood. Hopleaf’s Annual Peirce Day was hosted this past April. Read more here. Michael and his wife Louise are also able to help choose how this raised money is spent at the schools including after school and arts immersion programs.
  • Michael finds it extremely important to live in a pedestrian-friendly community with independent businesses, but people have to care enough to maintain it.

Michael and Louise outside of Hopleaf by Michael’s classic Fiat. Photo by Mike Rivera.

“From birth to death, our neighborhood provides services at every stage of life. That’s what makes us such a great neighborhood; you could live here your whole life.”
– Michael Roper

  • Looking toward the future, Michael says that “Hopleaf is as big as it’s ever going to be,” but they continue to make improvements including the addition of solar panels last year, a new HVAC system and plumbing. He also wants to continue to adapt and change to customer tastes.
  • If given the chance to trade places with another business in Andersonville, Michael would choose to switch with another Andersonville restaurant. He just visited Passerotto (5420 N Clark) recently and found it really cool. On the other hand, Michael’s a huge history buff and wouldn’t mind trying his hand at running Simon’s Tavern (5210 N Clark) for a day and switching with Scott Martin. Listen to Scott’s Episode 39 here!

Photo by Mike Rivera.

“A world without Hopleaf is a world in which we do not want to live in.”
 – Sara Dinges

Visit Hopleaf Bar on the following platforms:
Facebook: facebook.com/hopleaf
Instagram: @thehopleaf
Twitter: @TheHopleaf


This week, Laura and Joelle are joined by Jarran Conger. Jarran is the owner of In Fine Spirits where every wine, spirit, and craft beer they offer is crafted by people who share their passion for quality and has been curating Andersonville’s drinking needs since 2005 at 5418 N. Clark. In Fine Spirits has also curated most of the wines for this weekend’s upcoming Andersonville Wine Walk on Sunday, May 19. Tickets still available!


Jarran Conger recording the podcast on-location at In Fine Spirits.

“I think the best part that I’ve come to love about this shop in Andersonville is the relationships that I’ve formed with the residents… I love being able to not only figure out what they like in terms of wine but also to know what is happening in their life”
– Jarran Conger

Listen to Episode 60 with Jarran Conger!

Here are some references from Episode 60 that you may want to check out:

  • Jarran was born in Chicago and raised in the suburbs. He studied theater at Illinois State University and found himself working in the restaurant industry upon graduating, where he discovered and began to develop his passion for wine, cocktails and beer.
  • A few years later, Jarran got married and was in the process of starting a family. He realized the long hours in the restaurant industry would no longer work for him so he decided to open a wine shop to stay connected to his passion for wine and to be able to be more available for his family.
  • Jarran was one of the original IFS team with Shane and Jill, the former owners of the In Fine Spirits Lounge in Andersonville. He started working for Shane and Jill eight years ago when the In Fine Spirits Lounge was still operating. He split his time between the bar and the wine shop, and upon discovering that they were relocating to Michigan, Jarran and his wife decided to buy the shop.
Wine Table Edited

The $13 White Wine table at In Fine Spirits

  • IFS always has at least 75 wines under $13 as well as a 3, 6 and 12 month wine club as well. Jarran’s goal with the 75 wines under $13 is to make wine more accessible and to give people an opportunity to try something different, yet still easier on the pocketbook than taking a chance on a bottle that’s $50 or more.
  • For the wine clubs, he likes to look for small productions of maybe 1,000 cases or less so that it gives the drinker the ability to try something different and unique. He may choose a wine from an obscure region in Spain or France, to a couple of international grapes like Chardonnay and Cabernet from Slovenia or Croatia.
  • You can find some of these hand selected wines at their two tables located in the center of the IFS floor. They have one white table and one red table and everything on those tables will be priced at $13 and under. These selections will change with the season or change if the staff finds something that is drinking great at the moment.

The “cat wine” sold at In Fine Spirits.

  • Jarran tells us a little bit about a beloved local favorite among the Andersonville residents dubbed as the “cat wine” after it was featured for the Andersonville Wine Walk on the Chamber’s Instagram page. Jarran explains that it’s a really, “easy drinking, accessible wine that is a crowd pleaser and hails from the south of France. It is 100% Grenache Blanc, which is not your typical international grape like a pinot grigio. It just has a little bit more texture, but not as big, buttery and oaky as a Chardonnay can be sometimes. It just hits that nice sweet spot.”
  • About a year ago, Jarran began selling different cheeses as well, and says he treats his cheese selections just as he treats his wine selections. He tells us about one of their most popular cheeses, Big Ed’s Gouda where they get from a place called Forage and Foster. Just as they do for their wine, IFS looks for small production farmers who are hands-on during the cheese making process.
  • In Fine Spirits also offers custom made cheese flights that pair well for both red and white wines!
  • Jarran goes more in depth about what tannins are in wine and how they can affect the taste of the wine.He explains that they act as a preservative and that the larger the tannins, the longer a wine can last. He adds that acidity can help in that as well.

Jarran always currates a selection of whites, reds and rosés for Andersonville Wine Walk.

  • Jarran has been curating the wine selections for Andersonville’s Wine Walk since its inception 13 years ago, and will be once again participating for this year’s event that takes place on Sunday, May 19. He talks about his experiences in curating for the wine walk every year and he finds that plenty of variety is a very important factor in his decision making, as well as weather! He likes to keep a variety of white wines and roses for when the weather is nice, but is always sure to have plenty of red varieties available for the red  lovers.
  • This year, Jarran is very excited  to feature an Italian red varietal called Schioppettino. He says it’s drinks like a Pinot Noir in terms of the texture but the flavor profile has a nice peppery sensation along with cherry notes as well. It’s very food friendly but it’s an obscure grape that’s not really planted throughout Italy, but he feels it’s a varietal that bares merit and should be more well known.
  • In Fine Spirits is also happy to host wine tastings from 3-6PM every Saturday year round, as well as other added tastings on different days of the week. For more info on their upcoming tastings or to join their mailing list, click here.
  • There is a wine walk booklet that each attendee will receive upon check in for the upcoming Wine Walk on May 19 that will feature a few tips on how to taste wine. Jarran shares some of his tips which include not wearing any perfume, cologne or scented lotions while tasting wine because you really want a blank slate, especially in your nose so you can really immerse yourself in the wine.
  • Getting air into the wine is also important which is why you will see people swirl the wine. It releases the esters and makes it more aromatic because a bottle of wine only sees a tiny amount of air when its been bottled, and once you open it up, air needs to go through it to open up more of those esters and the smell to make it more identifiable
  • He says Alpana Singh, a master Sommelier and host of “Check, please!” says you should think of lighter bodied wines like a skim milk,  medium bodied wines like whole milk and fuller bodied wine, like heavy cream.
    Jarran’s hopes for the future of IFS are to simply continue listening to the community’s wants and interests. He hopes to keep bringing new, exciting products to the market that people may not have heard of, but are willing to take a chance on, and remaining a staple in the community that people trust.
    For people that are interested in traveling to explore wines, Jarran says there are opportunities all over the world to learn more. He recommends one in Oregon called Pinot Camp that happens every year where you can learn the process of making wine firsthand.
    Like anything, practice makes perfect. Every Monday, Jarran likes to get together with fellow Sommeliers in the Chicago area to taste through and discuss six different wines.
Beer tasting prep

In Fine Spirits was prepping for a beer tasting on the evening we recorded at the shop.


  • Wine isn’t the only thing you can find at IFS. Craft beer is also a hot commodity in the shop as he says Chicago has grown to be the number one beer city in the nation in the past year, with now over 180 breweries calling Chicago their home. He prefers to focus solely on bringing in only Chicago and Chicagoland area breweries to the shop.
  • In terms of spirits, he also prefers to bring in craft made local distillers as well. Every year they buy single barrels of Buffalo Trace (who also partook in Andersonville annual gift guide last year) and Weller 107 Antique barreled specifically for them.
  • If Jarran could swap with any Andersonville business for a day, he would choose Transistor (5224 N Clark) and Rattleback Records (5405 N Clark) because he’d love to explore music all day and genre jump from classic rock to classical to jazz.
Jarran and his staff

Jarran and his staff.

Visit In Fine Spirits on the following platforms:
Online: infinespirits.com
Facebook: facebook.com/infinespirits
Instagram: @infinespirits
Twitter: @infinespirits


This week, Laura and Sara are joined by Shelly Ave, Vice President of Mortgage Lending at Guaranteed Rate. Following the motto ““it doesn’t cost a penny to look”, Shelly is well known for her ability to communicate and to champion the home buyer through the entire process. A long-time Andersonville resident, you have probably seen Shelly in the neighborhood walking her two English mastiffs.

Shelly Ave Edited

Shelly Ave recording in Transistor’s Studio C.

“My job is part financial wizard, part investigator, part therapist, but almost always creative problem solver.”
– Shelly Ave

Listen to Episode 59 with Shelly Ave!

Here are some references from Episode 59 that you might want to check out:

    • Shelly is originally from the Anderson, Indiana, about twenty minutes north of Indianapolis. She moved to the city after graduating from Indiana University.

Shelly and one of her dogs.

    • She loves dogs. If money were no object, she would rescue dogs all day every day. In fact, she has two English Mastiffs: Big Ike (who is 175 pounds) and Boris VonDrool (who is 225 pounds at 2 years old). They make quite an impression when walking down Clark Street.
    • After graduating, Shelly worked as a mannequin sales person. At one point she was in Milwaukee to discuss whether or not nipples were an essential part of the mannequin; it was then that she started reflecting on her life, wondering if she wanted to continue doing something like this.

The mannequins of Shelly’s former career.

    • After working with mannequins, she went into finance. Her friends were opening a company and she hopped on board. At this point she had been living in Andersonville for 16 years (since February 2003). She was convinced by her friend, Jenny, who told her that it was the most dog-friendly neighborhood in the city.
    • One of her favorite memories of the area happened at FOURSIDED (5061 N Clark) around the holidays: it was a very busy and stressful time of life for her, but she stopped at FOURSIDED to get a letter framed as a Christmas gift. The store was very busy, but the owner reassured her that the frame would be done within a week or two. Two hours after leaving the store, Shelly got a phone call – the frame was finished. The owner had seen that she was stressed and wanted to alleviate some of the pressure of the holidays by finishing one thing on her checklist. That’s when she knew that she was in a good spot, and has been here ever since.
    • Now, she works and invests in the community through her work at Guaranteed Rate. 100% of her business is from referrals; she goes out into the community, does good work, and then has her clients spread her name around town.
    • Sarah Ghorbanian, owner of RE: chiropractic + wellness (5347 N Clark)  and Shelly’s close friend, was a long time resident of Andersonville when they met at a Chamber event. Her father immigrated to the United States, and through hard work and financial savvy he invested in multi-unit buildings to provide quality housing for people in the neighborhood. Sarah wanted to take that legacy and make it her own. Check out Sarah’s podcast – Episode 33 here.
    • Even though the mortgage process can be daunting, the process is more reasonable now than it was back in 2008. Shelly compares it to a court of law – it doesn’t matter what you tell her, it just matters what you can prove. Sometimes people also forget the rule of confidentiality – what you tell your mortgage lender, they cannot tell anybody else. In order to make good progress, you need to be honest about where you’ve been and where you would like to go.
    • One small quirk about Shelly’s job: she spends a lot of her Sunday afternoons fielding calls from clients. Apparently, 75% of people make major financial decisions on a Sunday.
    • On a separate note, there is a rent control ban from 1997 that may be repealed. We’ll let you listen to Shelly discuss her position, but below are some linked resources so you can learn more about this issue:

Shelly’s dogs.



  • If Shelly could swap with any Andersonville business for a day, she would choose Jameson Loves Danger (5208 N Clark) because of her passion for puppies and her love of their $5 delivery.

Visit Shelly Ave and Guaranteed Rate on the following platforms:
Online: rate.com/loan-expert/shellyave
Email: shelly.ave@rate.com
Office Phone: (312) 940-4575


This week, Laura and Joelle are joined by members of the Babes With Blades Theatre Company. Babes With Blades (BWB) uses stage combat to place women and their stories center stage. Through performance, script development, training, and outreach, their ensemble creates theatre that explores the wide range of the human experience, and cultivates broader perspectives in the arts community and in society as a whole.

Babes with Blades edited

Kathrynne Wolf (left), Brianna Buckley (middle) and Sarah Liz Bell (right) after recording in Transistor’s Studio C.

“Theatre is a way of challenging perspective and allowing yourself to grow.”
– Babes with Blades

Listen to Episode 58 with BWB!

Here are some references from episode 58 that you may want to check out:

  • Laura and Joelle were joined by three members of the Othello cast:
    • Kathrynne Wolf: actress and full-time member of BWB since 1987 is playing to role of Iago in Othello
    • Brianna Buckley: A five-year Chicagoland resident and actress, Brianna is starring as Othello in Othello
    • Sarah Liz Bell: Sarah is a long-time fan of BWB, and is thrilled to be playing the part of Desdemona in Othello
Sarah and Brianna_Photo by Steven Townshend courtesy of Chicago Reader.

Sarah Liz Bell (left) as Desdemona and Brianna Buckley as Othello in BWB’s production of Othello. Photo by Steven Townshend courtesy of Chicago Reader.

  • Babes with Blades Theatre Company was started in 1997 by a group of women that had received stage combat training. When trying to get acting jobs, there were no female parts that called for stage fighting. Instead of accepting roles without stage fighting, a group of female stage fighters put together a two night showcase of female-performed fight scenes and monologues. Those two nights turned into four nights; those four nights turned into a string of full-running shows.
  • Some thought that they should be doing more to break the mould and establish fighting and acting roles for women. So, the original group of women decided to start Babes with Blades to complete the following three goals:
    • Start a script development process, working with writers to establish female roles that have stage fighting.
    • Start a script writing competition featuring fighting roles for women.
    • Eventually get into producing Shakespeare with an all-female (or non-traditional) cast.
  • In 2005, BWB starting producing full-length shows with original scripts. In 2009, they hosted Macbeth as their first non-traditionally cast Shakespearean show; they have had six since. View production history here.
  • BWB is an itinerant theatre company, meaning they have no performance home of their own. They have spent a great deal of time within Andersonville, though.
    • BWB started in Footsteps Theatre, which was where Gus Giordano Dance School (5320 N Clark)  is currently.
    • Othello is currently running at The Factory Theater. The space is small – 70 seats total – with the audience sitting on three different sides of the stage. Because they’re swinging around a variety of weapons, it would be helpful for the stage to be a bit taller; otherwise they enjoy the space. Bringing such a dramatic, grandiose show into such a small space is an unexpected and refreshing change for the cast and audience.
  • The stage weapons that they use come from a variety of vendors, but one of their favorites is a local store called Rogue Steel. They often buy and maintain their weapons there. In the show, the rapier is the most commonly used kind of sword. Brianna has a sword and a dagger and enjoys using them both. Iago (Katherynne) enjoys whatever does the most damage, and Desdamona (Sarah Liz) does not use any weapons in the show.
  • The BWB production of Othello runs through May 25 with a non-traditional cast that is made up of all fem-identified actors. For those of you that are not familiar with the story of Othello, here’s a link to purchase the book through Women & Children First (5233 N Clark). If you don’t want to buy it, here’s the link to the Chicago Public Library website. If you really don’t want to read it, fine – here are the Cliff’s Notes!
Brianna as Othello

Brianna Buckley as Othello.

  • Here are some our visitors’ favorite previous roles:
    • Sarah Liz participated in a non-traditionally cast version of Henry the IV Part 1 in her senior year of school. All of the rebels were played by females, the king’s men were played by men. Sarah Liz was cast as Hotspur; she says it was a physical and mental challenge of convincingly portraying a man while still obviously being a woman.
    • Brianna loves performing as Othello; carrying the show is a new experience for her. She was also in Crumbs from the Table of Joy at the Raven Theatre (6157 N Clark) before Othello.
  • To BWB, theatre is a way of challenging perspective and allowing yourself to grow. This is especially true when seeing a show in a black box theatre – everything is much closer and much more personal. You can see the actors and they can see you; the effect is stronger.
  • Othello closes at The Factory Theater on May 25 (so be sure to get your tickets now!) and BWB’s playwriting festival, Fighting Words Festival, is coming up June 1-2. Stay tuned to BWB’s website for more information about their upcoming season.
  • The BWB staff will also be working the Balmoral Beer booth on the Friday night, June 7 of Midsommarfest. The booth is often worked by nonprofit organizations, and a percentage of the proceeds goes back to the working nonprofit. The Babe’s favorite thing about working the beer booth is seeing all of the dogs that come by!

Babes with Blades logo header

Visit Babes with Blades Theatre Company on the following platforms:
Online: babeswithblades.org
Facebook: facebook.com/bwbtc
Instagram: @babeswithbladestheatreco
Twitter: @BabesWithBlades
Youtube: youtube.com/user/katyawolf


This week Laura and Sara are joined by Karla Koziura owner of  FRÍO Gelato. FRÍO Gelato is made in an allergen-friendly kitchen with a nut and gluten-free focus and is 100% handmade. With four locations throughout Evanston and Chicago including their brand new location at Navy Pier, you can find FRÍO in Andersonville at 5152 N Clark.


Karla visited Sara and Laura at Transistor to record episode 57

“Don’t be afraid to pursue your dreams if it’s something you’re passionate about, I think that passion shows”
-Karla Koziura

Listen to Episode 57!

Here are some notes from Episode 57 that you may want to check out:

  • Karla, in all of her kindness, brought Laura, Sara, and Andy some delicious gelato samples! Here are the flavors she brought:
    • Dulce de Leche Gelato—Dulce de Leche is essentially caramelized milk. Click here to read more
    • Sambayon Gelato, which is egg custard with Marsala wine. Traditionally, Sambayon is made with port wine – Frio does it with Marsala because of the higher level of sweetness and it’s made in Argentina!
    • Limon (Lemon) Sorbet
    • Maracuya (passion fruit) Sorbet
    • The two sorbets are water-based and contain no dairy.


      Handmade Argentine gelato at FRIO in Andersonville

  • FRÍO is also participating in Wine Walk (On 5/19—tickets on sale now!), and will be serving Sambayon as well as their Malbec con Frutos Rojos (Malbec with Red Berries), as a delicious addition to a classic Andersonville event.
  • Karla grew up in Los Angeles and is half Ecuadorian, half american. She grew up speaking Spanish at home and traveled internationally to visit family often, making her a natural fit for her previous job in international marketing.
  • Karla also comes from a background of broadcast journalism. She is an entrepreneur at heart, and her husband, Sebastian, comes from an entrepreneurial family. It was her husband and his cousin, Enrique, that founded FRÍO; Karla does all of the marketing for the business.
  • One question that they often get asked is “why gelato?” Well, it turns out that Gelato is a favorite of Sebastian and Enrique’s bringing back memories of going to get gelato with their grandmother in Argentina. Starting a gelato business was something that Sebastian, Enrique, and Karla discussed until it started to unfold in 2013.
  • Now, in 2019, FRÍO has four locations – Andersonville was its 3rd when it opened in October of 2018. Recently, they have started working on a fourth location on Navy Pier. The FRÍO team chose Andersonville because it is usually busy, and the vibrant, supportive community that’s loyal to local businesses allows them to thrive.
  • For those of you that don’t know the difference between ice cream and gelato, here’s the scoop:
    • Originating in Italy, gelato is a mix of milk, cream, and custard. According to Italian law, gelato must also have a minimum of 3.5% butterfat. When Italians traveled Westward to America, they realize they could make larger batches if they whipped more air into the mix. They realized that this fleshes out the flavors of the gelato, so they had to add more fat, more cream, more flavoring, and more sugar, which is the ice cream of today.
    • Gelato is essentially the concentrated version of ice cream. It is more dense, closer to the natural ingredients, and usually lower in fat. It is also served at a warmer temperature and has a distinctively different mouthfeel.
    • Read more about the history of gelato here.
  • FRÍO specializes in Argentine gelato, which differs from Italian gelato in these ways:
    • Flavors: Italian flavors are usually sweeter. Flavors like vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut, and pistachio are common. Argentine flavors have ventured into fruity and even savory territories with flavors like avocado, fig with cognac, and bourbon key lime pie. And, Dulce de Leche originates in South America – FRÍO orders authentic San Ignacio dulce de leche, which is imported from Argentina. It is a bit expensive, but totally worth it for the delicious taste.
    • Serving: Like Italian gelato, Argentine gelato is scooped with a spatula; however, it is served in a swirl. These swirls can get obscenely tall, as shown here.


      Karla serving sorbet at the FRIO ribbon cutting

  • Karla loves being a business owner. She gains a great deal of personal satisfaction from her work, and is so happy that people are excited and supportive of their product. Her advice for any aspiring entrepreneurs would be to go for it if you have the means.

    “You’re always going to regret what you don’t do, not what you do.”

  • FRÍO is a family-owned business, and Karla loves that she and her family get to provide enjoyment to other families through their gelato. In fact, Karla, her husband, and their two kids often help out by washing dishes, serving customers, and performing other necessary tasks. They have been very careful not to grow too fast, and are hoping to be a premiere gelato destination in Chicago within the next five or six years.


    Karla with her husband, two kids, and a FRIO server at the FRIO ribbon cutting

  • Many people visit FRÍO because they enjoy the clean, light, and inviting space. Not everyone wants to go to a crowded coffee shop, FRÍO caters to those that might want something a little different. They do serve Intelligentsia coffee though, and sometimes it is blended with their gelato to make something completely new. Check out their menu here (scroll down for the caffeinated options).
  • And finally, if Karla could swap with any other Andersonville business, she would choose Andersonville Antiques (5245 N Clark St). She loves the offerings there, and it would be a great opportunity to meet Andersonvillagers and other interesting folks.

 Thank you for listening to #AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast. For more information about FRÍO Gelato please visit friogelato.com. Show notes on today’s episode can be found at andersonville.org.  


You can find FRÍO Gelato on the following platforms:

Online: friogelato.com
Facebook: facebook.com/FRIOGelatoLLC
Twitter: @friogelato
Instagram: @friogelato