Category Archives: Leisure and Recreation

Has the Big Hurt Struck Out?

 

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By Jonathan De Leon

Two years ago, The Big Hurt Brewhouse opened in September of 2014 on the corner of Cermak and Oak Park with boosters claiming it was the next great sports mecca and tourist attraction.

Now it stands quiet, with the sign “closed for remodeling” taped on the doors outside.

Neither restaurant management nor owner Frank Thomas, Chicago White Sox legend, could be reached.

Berwyn officials had no answers as well about the sudden closing. Continue reading

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Morton Soccer Flying High

By Chris Sich

Friends and family settled in and took their seats on the frigid bleachers of Morton West Stadium as the J. Sterling Morton men’s soccer team took the field Tuesday of last week. There is a buzz in the air. The lights and sounds from Harlem Ave. passively filter into the stadium; brakes screech and car engines rumble as traffic stops and goes. Players’ warm-up and coaches discuss tactics, as they prepare to kickoff against the Willowbrook Warriors. A win would add to the Mustangs already stellar season.

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Mortons Baltazar Duran goes for the ball.

According to Max Preps rankings, the Morton men’s soccer team is ranked first in the nation and has a 19-0-1 record. With a convincing 4-2 win over the Warriors and only a couple of games left in the season, the team has its sights set on finishing strong.

“I think we have been successful this year because of our teamwork on the field, and the skill of our players,” said Head Coach Mike Caruso. “One of our main strengths of our team is that we have players that can play several different positions, which gives us a lot of versatility for the different styles of teams we face. “ Continue reading

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Next Stop: Depot District Redevelopment

By Melinda Czifrak

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Current commercial areas in the Depot District; Photo courtesy of the Berwyn Development Corporation

In the dreams of Berwyn’s planners, crowds fill the busy streets of the Depot District, with shoppers and retailers mingling inside quaint shops as others enjoy a meal in one of the area’s many restaurants. Outside, cars drive by, the final touch to an otherwise perfect picture of retail bliss.

The Depot District’s reality, however, looks a little bit different.

In recent years, the city of Berwyn has attempted to bolster its retail offerings and develop a destination dinning corridor. Continue reading

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7th Annual Fairy Tale Ball at the Berwyn Public Library

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Fun and games at Berwyn’s Oktoberfest!

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by | September 20, 2016 · 12:27 pm

Berwyn Development Corporation Gears Up for 2nd Annual Green Mile Pub Crawl

by Lauren Pinkston

The Green Mile Pub Crawl gives revelers a chance to get a jump on St. Patrick’s Day with a March 13 party along Berwyn’s Roosevelt Road.

Don’t expect too many marching bands, however.

Organizer John Aranza said it will highlight Roosevelt Road as a “destination point”.

“It’s not a typical St. Patrick’s day parade,” Aranza said, “It’s more to showcase the quality of businesses we have.”

Local businesses, such as Fitzgerald’s, Big Guys Sausage, Autre Monde, and others will host special music performances and food and drink specials for the evening.

And this year the organizers are going to showcase more musical acts, including the Band of Brothers Pipes and Drums.

“Band of Brothers is a group of retired firefighters from the Illinois area who play traditional music,” Aranza said. “They’ll be moving to different locations on Roosevelt to play bagpipes throughout the night.”

The Pub Crawl is set to kick off on Friday, March 13 at 5 p.m. and going to  11 p.m. Wristbands for the event costs $10 and include a shuttle service down Roosevelt Road as well as drink specials at participating venues.

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Berwyn Public Library Hosts Anime Monday for Teens

Berwyn teen anime fans come together to enjoy the Japanese-style animated movies and television shows at the Berwyn Public Library with like-minded fans individuals each week.

Marion Olea, invites anime fans to come together every Monday.

“I think it’s just a unique event to expose themselves to this big culture of anime,” said Marion Olea, the library’s teen services assistant. “It’s a nice way for them to unwind and experience anime for themselves.”

Currently attendance at Anime Monday maxes out at about eight young adults, but Olea hopes to encourage more attendees by including snacks and alternative activities in the future.

The Berwyn Public Library, located at 2701 Harlem Ave., has been hosting Anime Mondays for about one and a half years. Anime Monday takes place every Monday from 4 – 5 p.m.

 

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A pothole or a black hole?

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Bad winter weather has led to bad pavement conditions in Berwyn.

Outside the Beauty Marty on 7105/7107 Roosevelt Rd., in the Cappuccino Plaza, a large hole has formed.

“People complain all the time,” said John Cho, owner of Beauty Mart.

No one has come to fix the pothole, he said last week.

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Mission House Café Serves Coffee and Compassion

by Lauren Pinkston

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Mission House Café, tucked away in a renovated Victorian home in South Berwyn, brings customer service and community outreach together by using profits from serving food and beverages to benefit local and global charities.

The café’s handcrafted refreshments and rustic atmosphere makes it stand out from the average coffee shop.

Berwyn’s Assemblies of God Pentecostal Church runs the café; its children’s pastor, Joshua Brniak, manages it on a day-to-day basis.

“My goal as the manager is to provide a warm and inviting environment while serving the highest quality coffee and food around, meet and build connections within our community, and provide a meeting place for people from all walks of life,” Brniak said. Continue reading

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Pav YMCA Hosts Snow Days for South Berwyn Students

by Lauren Pinkston

Berwyn working parents now have a safe and supervised place to take their students during district emergency closings. Stephanie Robinson, School Age Childcare and Family Director at Pav YMCA, collaborates with South Berwyn district 100 to host a “fun-filled,” emergency closing day when the district cancels school.

“This is a great way for parents to know their child is safe, while they’re at work,” Robinson said, “It is convenient and we allow drop ins, so those parents who cannot take the day off when their children are out of school have a place where their child can go.”

During inclement weather closings, school-aged children are invited to engage in a variety of entertaining activities while their parents are away at work.

“Our program starts at 6:30 a.m. and goes until 6:00 p.m. From 6:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. our staff takes registration and plays board games, cards, or other quiet activities,” Robinson said, “9 a.m. – 4 p.m. is our program time where we swim, play in our gym, do art projects, and engage all of the children in a large group activity.”

The event hosts about 10-20 children on average and costs $20 or $25 for members and nonmembers respectively. The YMCA has hosted emergency closing days on Jan. 7, Jan. 5, Feb. 2, and Feb. 19 this school year.

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Volunteers help to beautify South Berwyn

By Elisa Juliano

Photo Courtesy of South Berwyn Park District.

While some may be relaxing on Saturday, Apr. 26, volunteers will be working to cleanup South Berwyn.

Check-in for the “2014 South Berwyn Earth Day Kickoff” will begin at Hermitage Middle School at 8:15 am. The event will take place from 9-12 pm.

“It’s a chance for volunteers to get together and beautify South Berwyn,” said Hillary Fulara, a recreational programmer for Proska Park.

Fulara said volunteers will focus on cleaning up designated areas and preparing the community gardens at certain schools.

“It’s part of our strategic plan to institute or install environmental literacy among our residents,” said Fulara of the event.

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Comedian films at local lounge

By Elisa Juliano

While most of the crowd at Cigar and Stripes BBQwere enjoying beers, 12-year-old Trevor Burke was sipping chocolate milk waiting to perform.

On Feb. 5 comedian Trevor Burke filmed the pilot for his new reality TV show at the neighborhood restaurant and bar in Berwyn.With cameras, microphones, and directors on deck Cigar and Stripes BBQ looked more like a Hollywood movie set.

“I’m kind of transforming from a kid doing stand-up comedy and acting into something huge,” said Trevor.

The show will follow Trevor’s journey to perform comedy while often being rejected by clubs because of his age. Trevor, a St. Charles resident, is only 12-years-old, most clubs have a 21 and over age restriction.

Trevor said his humor appeals more to adults than children.

While most were drinking beer and cocktails Trevor Burke sipped on chocolate milk.

Trevor Burke taking a break and playing on his phone.

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Memorial expected to attract 50,000 to Berwyn

By Elisa Juliano

Photo courtesy of Berwyn Park District.

Photo courtesy of Berwyn Park District.

This summer the Berwyn Park District expects many will flock to Berwyn to see “The Moving Wall” on display at Proska Park.

“Through our marketing efforts the number that has been thrown around is 50,000 people,” said Hillary Fulara, a recreational programmer for Proska Park.

According to Fulara, Aurora hosted the wall in November and received over 150,000 visitors.

“The Moving Wall” has been touring the county for almost 30 years and is a half-size replica of the Veterans Vietnam Memorial located in Washington, D.C.

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Bubbles and magic in the air at local laundromat

By Elisa Juliano

The World’s Largest Laundromat had a few tricks up its sleeve, presenting customers with a magic show and free pizza this Wednesday.

James Sanden, a local Chicago magician, entertained the children of customers with card tricks, disappearing acts and balloon animals for about two hours. Customers also snacked on free cheese and sausage pizza delivered fresh every 20 minutes.

In the past the laundromat has hosted other magicians such as Mary Macaroni.

According to his website, Sanden has performed in Japan and Costa Rica, in both Japanese and Spanish.

The laundromat does pizza night every Wednesday and free coffee and donuts daily. Sanden is set to perform again at the laundromat on Feb. 16 at 4:00 p.m. and March 12 at 5:00 p.m . For more information visit www.worldslargestlaundry.com.

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by | February 2, 2014 · 7:07 pm

Christmas spirit in the Depot District

Santa and his reindeer visited Berwyn’s Depot District last night for Berwyn Development Corp. “Deck the Depot” to get the city into the Christmas spirit.

Santa's car

Santa’s car

Visitors enjoyed free horse driven sleigh rides, trolley rides and a petting zoo. They even got to sit on Santa’s lap to tell him their wish list and get a free photograph.

Berwyn girl telling Santa what she wants for Christmas

Berwyn girl telling Santa what she wants for Christmas

The event also collected new unwrapped toys for the “Holiday Cheer Program” in Berwyn and canned goods and non-perishable food items for Berwyn Food Pantries at participating businesses with collection boxes.

Donated goods

Donated goods

Depot District merchants stayed open late offering some complimentary goodies. Also, there was a raffle worth more than $200 for adults 21 and older who spent $10 in the Depot District. Open Houses took place at Giovanni’s World’s Best Ribs Inc, Olive or Twist Martini Bar, BMO Harris Bank N.A., The James Joyce Irish Pub, Off the Traxx and Wishbone.

Sleigh riders say hello

Sleigh riders say hello

 

The 12th Annual Deck the Depot was presented by Santa Sponsor Suburban Life Media and Reindeer Sponsors The James Joyce Irish Pub, Off The Traxx and La Notte Café.

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Connie’s Restaurant new addition to “keep up with the times”

By Lauren Reiniger

Connie’s Restaurant in Berwyn now has a new party room and lounge. The party room seats up to 90 people, and the lounge includes a bar and modern electronic slot machines.

Connie’s Restaurant, 3271 S. Harlem Ave., hosted its grand opening of Connie’s Event and Party Room & Lounge Wednesday morning.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony

Ribbon-cutting ceremony

“If you don’t keep up with the times, you’ll always die with the dinosaur,” said Andy Sotiropoulos, one of the owners of this family-owned restaurant. 

Four years ago, the family couldn’t decide if they waned this part of the building to be a party room or a lounge. The space became both, after Sotiropoulos and his friend completed the construction in July.

The new addition is a business opportunity. Video-gaming is growing, especially in Illinois, and this expansion will be a “terrific addition,” according to Mayor Lovero.

Game room and lounge

Game room and lounge

Sotiropoulos was previously a product manager for Moterolla, but decided to commit to the family business.

“This place has survived 70 years, and I promised by dad I would see it to 100 years,” said Sotiropoulos.

His father, who was unavailable for comment, started working at Connie’s restaurant 38 years ago as a cook, according to Sotiropoulos. His parents became co-partners in the late 1970s and helped the success of Connie’s Restaurant.

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Wire to host award-winning album band

By Lauren Reiniger

Scott Lucas & the Married Men will be playing at Wire in Berwyn Friday, Nov. 22. The Chicago Tribune listed their album “Blood Half Moon” in the top 10 indie releases of 2012, according to Mango Media Manager Jill Mango.

Lucas describes the group’s evolving sound as “country-ish, alt-rock for people who like metal.” The band also incorporates violin, organ and accordion into their music.

Scott Lucas & the Married Men toured with Deer Tick last summer and played shows with James Iha, Kelly Hogan, Tristen, the Airborne Toxic Event and others in the past year.

Lucas, originally from Zion, Ill., is best known as the singer and guitarist for a two-man, Chicago rock band called Local H. For his solo records, he plays with the Married Men. Reviewers have compared this band to American Music Club, Wilco, the Waterboys and Nick Cave.

Wire is located at 6815 W. Roosevelt Rd. in Berwyn.
Find more information, music and videos for Scott Lucas & the Married Men at http://www.scottlucasandthemarriedmen.com 

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Friday night frights in Berwyn Gardens

By Lauren Reiniger

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The cold wind blew in the Berwyn Gardens on Friday, Oct. 25, but that didn’t stop more than 30 children and their families from coming to the campfire and getting into the Halloween spirit. They sat on the edge of their hay bales, eyes fixed on storyteller Adrian Del Toro, cautiously waiting to hear what would happen next.

Some of the stories involved headless widows, talking dolls, ghostly housemates, and much more that caused shivers of fear among the adults in the audience. But the children stuck with it.

“In the past, we tried to be more lax and less scary, but kids started to get bored with the children’s stories. They wanted to be more scared,” said Inara Canino, recreation supervisor for the North Berwyn Park District.

However, the night wasn’t limited to haunting stories; Del Toro also told jokes and tongue-twisters.

“Why did the vampire need mouthwash? Because he had bat breath,” Del Toro said.

The entire audience burst with laughter, and some children even slapped their knees.

Del Toro even challenged the listeners with a tongue twister: “If big black bats could blow bubbles, how big of bubbles would big black bats blow?”

The Haunted Story Telling was part of Berwyn’s festive weekend and preceded the Berwyn Fall Fest on Saturday.

The North Berwyn Park District will host the Berwyn Fall Fest from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday in the Berwyn Gardens, featuring music, food, crafts, a pumpkin patch, petting zoo, pony rides, games, and a costume contest.

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Berwyn’s 45th Annual Houby Festival: still upholding tradition?

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by | October 7, 2013 · 10:12 am

Wire: a one-hit wonder in its own

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by Lauren Reiniger

Roosevelt Road has another new music addition, but this spot is something special for everything music-related.

Wire, located at 6815 W. Roosevelt Rd. in Berwyn, had its grand opening last night where Mayor Robert Loveno hosted the ceremonial ribbon cutting. Wire is a new place in Berwyn for music performance, production, and instruction. The venue includes music education for all ages, private recording studios and a concert venue.

Four men, who are all musicians, own Wire. Chris Neville, vocalist-keyboardist of band Tributosaurus, is the conceptual founder of Wire. Managing partners are Paul Bolger of band Mr. Blotto and Evanston School of Rock musical director; recording engineer-producer Jon Smith from bands Ministry and the Police; and Tracey Dear of band Waco Brothers. Dear is also and founder of the architectural lighting design firm Dear Productions.

“We do everything music-related,” Neville said. “We want to get things going and we are all excited.”

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The Wire team has spent more than $1 million in the creation of this music venue, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The 10,000-square-foot space includes a rear upstairs area that houses the studio and a mezzanine level with offices and a VIP area. Six small private classrooms and a student lounge are on the main level behind the stage, which is the main performance area located directly across from the main entrance.

“The Berwyn Development Corporation recruited these men and they bought the venue in December 2011,” said Tony Griffin, executive director of the corporation.” It’s something of its own. They’re bringing in a whole new community.”

Wire is a new and promising addition to Roosevelt Road in Berwyn, helping the growing popularity of this street, according to Mayor Robert J. Loveno.

“People are coming from various communities,” Loveno said. “This is the type of atmosphere established on Roosevelt Road.”

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Grand opening events take place Friday, Oct. 4 and Saturday, Oct. 5. Tributosaurus will cover Electric Light Orchestra songs at 9 p.m. Friday with a $20 cover charge. Axes of Evil will open for Mr. Blotto at 7 p.m. Saturday with a $15 cover charge. For more info, visit the Wire Facebook Page. Advance tickets are available at www.ticketfly.com/venue/9923-wire/.

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