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In This Issue...
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The Art of Chicken Puts All Its Eggs In One Basket
An Ode to Lucy Flower
The WOW Factor
And the Award Goes To....
Ask the Alderman

The Art of Chicken Puts All Its Eggs
In One Basket

IMAGE: The Art of Chicken exteriorWhat does it take to elevate the lowly chicken to a culinary art form? Just ask the folks at The Art of Chicken, where it’s all chicken, all the time!

Nestled on a particularly pedestrian-friendly strip of Western between Ipsento Coffee House and Las Asados, the inside of the 20-seat restaurant is designed to look like a chicken coop. Two types of grilled chicken headline the menu – one marinated in a tangy sauce (El Jefe), the other seasoned with a special blend of spices (Crazy Chico). They also serve up an assortment of side dishes like mac-n-cheese and corn on the cob. But despite the limited menu – or perhaps because of it – business has been brisk at The Art of Chicken since they opened their doors several months ago.

IMAGE: Art of Chicken meal“Our recipes are uncommon,” explains owner Christian Moreno (no relation to Alderman Moreno, by the way). “Sure, there are other restaurants in the area that have flame-broiled chicken, but nothing like our very slow marinade process and special herbs, or our homemade salsa. And I haven’t heard of many places that serve Mexican-style corn on the cob. People love it!”

The Art of Chicken is the first restaurant venture for 29-year-old Moreno, a lifelong Bucktown resident whose family has lived in the neighborhood for 40 years. “We’ve seen a lot of changes, and we’re here to stay,” Moreno emphasizes. “We know our customers – an eclectic mix of old timers and young professionals who are newer to the community, and we serve both equally. That’s why we have outdoor seating, a big-screen TV for sports, and today’s music playing on the sound system. Our customers want reasonably priced food that they can eat in, carry out, or have delivered – and we offer all of these options.”

Indeed, Moreno attributes his restaurant’s initial success to the fact that they are committed to the local community.

“It’s been going very well so far, even better than I anticipated,” he says proudly. “We’ve enjoyed great word-of-mouth, and we’ve been written up by local bloggers, newspapers, and community organizations. It’s created a lot of local traffic, and we’ve now got regulars coming in on a consistent basis. People who stop by Ipsento Coffee check out our place and come in when they’re looking for dinner. And we’re excited about a bakery that’s opening soon next door, so we’ll be able to send folks there for dessert. It’s all a community effort.”

When asked if he’s ever thought about expanding his menu, Moreno hedges a little. “We’ve talked about it,” he admits. “But right now we just want to concentrate on what we do best. Get our feet wet a little longer.”

IMAGE: Art of Chicken interiorLooking ahead, Moreno hints that he has a few additional enhancements planned for the restaurant’s chicken coop decor. “Bucktown is known as an artistic community, that’s why we have the chicken characters on the wall. It’s a fun design theme for adults and kids alike.”

For other first-time restauranteurs looking to open up shop in the area, Moreno offers a few sage words of advice.

“Be patient,” he says. “The food is a major part of it, but there’s also zoning,permits, design, and construction that can take longer than expected. Fortunately, my restaurant is family operated,  so I don’t have employee turnover issues. Owning a business requires a lot of patience and hard work, but it's all worth it in the end.”

2041 N. Western Avenue
(773) 697-9266
Open Monday - Saturday for lunch and dinner
Closed Sunday

An Ode to Lucy Flower
Any day now, construction crews will descend upon Lucy Flower Park and begin demolition activities in preparation for unveiling a brand-new playground for West Bucktown next year. We've worked so hard for this renovation and are thrilled with the many improvements in store for the new park. But at the same time, it can be bittersweet to say goodbye to a playground that holds so many wonderful memories for our community. 

So in the spirit of honoring the past as we look forward to the future, we've put together this short "tribute video" to capture just a small slice of the love Lucy Flower has shown us over the years. (If you have trouble viewing the video below, click here to be redirected.)
Thank you, little Lucy Flower Park, for serving as such a wonderful urban oasis for our children, a gathering place for our families, and an ongoing source of pride for our community. We can't wait to see how you continue to blossom and grow!

The WOW Factor
Picture this, West Bucktown:
You're strolling along North Avenue, just west of Western. You pass a bakery, florist, yoga studio, and a small gastropub with fabulous outdoor seating. The sidewalks are wide and roomy and remarkably clean. Shiny glass storefronts line both sides of the street. There are black wrought iron trash bins on nearly every corner, and lush flowers drip from planters hanging from lamp posts. You stop and grab a latte at the corner coffee shop. Up ahead is the neighborhood's flagship grocery store, flanked by a farm-to-table restaurant and a vintage bookstore where local authors give readings every Wednesday night.
IMAGE: North Ave.A pipe dream, right? Well, not if the merchants of WOW have anything to say about it!
WOW — an acronym for "West Of Western"  — is the brainchild of a collective of West Bucktown business owners who have joined forces to make our little stretch of North Avenue from Western to California THE place for eating, drinking, and shopping. Growing in numbers every day, WOW currently includes the likes of Sugarfly, Caganchos, Rangolis, Tom Robinson Gallery, An Orange Moon, Duets Dance Studio, and Dreambox.
"This area is absolutely ripe for hip, upscale businesses," says Lynne McDaniel, who, along with her husband Ty, has seen their vintage furniture store An Orange Moon thrive at its new location at 2418 W. North Ave. "Homes in West Bucktown have been commanding premium prices, and with the opening of The Bloomingdale Trail next year, we're going to see an increase in foot traffic throughout the area. We're trying to get in front of this growth and position WOW to be a true retail mecca for the community."
For now, that means trying to lure the right mix of businesses to the area. Not big-box chains or auto parts stores, but the kind of boutique specialty shops and restaurants that create a real "vibe" and encourage pedestrian flow. To this end, McDaniel and other WOW shop owners have been reaching out to businesses and contacts all over the city. Their particular focus right now? A gorgeous 5,000-foot double storefront at 2412 W. North that's just waiting for the right tenant to move in and take the area's WOW factor up a notch. And with the Alderman's blessing, the group is also in the early planning stages for a WOW event to be held in conjunction with next year's Riot Fest.
WOW members see themselves as a precursor of sorts to creating a more formal Chamber of Commerce or Special Service Area (SSA) partnership down the road.  "We'd love to be able to link in with the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce," says McDaniel, noting that WPB's boundaries currently stop at Western. "But even if that doesn't happen, WOW is prepared to step up and make this area the vibrant shopping district we know it can be!" 
To learn more about WOW, or if you know of a business you think would be a great fit for this area, please email McDaniel at  

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And the Award Goes to...
IMAGE: Award trophyListen up, West Bucktown! It's about to get all real up in here!
Alderman Joe Moreno has launched the inaugural 1st Ward Awards, and serious bragging rights are at stake! They're asking folks to vote for the "best of the best" in the 1st Ward, including the best Restaurant, Bar, Business, School, Community Group, Festival, Neighborhood Addition, 1st Ward Staffer, Local Politician, and...oh yeah -- Neighborhood Group! (Hint! Hint!)

Click here to cast your votes! And when you do, try to remember how much fun you had at the neighborhood block party last August. Or at the Post Holiday Blues bash we threw back in January. Or how much you appreciate receiving these electronic newsletters. And how beautiful our new Lucy Flower Park is going to be! The point is, we've come together as a neighborhood and a community in some pretty spectacular ways, so let's make sure to let the rest of the 1st Ward know about it! Grab your computer, your phone, your wife's iPad — whatever devices you can get your hands on — and vote today for the WBNA! 

Winners will be honored at an event on Thursday, December 5th at 6 pm at The 1st Ward, a music and event venue that's part of the Chop Shop complex at 2033 W. North Ave.

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Ask the Alderman
IMAGE: Alderman Joe Moreno
In this issue of the WindowBox, we hit up 1st Ward Alderman Joe Moreno with a few random questions about issues affecting West Bucktown:

Q:  Neighbors have commented on the new street lights that recently went up along the two-block stretch of Rockwell between North Ave and Bloomingdale. They seem much brighter than the old lights and the lights on surrounding streets. Is this a pilot program of some sort? Will all of our streets eventually receive these new lights?
A:  The street lights that were installed on the 1600 and 1700 blocks of Rockwell are not part of any test or pilot program. They were paid for by menu money and took more than a year to be installed after the request was made. The new lights are indeed brighter than the old ones because the city is using different poles and bulbs these days. Relighting an entire block is very expensive, so we don’t have any plans to install additional lights just yet.
Q:  Can we get any updates on the vacant lots at Cortland & Campbell?
A:  We recently down-zoned these lots to unify zoning on the north side of the 2500 block of Cortland. That side of the block now has an RS3 single-family home designation. The owner of the empty lots has expressed a desire to eventually develop them, as well as the property he owns on the south side of the 2500 block of West Homer. But he hasn’t provided any concrete plans as of this date.
Q:  Any news on what might be planned for the Streets & Sanitation office at Cortland & Campbell once it's fully vacated?
A:  We are STILL waiting to hear back from Streets & Sanitation regarding its plans for this old 26th Ward yard building.  

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The next issue of the WindowBox is tentatively scheduled for distribution in late Summer. 
If you have a story idea or would like to contribute an article, please email us at


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