There was a unique buzz in the air Monday night in the West Loop coming from Carnivale’s festive and fun atmosphere. It was because small business owners from all over the city were gathering to hear the results of Time Out Chicago’s first ever Love Chicago Awards.
Throughout the month of October, Chicagoans were able to nominate their favorite restaurants, cafes, bars, stores and cultural venues they felt make Chicago neighborhoods distinctive and special. Monday night, the winners were revealed in front of a crowded room of honored guests. The atmosphere of Carnivale lead to a fun room with a DJ spinning tracks, an open bar and passed hor d’oeuvres with a latin flare. Nominees mingled and shared their stories with each other while others posed for pictures in the photo booth waiting for the ceremony to start. Once all guests had arrived Erin Delahanty from Time Out Chicago took the stage and welcomed everyone in attendance. She gave a brief history of what the Love Chicago Awards were about and how they show case the small businesses in Chicago. Then the moment that everyone was waiting for was upon us.
The top 5 winners in each category are:
Most Loved Restuarnt – Arbor in Logan Square
Arbor is a restaurant obsessed with developing flavor and creating food you can get excited about. They pride themselves on growing over 60 different vegetables, fruits and herbs to share with you in the meals they serve to you. They focus on giving the diner a custom and locally sourced meal.
You can follow them on Facebook: Arbor Chicago or make a reservation on OpenTable.
Arbor 2545 W. Diversey Ave Chicago 312.866.0795
Most Loved Bar – Simon’s Tavern in Andersonville
Simon’s Tavern was originally a speak easy during prohibition and was built to serve the nearby Swedish population. They have been pouring drinks since the 1920’s.
Follow them on Facebook: Simon's Tavern
Simon’s Tavern 5210 N. Clark St. Chicago 773.878.0894
Most Loved Café – First Slice Pie Café in Andersonville
First Slice Pie Café is the dream of Chef Mary Ellen Diaz. She wanted a way to help feed others and feed the soul. She found that way and created First Slice, a self-funded charity that helps feed the needy and homeless over a decade ago. She took her skills and opened the café, where she offers pie of course, but also subscriber program to over 100 families who get home-cooked, restaurant-quality meals weekly.
Follow them on Facebook: First Slice
First Slice Pie Café 4401 N. Ravenswood Ave. Chicago 773.506.7380
Most Loved Shop – Rep Chi in Jefferson Park / Portage Park
Rep Chi is a store dedicated to making silk screened shirts centered around Chicago. Some of the shirts they make are limited prints and when they are gone, they are GONE. When they aren’t busy making shirts, they keep busy making other things focused on Chicago.
You can keep up with them on their Facebook: Rep Chi
Rep Chi 4425 N. Milwaukee Ave Chicago 773.696.1992
Most Loved Cultural Venue – Logan Theater in Logan Square
The Logan Theater opened in 1915 as the Paramount Theatre, a single screen cinema. In 1922, the Vaselopolis family took over ownership and committed to serving the diverse families of the community and neighborhood. For nearly a century, the Logan Theatre has been a family institution with deep tradition of neighborhood entertainment at an unbeatable price (I found out my own mother has been to the Logan Theatre).
Follow them on Facebook: Logan Theatre
Logan Theatre 2646 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago 773.342.5555
After spending the night getting to know these great small businesses, I’m planning to stop in and visit them all. I suggest you do the same.