From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, February 2, 2017
For the folks who rack up the miles while globetrotting all over the planet, you get to stay in those wonderful hotel rooms, and you go to business dinners in those fantastic restaurants. You must think my simple existence here in Clarendon Hills is pretty dull. My occupation doesn’t take me all over the place, like you, and like many of my friends. Yes, I retreat occasionally to Florida, but for most of the time, I stay put in our small town. My car’s odometer doesn’t change all that much, because I leave it parked at home, and walk just one block to my office into town. When I have an appointment outside of my office, I’ll walk back and get my car, as if it was parked in a parking lot.
The only miles I rack up are on my credit card, and that is from buying too much stuff at Costco.
With the extra time spend around town, I oftentimes stare out my office window and dream. I dream about what our downtown will become, and how it will look in the future. I wonder what kinds of businesses would do well, and what we consumers would want here. There has been plenty of change lately, too, and with recent vacancies, come new opportunities. It has got me thinking about the possibilities.
After 30 years at one location, (for now) Quinn’s is out, opening up a retail space in the #1 space in town.
I can’t help but envision that building having some new windows, a new sign, and a business where it will not only survive but thrive, (I really do see this building from my office window, every day). Maybe another sandwich shop or a bourbon tasting room?
This space has such a prominent location that it would be fantastic to have a great retailer there to help encourage and be an ambassador for more retailers and patrons to come into town.
Maybe Quinn’s will re-open after all. There has been some talk lately that Quinn was looking to stay. Would the town support it re-opening? They were in the space for 30 years, so it would kind of be a nostalgic comeback.
On December 31st, Scapa Italian Kitchen left a void – and left a beautiful space – at 1 Walker Ave.
The 1 Walker building is arguably the nicest, if not the biggest venue around, having the capacity to host large parties and gatherings. So many of us have been to after-hour functions and special occasions there, and for a while, the space was the go-to location for Clarendon Hills families. Now that gift cards have (hopefully) been reimbursed, surely a new and exciting restaurant will want this place, right? Does anyone remember Soul Restaurant, which occupied the space before Scapa? What would you want there now?
And then there’s the property that was previously home to Mario’s (or The Hills, or whatever you want to call it) at 34 S Prospect Ave.
This space left a gaping hole on the side end of town. I dream of an Irish pub restaurant, or a really good burger joint, where you walk in anytime and meet friends. Many people have wanted to bring Mike LaGrange back to town to revive the old Delizioso’s Pizza. It was recently told to me that a new pizza restaurant will open this coming spring called, Brama La Pizza.
It won’t be long until that corner around Prospect, Park, and Walker Aves. will look much different, and more modern. The residential building behind Mario’s will be built soon, and will replace a longstanding eyesore of a vacant piece of land. The Fifth Third building is now empty but hopefully, a new business will value the people who take up residence next door, and they will support and shop in town in turn.
From my window, I can see the old Village Art building, which sat next to the police station. I’m still hoping for a beautiful restaurant, a gazebo, and gardens to meander. I’m wondering, like you, what will become of it?
So when you return home from your trip maybe one day soon -, we will have more of those fantastic places for me, and you to go, right in our own simple, little town.