Jason Schumer

Best of Back of the Yards 2019

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Best New Pop-Up

La Selva Shop

Initially established by Rolando Santoyo in the fall of 2016 as an online shop, La Selva just got its first pop-up shop in Back of the Yards. Pop-ups, a way for brands or retailers to market themselves and gauge feedback from consumers, are almost everywhere—and just a few weeks ago, La Selva’s first pop-up shop opened in our community. Thanks to Santoyo, we now have a little shop on the corner of 48th Street across from St. Joseph Church. Santoyo is an artist, graphics designer, and active member of the community who has contributed some of the murals we’ve seen in our neighborhood through the years. Santoyo’s mission behind La Selva is to help create a positive narrative about our community. Inside La Selva, you’ll find Santoyo’s product line dedicated to bringing glory to our community. You will also find lovely art that represents Back of the Yards painted along the walls of La Selva Shop. If you haven’t already, be sure to stop by the shop, spark up a conversation with Santoyo, and pick up some Back of the Yards merchandise. (Guadalupe Ceja)

 La Selva Shop, 1724 W. 48th St. Tuesday and Thursday, 6pm–8pm; Saturday and Sunday, 10am–3pm; closed Monday and Friday. laselvashop.com

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Best Archive of Art

Murals from the Yards

Jason Schumer

Visual art is a form of communication with no barriers. Years ago, Back of the Yards was primarily made up of immigrants who didn’t have access to the same educational resources the average citizen does today. Many individuals did not know how to read or writeincluding my mother when she first arrived in the US from Mexico. Something that kept my mother’s spirits up was the art that decorated the neighborhood. The murals that lined the bridges, representing Latinx culture, made her feel embraced by our community. Today, more and more art continues to be spread throughout our South Side neighborhood by creatives birthed here. Back of the Yards. Murals from the Yards is an Instagram and Facebook page that was started to sustain the paintings in a digital archive. Murals from the Yards also has a mission to “create programming so the youth can create more murals in Back of the Yards.” Hopefully, something we can soon add to the neighborhood is a dedicated art center to accommodate the creatives in our community. (Guadalupe Ceja)

Murals from the Yards. instagram.com/muralsfromtheyards

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Best Colombian Brew

Sputnik Coffee

Jason Schumer

Sputnik Coffee Company is relatively new to the neighborhood, but gives off the vibe that it’s been around for years. Sputnik is a coffeehouse that roasts, brews, and serves its Colombian blend on-site, making it unique for a neighborhood coffee shop. When you first step through the doors, you are immediately greeted by the smell of freshly brewed coffee, sweet pastries, and a gracious welcome from one of its employees. Sputnik has an approachable and personable environment that focuses on creating connections between patrons over a cup of coffee. It thrives off its simplicity and by making its medium-roast blend easily accessible, not just in Back of the Yards, but throughout the city and beyond. At their location, you can purchase a cup of coffee starting at only a dollar, and can make it a meal by adding a spinach and feta croissant for $3.50. In 2018, you could find Sputnik’s packaged coffee beans in farmers markets on the Southwest Side. Now, you can find their packaged coffee beans in grocery stores throughout the city. “Delicious coffee can be affordable,” the package reads, their slogan then translated into eight different languages to include Chicago’s diverse population. (Guadalupe Ceja)

Sputnik Coffee, 2057 W. 51st St. Monday–Friday, 6am–1pm; Saturday, 7am–4pm. (847) 668-8075. sputnikcoffeecompany.com

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