Best of the South Side 2018 | Beverly | Morgan Park

Best of Beverly & Morgan Park 2018

Russell Ingram

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Best Resale Shop

Beverly Hills Marketplace

Sam Stecklow

Sam Stecklow

The first thing you notice when you enter Beverly Hills Marketplace, maybe just after getting off the Metra at 95th Street or venturing across the street from Jimmy Jamm Sweet Potato Pies, is the impeccable sense of design the interior is blessed with. Many antique and resale stores are cluttered, musty, and difficult to navigate; Beverly Hills Marketplace, owned for five years by sisters Bonita Jefferson and Robbie Perez, is instead itself a work of art, organized with a loving sense of purpose that’s immediately apparent to any new customer. From furniture to tchotchkes to a truly impressive array of Winnie the Pooh memorabilia, the lovingly collected items call out to you from every corner of the shop. Jefferson sources much of them herself from estate sales and through travels, but also rents out space to other vendors, for “people who want to be entrepreneurs themselves” but can’t afford the overhead, she told the Weekly. The shop also functions as a space for people to meet and relax, Jefferson said: “It doesn’t always have to be in a bar scene.” It will also be participating in the upcoming Beverly Arts Walk on September 29, which is as good a reason to explore Beverly and fall in love with the Marketplace as any. (Sam Stecklow)

Beverly Hills Marketplace. 1809 W. 95th St. Wednesday–Saturday, noon–7pm; other hours by appointment. (773) 701-6674. facebook.com/bhmarketplace

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Best Use of Grilled Cheese

Manzo’s Burger

Jason Schumer

Jason Schumer

Humberto Manzo, a veteran of trendy West Loop and River North kitchens, began making burgers by taking trimmings from pricey cuts of meat used for expensive dishes. The Clearing resident received such rave reviews that he decided to open his own burger joint, settling on a 111th Street storefront with cheaper rent so as to better spend money on ingredients. Based on the quality of his burgers, it was a wise choice. The most famous is the Hangover Burger: two beef patties topped with ham, bacon, caramelized onions, and a fried egg, stuffed between two individual grilled cheese sandwiches used as the bun. Regardless of whether you’re hungover or not, it will be the best thing you eat all day. It’s also so substantial it may be the only thing you eat all day. (Sam Stecklow)

Manzo’s Burger. 2353 W. 111th St. Monday–Saturday, 11am–9pm; closed Sunday. (773) 779-5945. manzosburger.com

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Best New Way to Get Around South of 79th Street

Dockless Bikeshare

Zachary Jesse

Zachary Jesse

In a handful of cities around the country—Seattle, Washington, D.C., the Bay Area—the arrival of dockless bikeshare has been met mostly with eye rolls and annoyance at another trendy new tech toy for yuppies, cluttering downtown sidewalks and filling the streets with young people on brightly-colored bikes. In Chicago, for one reason or another, City Hall instead decided to preemptively regulate the use of the bikes, which can be left anywhere suitable within the boundary zone: essentially the entire Far South Side south of 79th Street and west of the Skyway. The city capped the number of bikes per bikeshare provider and later introduced a requirement that the bikes be able to “lock to” a bike rack, instead of simply lock in place, which has already lead to the departure of one company.

Many have theorized that this strategy, despite Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s gestures toward “bike equity” with the program (itself co-opted from bike advocates such as Olatunji Oboi Reed), is instead to prevent the user base of Divvy, the city-sponsored docked bikeshare system, from being cannibalized by only allowing the dockless bikes in a part of the city Divvy has not yet been extended to. It’s a reasonable fear; most of the dockless bikes are far preferable to the Divvy-branded ones, which are heavy, clunky, and frustratingly slow.

Of the three dockless operators with permits in the city, Jump, owned by Uber, blows Divvy out of the water. Its bright-red bikes, featuring sturdy U-locks, come with “electric pedal assist,” a small electric motor that kicks in after a pedal push or two—terrible for exercise but great to traverse the city quickly, and very fun. The LimeBikes (guess what color they are) also feature pedal assist, and are not unpleasant to ride; however, Lime’s pricing structure is also the worst offered—it’s a dollar to unlock, plus fifteen cents per minute. Pace, the third system, which stocks the most bikes, does not have pedal assist, and the white bikes are small, heavy, and difficult to ride and lock. (The Forest Preserves also offers its own non-pedal-assisted-system, Hopr, within the larger system boundaries for use in its Dan Ryan Woods and Eggers Grove Forest Preserve. It ranks between LimeBike and Pace.)

Divvy’s expansion on much of the South and West Side has been anemic at best, and per data obtained by Reader transportation columnist John Greenfield, it’s not for lack of demand: there have been thousands of rides with each of the providers since the launch of the pilot program. Which brings up another issue: in keeping with Chicago’s national reputation among bikers as being slow to provide bike-friendly infrastructure, there are very few bike lanes in the boundary area for the pilot dockless bike program. This raises the question of whether it’s a good idea to encourage thousands of potentially new bikers onto the roads and sidewalks. Alderman Matt O’Shea, who memorably said in 2012 he would not allow any bike lanes in the 19th Ward (and has kept good on his word), is the city’s biggest booster of dockless bikeshare, despite the fact that the thought of biking on busy arterials within the ward, like Western Avenue or 95th Street, is terrifying.

O’Shea didn’t respond to a request for comment, nor did any of the other aldermen whose wards intersect with the pilot program boundary area—with the exception of 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale. Through a spokesperson, the Transportation Committee chairman stressed that he’d prefer that Divvy be expanded further into the Far South Side, and that Beale—who is a cyclist—has not had a chance to try out the dockless system, largely because the companies haven’t reached out to him. (He is scheduled to try out an electric scooter, from Bird, which also hopes to launch in the city soon.)

Still, one can be hopeful for the future of the program, if only because of how easy and enjoyable it makes getting around the Far South Side, parts of which can easily be described as transit deserts. How else could someone without a driver’s license, like myself, expect to cheaply and easily get from Morgan Park to Calumet Park in about twenty-five minutes? (Sam Stecklow)

Dockless bikeshare. Between 79th Street, the western and southern boundaries of the city, the Chicago Skyway, and the state line with Indiana. Pricing varies between providers.

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