Lemont Book by @SouthCookExplore Hits Shelves

The Village of Lemont has been rockin’ their 150th Anniversary all year, promoting it and putting on events. As a marketer by trade, I’ve observed over the years how surrounding villages in the Chicago Southland honor their big anniversary years (like 100, 120, and so forth), and oddly enough quite a few don’t do anything. But Lemont has really blown me away with how they’ve been conducting their celebration.

But marketing and streamers are ephemeral—so what’s a little more permanent? A time capsule of some sort perhaps. How about a book?

150 years from now, what will someone write about us? ? We are still a tight-knit community, we love to parade and party through the streets, and we only have ten or so bars — which would honestly be a shocker to early settlers!
To celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Incorporation of the Village of Lemont, Authors Jason Berry and Kevin Barron (Southcookexplore) teamed up to tell the story of the last 150 through pictures.
— Village of Lemont on Facebook (November 1 at 3:33 PM
And in local fashion, the release party for the new book, entitled LEMONT: IMAGES OF AMERICA BOOK, took place at the Lemont Public Library (Fri., Nov.17, 2023).
If you’d like to learn more about how the book came to be, check out the Downtown Lemont website’s page for it: https://www.lemontdowntown.com/news/lemont-150-book
The book cover will probably look familiar to local Chicagoland folks because it is published by Arcadia Publishing, which publishes all those hyper niche historical books you see at booksstores like Barnes & Nobles, etc. You know you’ve made it as a town when you land a book deal with Arcadia. South Cook Explore Kevin Barron
Another part of this story I enjoyed learning about was of SouthCookExplore’s participation in the book. It caught my attention because this man behind SouthCookExplore, the growing in poularity resource site, is so thorough and has impressed me with how he has given so much to the local towns down here.
Kevin Barron is the man behind @SouthCookExplore, which has been becoming THE directory and source for local landmark enthusiasts. You’ve probably seen someone share one of his maps on Facebook I bet. He, like many behind-the-keyboard or behind-the-scenes folks who nourish insatiable internet minds, isn’t in the lime light and doesn’t post his face everywhere online like most influencers do. The term influencer would make him yack if you ever called him that, but he truly is influencing people in a substantive way that’s helping local Chicago suburban tourism. That is something worth celebrating, and I love how the town like Lemont 
If you’re looking for a list of official local landmark sites of South Cook County towns, like Tinley Park, Lemont, Blue Island, et al., reference South Cook Explore’s site full of 100+ FREE interactive Chicagoland and Illinois historic walking tour maps: https://www.southcookexplore.com/maps. And the @SouthCookExplore social profiles post daily ideas and places to explore for you social media scavengers. 

Pita Pita 2 new locations

One of our family’s go-to restaurants for takeout or catering is Pita Pita Mediterranean Grill has two new locations opening! Currently there are six (Chicago, Hoffman Estates, Lombard, Orland Park, Palatine, and Rolling Meadows), but the question is…where will the new two be?

The top guesses are Algonquin, Bloomingdale, Crystal Lake, Des Plaines, and Geneva. But the two won’t be revealed for a while. 

The Star Studded Comeback of Bridgeport’s Ramova Theater

Chicago luminaries Quincy Jones, Jennifer Hudson and Chance the Rapper are partnering together to reopen the historic Ramova Theater in Bridgeport, which has been dormant for nearly forty years.

Also reopening at the venue will be the Ramova Grill, which closed in 2012 after 82 years of service.

Joey Red Hots Taking Over Chicken-N-Spice Spot In Orland Hills

The famous Joey’s Red Hots has been revealed as the new tenant at 9135 W. 159th Street, Orland Hills, IL 60487. One month after the announcement of Chicken-N-Spice’s departure from it on October 26th 2023, after four years at that location. There is still a Chicken-N-Spice in Shorewood thank goodness.

Chicken-N-Spice was the place that made me understand why people love fried chicken so much. As a little girl, my immigrant grandmother’s fried chicken was legendary in her neighborhood in Northwest Indiana. But her granddaughter was squimish about fried chicken. What made me that way? It was the texture for me, and the mystery beneath always made me think there was a layer of feathers, bones, and difficulty to chew through. So I avoided fried chicken—except chicken tenders and chicken nuggets of course. 

When I started seriously dating my husband, his parents introduced me to the original Chicken-N-Spice in Joliet—and it was then in 2013 when my ignorance to the beauty of fried chicken was corrected. So you can understand how this new girl to the Chicago Southland is over joyed when she learns that this place announces they are expanding and opening two new locations in 2019.

The reason behind their leaving is a mystery to me—buy I will be painfully missing their sweet n’ sour sauce, Jojo’s potatoes and chicken breast chunks. But thank goodness there’s the Shorewood location

For you history buffs, the original Chicken-N-Spice in Joliet was demolished last September into a parking lot, one year after the retirement farewell party for its owners Pat and Ken Reimer—after 42 years of dedication and service at 251 N. Chicago St.

UPDATE (12/21/2023): Chicken-N-Spice is opening up a second location New Lenox! Good news for my fellow bereaved Chicken-N-Spice lovers. ? Thank goodness, right? Opening date is some time in Spring 2024. Location: 400 W Lincoln Hwy, New Lenox, IL—to be built on the empty parcel between Taco Bell and BMO Harris Bank.

CM Punk Return to WWE

Over the weekend Lockport native, and the movie dad to my daughter, CM Punk has returned to the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) after nearly a decade away. Pursuing other things, like that movie.

His movie debut was in Travis Steven’s Girl on the Third Floor (2019), a horror movie filmed in the Village of Frankfort; produced by Dark Sky Films. 

This article from the Bleacher Report does a great job of summing up the signifance of this story. 

11/21/23 Tinley Park Village Meeting

This story is salty—not since the the June 6, 2023* meeting has a meeting been so affecting. 
My husband who leaves it to me to stay informed about local things actually brought this Village Board Meeting to my attention. So when he called me over during the Live broadcast on YouTube, I knew something unusal was taking place there. He was watching a silly YouTube video a friend had sent him, and for whatever reason he decided to tune into the Village Board Meeting during its Live broadcast. The thumbnail for it was in his Related Videos section in the right sidebar area of YouTube.
The meeting made me feel sad that there exist disconnects and feelings of exclusion on the side of residents. Those who spoke during the Village board meeting last week were unhappy with a few of the village’s activities and decisions. One person spoke up about not being included when he was actively reaching out to the village’s Marketing Director, offering his expertise. 
What could have been done better by both the village board and staff? What could’ve been done better by the residents who spoke up? Those two questions stood out in my mind at the conclusion. Honestly, I don’t know the answers, but I do know that harmony needs to be amped up. 
* Starting at the 1h12m51s mark, quite a few speakers came forward to address the board. The main topic of concern was racism in the community.

Calumet Fisheries Fire

For my fellow Anthony Bourdain, Blues Brothers, and foodie fans—last week Calumet Fisheries suffered a significant fire due to electrical issues, which has forced the small restaurant to close until they can make repairs.

And the bridge next to Calumet Fisheries is the one jumped by Jake and Elwood Blues in the comedy classic The Blue Brothers (1980)—and the business apparently hosted the crew for a few days while filming the jump.

Victory Auto

Another bummer story concerns a business you know grew up with—with unforgettable commercial we Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana folks know and love like the Empire Carpet jingle.

The legendary Victory Auto Wreckers, Inc. closed their doors permanently on November 30th. 

New Antique Store In Downtown Tinley

There’s a new antique shop in Downtown Tinley on Oak Park Avenue called, Journey Through Time Antique Emporium, which I very much want to visit before Christmas. The vintage Marshal Field ornament and gold necklace laced with emeralds posted on the shop’s Facebook sold me.

The owner is a retiree named, Jamison Bielic who is living the dream in his golden years. I hear he’s real nice and greets every person who walks through his door. We need more of that these days, don’t you think?

Tinley Book Club 12/2

And this bit of news is a plug for the Tinley Park Book Club my fellow moms and I have been slowly growing since the last leg of the pandemic.

The Tinley Park Moms Book Club will next meet at the new Krema Coffee Roasters inside the Oak Park Ave Metra Station. This meeting is for anyone who wants to discuss?BritneySpears & her new memoir The Woman In Me. And what better day than on her birthday! 

I hope you can join us, even if you’re not from Tinley. 

Tinley Park Moms Book Club - December 2, 2023 at Krema Coffee in Oak Park Avenue Metra Station - Discussing Britney Memoir

RSVP on the private event page:➡️ https://www.facebook.com/events/314471091537412

! You must be a member of the Tinley Park Moms Facebook Group in order to access the above event link. Tinley Park Moms is a group open to all female residents of Tinley Park (we’re just past the point of no return for changing the name).


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