To Hyde Park Co-Op home. Business Climate home. 53rd and beyond planning. Village Center (see also Antheus). Restaurants, dining

Grocery Scene: Treasure Island Foods Hyde Park, Hyde Park Produce in Kimbark Plaza, other new, present and coming grocers

This page is presented by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, its Development-Preservation-Zoning Committee, and its website

Page index

Full list of grocery shopping options in Hyde Park

TREASURE ISLAND GROCERY STORE OPENED AT 1526 E. 55TH ST. AFTER C0-OP TOPPLED. March 10, 2008. And Hyde Park HYDE PARK PRODUCE, . MICHAEL'S MARKET OPENED in the former 47th Co-op goodly space. Lost is University Market on 57th. VALLEY OF JORDAN specialized deli-grocer opened on 53rd, TWO H AND Z's are open- 47th Greenwood and 57th, and Food 4 Less on Cottage.

Harper Court Farmers' Market will reopen for 2011 at the east end of 53rd Street June-mid October. Volunteers are needed.

The University of Chicago, owner of Hyde Park Shopping Center at 1526 E. 55th at Lake Park signed a 20-year lease with Treasure Island, Inc. to open a successor store to the Hyde Park Co-Op Market. The now-opened store's website is (where one can learn about their shut-in food delivery, specialties, more-Just call 773-327-4265 ext 313, Fax 773-327-6337 or email at ).
Store phone 773 358-6400. Shoppers after the noon March 15 grand opening ribbon cutting seemed very pleased with the store.
Since, a lower volume of trade at the store has been noted. Redesign began in October 2008.

Meanwhile, HYDE PARK PRODUCE, a much admired family enterprise, is set to open in a space about three times as large in Kimbark Plaza, tentatively January 23. And new specialty grocers are getting ready to open--Are C-O-M-P-E-T-I-T-I-O-N and O-P-T-I-O-N-S coming to Hyde Park? A coming of the artisan cuisine niche (Horvat) also?But some say it's becoming an overbuilt component of the retail mix, and we should move on to encouraging other basic stores and different niche stores. As Michael's Fresh Markets starts converting the old Co-Op on 47th, we are likely to lose Village Foods sooner rather than later as Village Center is redeveloped.

There many other grocers in the community, most notably Village Foods at East Hyde Park Blvd. (51st) and Lake Park, which many consider a completely adequate and moderately priced store and will play an important role in realignment with TI and HPP of Hyde Park shopping habits, and in the larger likelihood of new development along Lake Park Avenue, likely to become a major new shopping spine. However, the days of Village Foods seem numbered as its shopping center is likely to be redeveloped.

University Market on 57th closes in December 2009 as a big UC rent increase would drive it into the red. Medici says it will move some of the specialties to its Bakery and that the proposed rent is not "market" but way above. The UC is expected to bring in a new business (said to be its plan anyway, using a rent hike instead of just declining to renew the lease), the new business is said to be "upscale" and to include a grocery or food component.

This page will tell the story of these major changes and monitor their success and their delivery of service to Hyde Park and the South Side, and impacts on the character of the neighborhood.

Lease signed by Antheus to bring Whole Foods to Village Center development (tent. starting construction late 2012, opening in 2014.)

Read/print in pdf.

Press Release - 5.4.11

Antheus Capital is delighted to announce that Whole Foods has signed a lease to serve
as the anchor tenant in our redevelopment of the shopping center in the south west
corner of 51st and Lake Park in the Hyde Park community. This lease represents a
powerful endorsement of Hyde Park by the world’s leading natural and organic foods

Much work remains to bring this project to fruition but we are gratified by this
milestone and appreciative of the significant time and effort invested by former
Alderman Preckwinkle and her successors, Alderman Newsome and Alderman Burns, in
making this possible. We also acknowledge and appreciate Alderman Leslie
Hairston's leadership in improving Hyde Park.

The mixed-use project is designed by Jeanne Gang and Studio Gang Architects
and includes 179 residential units, 110,000 square feet of retail and office space and
two levels of underground parking. Chicago City Council approved the Planned
Development in the fall of 2010. The stores and residences are expected to open in

Antheus Capital is a New Jersey-based real estate investment and development firm
with investments primarily in Chicago and Kansas City.

Peter Cassel

In this page:

Full list of shopping options in Hyde Park (and some outside) including for shut ins.

53rd Street Mini-Mart (about to open), 1379 E. 55rd St.

CVS pharmacy, 1304 E. 53rd St., east end of Kimbark Plaza. 773 752-1425

Del Prado Market, 5301 S. Hyde Park Blvd., 773 493-0832

Harper Foods, 1455 E. 57th St., 773 363-6251

Hyde Park Food Center, 5131 S. Cottage Grove Ave., 773 324-5300

Hyde Park Mini Mart, 5503 S. Hyde Park Blvd.

Hyde Park Produce, 1226 E. 53rd, 773 324-7100; (Kimbark Plaza) Delivers

Ingleside Foods, 5117 S. Ingleside Ave., 773 288-8089

Lundy's Market and Cafe, 1009 E. 53rd St., 773 363-6022

Market in the Park, 5050 S. Lake shore Drive (Regents Park), 773 734-3687

Open Produce, 1635 E. 55th St.

Quick Snacks, 1668 E. 55th St., 773 363-6101

Save A Lot Foods, 4701 S. Cottage Grove Ave., 773 58-1634

Shinju Sushi, 1375 E. 53rd St. 60615. 773 966-6669, fax 773 966-6466. Between Kenwood and Dorchester.

Treasure Island Foods, 1526 E. 55th St. Personal Shopping: Just call 773-327-4265 ext 313, Fax 773-327-6337 or email at Marie A. Kamberos. Store phone 773 358-6400.

University Market, 1323 E. 57th St., 773 363-0070. And Medici Bakery just to east- both part of Medici family

Walgreens, 1320 E. 47th St. (Lake Park Plaza), 773 373-6132

Walgreens (24 hour), 1554 E. 55th St. (Hyde Park Shopping Ctr.) 773 947-8866

Walgreens, 5036 S. Cottage Grove Ave., 773 373-6266

Zaleski & Horvath MarketCafe, 1126 E. 47th St. 773 538-7372.

Just a bit beyond:

Aldi's - recently opened at 66th and Cottage Grove

One Stop, 4301 S. Lake park Ave, 773 624-4444.

Dominick's Finer Foods at 71st and Jeffrey

Jewel at 75th and Stony Island

Ordered and delivered shopping:

Treasure Island offers on-line shopping and delivery service to the Hyde Park community. For information, visit <> and click on the "personal shopper" link. Treasure Island has also has a shopping and delivery program to the area shut-ins, ensuring service to those who cannot do their own shopping. Just call773-327-4265 ext 313, Fax 773-327-6337 or email us at

Irv and Shelly Fresh Picks (organic and local produce), 5625 W. Howard, Niles IL 60714, 847-410-0595, http://www.freshpicks/com/cms/

Peapod,, 1-800-5-PEAPOD (573-2763)

See in later section direct service from area farms; farmers markets and community gardens (visit also 61st St. Community Garden page and in Green Hyde Park).



Release from Hank Webber on the signing and grocery options

From: Hank Webber []
Sent: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 4:05 PM
Subject: Hyde Park Grocery Shopping Announcement

Dear University Community,

I am pleased to tell you that the University has signed a lease with
Treasure Island to open a grocery store in the Hyde Park Shopping Center
at 55th Street and Lake Park. Treasure Island is working intensively to
obtain a number of city business licenses that are required. Although
the timing of this process is somewhat uncertain, Treasure Island has
set a goal of opening the new store before the end of February.

Treasure Island, a locally owned grocer (see
<> ), plans to make major renovations to both the
interior and exterior of the store, while maintaining operations
throughout the remodeling. It will be some months before the
renovations are completed, but we believe they will be worth the wait.

Treasure Island will occupy the space formerly leased by the Hyde Park
Co-op. Given the Co-op's serious financial difficulties, the University
worked closely with the Co-op Board to ensure the smoothest possible
transition to a new store. The Co-op's licensing agreement for the 55th
Street store will expire at the end of January, and the Co-op
anticipates closing its operations by January 20 as its current food
supplies are sold.

All of the current Hyde Park Co-op employees who are interested in
working at the new store will be invited to interview for employment,
beginning as early as this week. Additionally, the University has
worked with Alderman Toni Preckwinkle to ensure that city and state
resources, support, information and training are made available to the
Co-op employees.

Beginning immediately, Treasure Island is offering on-line shopping and
delivery service to the Hyde Park community. For information, visit <> and click on the "personal
shopper" link. Treasure Island has also agreed to immediately take over
the Co-op's shopping and delivery program to the area shut-ins, ensuring
continuous service to those who cannot do their own shopping.

In addition to the news about Treasure Island, we are looking forward to
the opening by the end of January of the new Hyde Park Produce in
Kimbark Plaza at 1226 E. 53rd Street. The new store will be more than
three times larger than the current store at 1312 E. 53rd Street,
providing a significantly larger selection of produce, meats, cheeses,
and other foods.

Since we are in a period of transition, we want to remind you of other
Hyde Park grocery shopping locations near the University, including:

* Harper Foods, 1455 E. 57th Street, 773-363-6251
* University Market, 1323 E. 57th Street, 773-363-0070
* Village Foods, 1521 E. Hyde Park Blvd. (Village Center),
* Market in the Park (Regents Park), 5050 S. Lake Shore Drive,

A detailed map with shopping alternatives can be found on the web at More information about shopping options is
available through the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce at or 773-288-0124.


Henry S. Webber

Vice President, Community and Government Affairs Top


Chicago Maroon, January 18, 2008. Treasure Island to come to Hyde Park. By Chris Ross

Chicago-based grocer Treasure Island Foods will replace the terminal Hyde Park Co-op Market and plans to occupy t he 55th street location at full operations by the end of February, announced University administration earlier this week. The Co-op, originally scheduled to close on January 28, will officially shut down Sunday due to dwindling supplies.

In preceding weeks, the University had narrowed its choice of replacements to Treasure Island and Dominick's. "We visited many stores of both chains, and we had full presentations from goth--by no means was t his slam dunk," said Hank Webber, vice president of community and government affairs. "What it came down to was that we believed that Treasure Island was the best combination of a general grocer and a specialty fit that can adapt to the neighborhood. They're very good at tailoring their stores to different locations."

Treasure Island, called "the most European supermarket in America" by chef Julia Child, made its name throughout the Chicago area by supplying a mix of imported and domestic goods. "This is a location we have wanted to be in for 30 years," said Treasure Island co-owner Maria Kamberos. "The location fits perfectly with Treasure Island's ideal demographic."

"Treasure Island recognizes that [the] 55th street location was profitable," said Jim Poueymirou, president of the Co-op Board. "They know this is a location that will survive, and they can bring the best quality groceries to the community as well as better service."

Kamberos said that Treasure Island will renovate the layout and structure of the space formerly leased by the Co-op. "We're going to revamp the whole upstairs," Kamberos said. "There will be a new deli [and] new departments, equipment will be replaced, the floors will be redone, everything will be state of the art."

During the interim following the Co-op's close, Kamberos said that Treasure Island will continue the Co-op's shut-in service, delivering groceries to customers who are unable to reach the supermarket. "One of the reasons the University was so interested in us was our community relations. We are really community-minded," she said. treasure Island plans on holding coking classes and will reserve a room for community meetings, she added.

University officials denied suggestions that Treasure Island was selected as a concession to certified Foods, the supplier which provided the Co-op with a majority of its goods and owned the long-term lease to the shuttered 47th Street co-op location. Certified, which also supplies Treasure Island, agreed to a $1-million buyout of the lease (the Co-Op was to pay $10million annually until 2023) as part of the University's proposal to close the Co-op Dominick's is supplied by Safeway.

"The fact that Certified supplies Treasure Island did not play a significant role," Webber said. "It certainly came up, but was not a major factor... It had no role in the negotiations for the agreement with the Co-op, and it could easily have turned out that we announced that we went with Dominick's."

Webber also said that even though t he Co-op and Treasure Island shared a supplier, shoppers could expect a noticeable improvement in the quality of food. "Our experience in reviewing and visiting other stores was to find that Certified was a wonderful supplier, and as a percentage, they provide far less of the food at Treasure Island [than they did at the Co-op]," Webber said.

Treasure Island began conducting interviews with former Co-op employees on Thursday in an effort to rehire workers who will become unemployed after the Co-op's closure. "The thing is, we need these people," Kamberos said. "We're going to hire as many as we can." ]

Poueymirou emphasized that throughout the Co-op's rocky last days, the employees have worked valiantly. "I commend the employees for their dedication and service," Poueymirou sid. "The organization failed them."

The University's selection of Treasurer Island to replace the Co-op caps an emotional and a times bitter debate about the future of the Co-op, a 75-year old Hyde Park institution which announced that it was financially insolvent at the end of last year. While some residents argued that he Co-op could be revived under a declaration of bankruptcy, a decisive vote by the Co-op's board and a shareholder referendum put the troubled supermarket to rest. The board instead opted for the University's proposal to assume the Co-op's debts and select a new grocer for the space.

"The University vetted a lot of candidates for the spot to be the best grocer for Hyde Park, ne that would be able to go beyond what a generic grocer could provide," Poueymirou said. "And now the table is set for Treasure Island to be a benefit to the community to reap the rewards of the grocer."

Customers swooped up products whose prices were cut between 20 and 40 percent throughout the week, with sentiments mixed between nostalgia for the dissolving Co-op and anticipation for the new grocer.

"I think it will be a welcome change," said Sheri Henderson, who frequents Treasure Island outlets on Chicago's North Side. "I'm really excited," said third-year Steven Isbell. "I will be dancing on this building's ashes. It was so overpriced. I'm only her now because the alcohol's 40 percent off."

At 11 p.m. on Sunday, the Co-op's doors wil close for good. A new Orleans-style jazz funeral will be held to commemorate the end of the Co-op on Sunday at 3 p.m., featuring jazz players and speakers who were instrumental in the Co-op's history and development. "This is an event that will celebrate the accomplishments of this grand institution and will extend a hand [to] various camps to come back together," Poueymirou said. "There will be funny moments and poignant moments."


From January 24 Chicago Weekly News. X Marks the spot. Inside Treasure Island.

By Supriya Sinhababu.

What else could you possibly want to know about the Hyde Park Grocery situation? If you've been following so much as the everGreen, you probably know why the Co-Op Market has closed its automatic doors for good, that soon a Treasure Island location will replace it, and what deeper issues Hyde Park's little game of musical grocery stores has dredged up. But one question remains unaddressed by the neighborhood media. What the hell is a Treasure Island?

On a day so cold that polar bears reportedly stayed in their dens at the Lincoln Park Zoo, his investigative reporter took the most perilous shopping trip in recent memory to Treasure Island's Wells Street location on the North Side to find out. Just as I was sure my extremities would snap off, I caught sight of the word "Bonjour" carved into the sidewalk. This was the first sign of Treasure Island, whose motto, taken from the praises of Julia Child, reads "The most European supermarket in America." (If the slogan seems a tad ridiculous, just think back to "A Love Affair with Wonderful foods." [Ed. addn: In Europe's markets you bag and serve yourself, not so at either Treasure Island or the former Co-Op]. )

How European is Treasure Island? Enough to have the full line of Walkers Shortbread products, but none of Tunocks'. Enough to carry Tetley tea, but not Jaffa Cakes. Internationally-inclined shelves, marked with floor tiles reading "German," "Greek," and "Italian," stock a decent selection of pasta, tea biscuits, and even Swedish pancake mix.

You won't have to order your Easy Cheese from a catalogue, though. Treasure Island carries all the Yank brands you're used to--the organization of the store just promotes an Old World facade. While boxes of San Pellegrino figure into a prominent display, shelves of American-brand sodas are relegated to an alcove with nothing but a pale neon "Pop Shop" sign to hint at their presence. For the most part, you'll only find the unabashedly American products in the innermost aisles. Some notable exceptions do occur-pouches of duck liver mouse with cognac, for example, are stocked right next to the Lunchables meat boxes.

Most critics of the Co-Op complained of two things: bad food and bad prices. Treasure island wil solve half the problem. While you'll spend about as much there as you did at the Co-Op, you'll get a better bite for your buck. The variety and quality of food made in the store is certainly a step up. The deli showed off steaming steaming pots of stew and enormous plates of grape leaves, caviar spread, and crab meat salad. A glass case displaying "Mama K's" homemade Greek pastries featured reasonably priced butter cookies and baklava. As for the produce, well, it's about as healthy a you could expect in the dead of January.

More than it is European, Robert Louis Stevenson, or anything else, Treasure Island is a store for cooks--ar at least it sells itself that way. The check-out counters even stock issues of Saveur, Bon Apetit, and Cooks Illustrated interspersed with Cosmo and People. If you thought the Co-Op had too few bottled spices or satchels of dried mushrooms, you'll warm to treasure Island in no time. A counter stocked wit jars full of 15 varieties of fresh olives introduce me to the olive bar concept. Samples are everywhere you look, too-- I could have eaten my bus fare's worth of ten different cheeses, spinach dip, chicken salad, and balsamic cocoa syrup.

Organic food lovers will continue to fork over good money for their forkfuls, but the occasional item will come cheaper. While gluten-free cake and brownie mixes run at about $6 a bag, prices are reduced on Morningstar Farms products, and organic milk comes over a dollar less per gallon than it did at the Co-Op. I marveled at the organic eggs at $3.39 a dozen as "Beat It" played over the PA.

For the broke college crowd, the same items you got by on at the Co-Op will continue to sustain you when Treasure Island takes over. The sanctity of two-for$5 boxes of cereal, 65-cent packs of tortilla, and $1.49 loaves of bread remain untouched. The liquor section contains as many bottles as the average liquor store, and a decent number of wine bottles recommended either by The Wine Advocate or resident expert "Tracy" were in the $9-12 range.

Is it worth paying so much attention to the finer points of a grocery store? While better goods don't necessarily translate to a flourishing community, Treasure Island will be the place where most of HydePark will buy its food, so its character and quality certainly count for something. Thankfully, there's reason to hope the new store will have more of these things than the Co-Op did. Top

Treasure Island steps closer to HP opening

Hyde Park Herald, February 13, 2008

"Preparations are going well" in the transformation of 1526 E. 55th St. from the former HydePark Co-Op grocery store to the much-anticipated Treasure Island Foods (TI), according to TI head Maria Kamberos.

"The inspector from the Health Department came out, and there's a bunch of things we have to correct in the store before they come out again to give us licenses," said Kamberos, who was reluctant to predict an opening date until the inspectors return and the licenses to open are issue. "We really need those permits," she said.

Kamberos said many former Co-Op employees have been hired and some are already working in TI's other locations. "We have people from the Co-Op currently working for us in our stores nw," Kamberos said. "Especially in the perishable department, we have probably around 35 people that are in our stores right now getting trained that will go over to the Co-Op." "There's another good portion that have been hired then to come in right before the store opens," she added. "We talked to everybody. There were people that turned us down in jobs."

The staff will be trained using the same process used in other TI locations, Kamberos said. "We have a program [in which] they work with the department, the department head and the buyer. They get trained that way," Kamberos said....

Kamberos said she was pleasantly surprised at the extent of the reaction from the community to TI coming to Hyde Park. "We've had so much feedback and e-mails and phone... it's been so positive, said Kamberos." Kamberos said she was particularly grateful for the calls telling her about unusual items that were available at the Hyde Park Co-oP that are still desired. "Customers from the Co-Op are calling [and] e-mailing us with requests of things that they had at the store that they had a the store that they want to make sure that they carry," "We didn't really have any opportunity to be in the store. By the time we were given the opportunity the shelves were bare, so this really helps a lot.

In addition to training employees and meeting permitting requirements, TI has also taken over the Co-Op's shut-in shopper program using TI staff to replicate the work done for years by Hyde Park Co-Op members and other volunteers.


Treasure Island ("America's Most European Supermarket") A Message to the Hyde Park Community...

We are thrilled to be joining your community and are grateful to the University of Chicago for selecting Treasure Island Foods. we are committed to bring Hyde Park a great new supermarket that combines the conventional grocery items with the best of specialty, organic and natural, and imported and domestic products at competitive prices.

Many thanks to the Hyde Park Co-Op's Board of Directors and management for graciously making this transition as easy as possible. We could also like to thank Alderman Toni Preckwinkle and her office for their assistance to ensure that city and state resources are made available to the Co-Op employees. We have invited all Co-Op employees interested in seeking employment with Treasure Island to interview with our staff and interviews are currently being conducted. All employees that are hired from the Co-Op will be guaranteed their current or higher wages. We value all of our employees; they are the key to providing our customers the best of Treasure Island.

Treasure Island is a Chicago base, family owned business and we recognize the connection between a flourishing community and its successful businesses. Giving back plays a vital role in the Treasure Island culture and we look forward to becoming an active and involved member of the Hyde Park Community. Our first step is to immediately begin fulfilling grocery orders to the Shut In clients previously handled by the Hyde Park Co-Op.

To ease the transition, we are making our Personal Shopping and Delivery Services available immediately to fulfill the shopping needs of the community. We provide same day delivery if you call us by 2 p.m. with your order. Just call773-327-4265 ext 313, Fax 773-327-6337 or email us at

We will open as soon as possible and will begin major renovations to both the interior and exterior of the store while maintaining operations throughout the remodeling. As we renovate this vibrant neighborhood store, look for these highlights:

We tip our hats to the Hyde Park Co-Op for t he 75 years of great service that they provided to the community. We thank you fo the opportunity to join your community and lok forward to meeting you all.

Christ and Maria Kamberos.

[From the Herald: U. of C. is additionally planning a facelift for the spot and Kamberos said Treasure Island will be making interior changes as well. New features of the store will include a sushi bar, a juice bar, organic and non-organic salad bars and a Belgian chocolate case.]

Treasure Island pushes back opening. Chicago Maroon, February 26 2003. By Kelin Hall

Treasure Island, the Chicago-based grocer slated to fill the spot recently vacated by the 55th Street Co-op Market, will not be opening in February as was their original goal. Lee Zarras, vice president of operations at Treasure Island, said that he did not know when the store would open its doors, and that at the earliest it would be the second or third week of March. According to co-owner Maria Kamberos, they are doing an extensive cleanup to prepare for their second city licensing inspection at the end of this week, so that the store can begin stocking its shelves.

Renovations of every department will continue after the store opens. Kamberos said that when the store does open, shoppers can expect big sales, lots of samples, and promotions.

Some community members fear, however, that the specialty-style grocery store, which will feature international, organic, and all-natural foods, will bring high prices. But Kamberos said t hat their prices will be "very competitive," and susan Campbell, associate vice president of the Office of Community and Government affairs at the University, described the prices as "similar" to the Co-ops.

Both the University and Treasure Island emphasize that the store caters to community and consumer needs. Kamberos said that they will offer a community room which has already been solicited by 50 organizations, will offer cooking classes, and will even try to stock items by customer request.

Some former Co0op employees have formed "In it Together," an organization trying to support workers in their job search. However, according to its founding member, Jay Mulberry, the organization has struggle because of "inexperience in th area of employment" and constraints on time and resources. According to Kamberos, Treasure Island welcomed all former Co-op employees to interview and had the staff of every department available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. fo four days to conduct interview. although several former employees say tha more than 100 interviewed, Kamberos estimates that between 85 and 90 came in. ...James Poueymirou said that 30 had been given jobs at Treasure Island. Kamberos declined to confirm the number, saying ..Co-op employees are still being interviewed and hired, so the numbers have not yet been finalized.

The sore's decision not to hire one employee in particular, Ronald (Rahn) Harris, outraged the community group "Good Neighbors," composed of 105 residents within walking distance of the 55th Street shopping court. Mulberry wrote to Kamberos on behalf of the group: "It is not controversial. Everyone is outraged and wants Rahn hired." The letter also articulated complaints that many employees who had interviewed had not been contacted. Kamberos said that the hiring decisions were final, that the store had made "every effort" to contact prospective employees, and that she welcomed anyone who had not heard back to contact her directly.

Treasure Island has also drawn local fire as a non-union store since its controversial decertification from the local 881 union. Amelia Tucker, president of the union to which the Co-op employees belong, sent a letter to Kamberos two weeks ago requesting a meeting to talk about the possibility that Treasure Island recognize the union, but Kamberos has not replied.

But according to Campbell, Treasure Island has gone out of its way to accommodate former Co-op employees. "Treasure Island has hired former Co-op employees and started them at the current pay scale they were receiving at the Co-op, which is different from T.I.'s other new hires who start at lower pay scales for the same positions," Campbell said. "This is a position Treasure Island decided on its own."

Red Tape around Treasure Island: Why the old Hyde Park Co-op's space is still vacant. Chicago Weekly News February 28 2008. By Sam Bowman.

Hyde Park is about to enter its third month without a fully stocked supermarket, and its seventh week of what was originally expected to be a fortnight with no supermarket open at all. This is enough to make one wonder how the University could have promised that by shutting down the Co-Op Market and forgiving its debt, the University could ensure that the neighborhood would be without a grocery store for no more than two weeks.

The... Office of Community Affairs ... places no blame on Treasure Island management for th stores' delayed opening. In the Office's view, the Co-Op and the city government are largely responsible for the delays, but it does seem that the Office's unreasonable expectations played a role as well. According to Associate Vice President and Director Susan Campbell, Treasure Island has "been working to get it ready, they had to clean the store and they've submitted all of their paperwork to the city, so they're just waiting to receive their license for occupancy, and it should be pretty soon."

The Co-Op, which hadn't been fully stocked since shortly after New Year's day occupied the space until the end of January and kept selling what non-perishables they had left until January 20. They had planned to stay open until January 28-- a week longer than they actually did. According to Campbell, the original promise had been that the new grocer would open "within two weeks of the time that the Co-Op vacated the site." because of the Co-Op's unexpectedly early closure, Treasure Island couldn't move in right away. Even under the University's expected timeframe, the store would have been closed for three weeks; one for the Co-Op to leave and two for Treasure Island to prepare the store.

Unfortunately, the grocer's move-in is already pushing five weeks, and they have still not announced a firm opening date. they cleaned and prepared the store as soon as they had control of the space at the start of the month, and brought in inspectors to start the permit process. This put the fate of the store in th hands of the city, which has yet to grant the necessary permits, and hasn't made any statements to the University about when it might do so. According to Campbell, "They can't even stock the shelves until they get that paperwork," so even once these permits are granted, Treasure Island will not open right away.

When it does open, it might be too optimistic to expect all the store's be ready right away.

The poor condition that the Co-Op left its former 53rd street branch was an obstacle for the smaller market HydePark Produce when it replaced the Co-Op in that space last moth. according to Campbell, there have been no major problems of this type with the Co-Op's flagship store...


Reviews of Treasure Island opening

Treasure Island opens doors

Hyde Park Herald, March 12, 2008. By Daschell M. Phillips

The whispers and unofficial announcements are turret: Treasure Island will open its seventh store in Hyde Park today, said Maria Kamberos, owner of the grocery chain. For the past several weeks South Side residents have been walking past the grocery store in Hyde Pak Shopping Center at 55th Street and Lake Park Avenue, peering in the windows on the south side of the sore out of curiosity and frustration.

The store was supposed to open two weeks after the Co-Op Market closed on January 20. Area shop owners and probing neighbors found out that today would be the opening day and were not shy about sharing the news that Kamberos officially confirmed on Saturday. "Yes, we are expecting to open the store on Wednesday," said Kamberos, who owns the store with her husband Christ. "We already have the nonperishables in place and we are putting the perishables--produce, meat and deli--in place.

While they plan on having a quiet opening today, the grand opening will be held a noon on Saturday, where Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) will be in attendance for the ribbon cutting.

In the meantime, Kamberos said there will be several special items for their customers. "The store will also feature Greek pasties from my husband's mother's recipe," said Kamberos. She said that Treasure Island also has a special partnership with the Italian Trade Commission, which is an Italian government agency that promotes relationships between Italian businesses and their clients. "We are having a promotion on all kinds of food from Italy and we will have a special cutting machine that slices Prociutto Parma very thin," said Kamberos, pointing to a large, red Berkel slicer, which is a very popular item to restaurateur and specialty storeowners because of its precision.

Although they are bringing in special items that are Treasure Island staples, Kamberos said the multitude of customer requests were very helpful, and that Treasure Island has been working with many of the same vendors that used to sell to the Co-Op. They have also continued delivering groceries to shut-ins using the food from their North Side stores, which is a service Treasure Island has adopted from the Co-Op.

Today, neighbors can expect to see department heads and store manager Craig Magus, who the owners and Treasure Island employers affectionately refer to as "Babe," said Kamberos. The Kamberos' are especially proud of their relationship with Magus because of their long history together. "He[s been with us since he was 15 years old," said Kamberos.

Kamberos sid that former Co-Op employees received first preference during the hiring process. Treasure. Treasure Island had a two-week interview period for the 175 former Co-Op employees. About 90 of them came to the interview, 65 were hired and 40 are currently receiving training at the Treasure Island stores on the North Side. They have also hired 12 student from Kenwood Academy for afterschool and weekend jobs.

Although this is the first Treasure Island in HydePark, the Kamberos' are not strangers to the area. "A lot of my husband's family lives in Hyde Park," said Kamberos. "We love Hyde Park. we've wanted to be here for 25 years."

Treasure Island will be open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Treasure Island to open Wednesday. 56 former Co-op employees on staff; store renovations will continue

Chicago Maroon, March 11, 2008. By Chris Ross

The Treasure Island supermarket at East 55th Street and South Lake Park avenue is schedule to pen wednesday, store representatives announced this week. Maria kamberos, executive vice president of Treasure Island, cited logistical concerns as the cause of the delay. ... "There was lots of clean-up to do, and we had to get our licenses. If we could have opened the next day, we would have. We're working to open as quickly as we can," Kamberos said.

Structural renovations, which representatives estimate could cost around $5 million, wil begin in th produce section and continue throughout each of the departments. "Everything will be very state-of-the-art." Kamberos said. She added that the renovations must be approved by the city of Chicago before they can begin. One of Treasure Island's major renovations will include installing glass panes across the entire storefront, creating "a nice visual of the inside," Kamberos said.

On Saturday afternoon, construction was still underway at the store location as employees stocked shelves across a floor littered with tools and pallets of supplies. "It's a big difference from last Monday," said Mark Ferguson, a deli worker. "We'll be here as long as it takes to open by Wednesday," said Kathy Doyle, a deli manager. Doyle said her initial impression of the new supermarket was that the different departments worked well together, creating an atmosphere of teamwork.

The supermarket also released data to the Maroon on Saturday concerning the number of former Co-op employees that the new grocer has hired. Since the stores's closure, a group of laid-off workers have organized in response to what many thought was Treasure Island's lack of sincerity in its efforts to rehire many of the employees. After Treasure Island invited all Co-op employees to reapply, 85 to 90 interviews were conducted over the course of two weeks.

When the grocer opens tomorrow, 56 former Co-op employees will be on the payroll, according to Kamberos, with an additional 40 members hired largely from around the HydePark area, including 12 students from surrounding-area schools such as Kenwood Academy. One of the employees on the floor Saturday, Maurice Caffey, was a former Co-op employee, rehired by Treasure Island. "I'm just glad to have a job. It's survival," Caffey said, adding that he felt the interview process had gone well. "The thing is, the Co-op was one big happy family. Everyone had each other's back, especially if they was going through something."

The University's announcement last year t hat Treasure Island, a specialty grocer with six other locations throughout Chicago, would inhabit the space formerly occupied by the Co-op was also met with some fear that the new grocer would sell items at significantly higher prices, a fear which Kamberos sought to downplay. "I believe it will actually be cheaper than the Co-op, Kamberos said, attributing Treasure Island's competitive prices to the supermarket's buying power and ability to buy directly from vendors and pass on the savings to customers. "But there's so much to choose from, you may end up buying more and spending more," she said. "We have a lot of items different from what staple grocery stores will carry." Treasure Island will continue to supply items from local food venues such as Cedars.

Treasure Island hopes in part to cater to Hyde Park's student population, providing a selection of prepared foods which will lend themselves well to a "grab-and-go" diet. "We want to make it convenient," Kamberos said.



As 2008 drew to a close, the strongest criticisms are a thinness of inventory (including at times running out of key staples and timeliness in getting items from basement storage onto shelves), high prices in some categories cf competitors, and a pr snafu in competing on christmas trees with a non-profit's sale in the shopping centers' adjacent courtyard. The renovations are admired. Most of these seem to have been corrected during the course of 2009. TI has been a generous community partner.

Treasure Island starting renovations October 2008

Herald, October 29, 2008. by Daschell M. Phillips

Treasure Island owners Christ and Maria Kamberos are awaiting city permits that will allow them to begin renovating their Hyde Park outlet of the supermarket chain. "We'll be renovating the store from outside and inside, department by department, said Maria Kamberos during an interview with the Herald last spring.

She said that she wanted to replace the brick walls that cover the north [?] side of the building with windows so that the store would look more inviting. Plans are also being made to make the store less like the Co-op Market, which used to be located in the Treasure Island space at 1526 E. 55th St., and more like its other Treasure Island locations that once had many Hyde Parkers trekking to the North Side. Those plans will be put into place as soon as the permitting process with the city is completed, a Treasure Island official said last week.

As part of the renovations, the store owner plans to add their popular fresh fruit and smoothie bar and add more natural and organic foods to their inventory. Other store additions include cheeses from around the world, aged meats, fresh sushi, a wine and spirit cellar, a cafe with wireless internet service, full-service catering and custom and catalog gifts.

Treasure Island is open from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and rom 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call773 358-6400.

Nov. 5 Herald. By Crystal Fencke

Last week crews started tearing out bricks on the facade of Treasure Island Foods (TI), 1526 E. 55th St., in the Hyde Park Shopping Center to begin the remodeling of the store. The Chicago grocery chain's most recently opened outlet should be sporting a new look by February 2009, said Maria Kamberos, owner of the business with her husband, Christ.

The Kamberoses began envisioning the rehab project even before signing the lease on the building that formerly housed the Hyde Park Co-Op eight months ago. Since then, they and in-house interior architects tinkered with 14 different layouts to do their best to cater to the community's desires, Kamberos said. The final blueprint is the result of much local input from the "thousands" of customer feedback cards from the boxes the Kamberoses installed in the store. "We wanted to make sure we could fit in everything people wanted," she said as a explanation of the redesign's waiting period since opening.

"It's going to be state-of-the-art," said Kamberos. In addition, this new design in Hyde Park is a model for the re-do of all the TI stores throughout Chicago: the Lakeview location will be next, she said.

According to plans for the multi-million dollar renovation, the store will look considerably different on both the outside and throughout all departments. The front of the building, which faces east, will be a wall of glass affording shoppers and passersby a look inside the entire length of the front of the supermarket. They will be able to see some of the new features, including interior paint and tile colors in warm browns, beiges and blues.

Other highlights are a larger produce department, with an increased organics section and two salad bars, and a juice bar offering smoothies. an enlarged bakery section will be situated at the north end of the store, and the butcher section will include a viewable meat aging room. In addition, the offerings of cheeses will increase. the middle aisles will offer international foods, a staple in the other Chicago stores.

Prepared foods and take-out areas will soon include a sushi bar, a wood-burning pizza oven, a rotisserie and a soda fountain. The cafe will be augmented also, so that more visitors can enjoy their meals without leaving the premises.

In the basement, a wine cellar will dispense potables. In addition, another Kamberos business will open downstairs. "I've Been to a Marvelous Party," now located near the Clybourne Avenue location of TI, will sell stationery and other goods to aid in planning festivities.

Beginning sometime in 2009, the Kamberoses are looking to offer cooking classes at which students learn kitchen skills and how to cook with the huge variety of products TI sells. Those courses, already popular at Clybourn.. would bed led by noted chefs from the city and in Hyde Park.

Kamberos was quick to point out that the cost of the substantial upgrades will not cause an increase in prices for TI's customers. She also said that during all phases of the construction, the store will remain open and accessible.


December 24 Herald: Treasure Island rehab work moves at quick pace. By Crystal Fencke

Construction of the redesign of Treasure Island Foods (TI). 1526 E. 55th St., in the Hyde Park Shopping Center, should be completed by the middle of January 2009, said Maria Kamberos, owner of the business with her husband, Christ. "Its' ahead of schedule," she said of the work that was originally targeted for completion in February.

The Kamberoses, who own and operate six other TI outlets in the Chicago area, chose the Hyde Park location as a model for a re-do of all of the other stores. The owners had been planning the renovation event before they signed the lease on the former Hyde Park Co-Op Market, which they reopened as TI in March 2008.

During construction shoppers may be a bit inconvenienced, but they don't appear to be complaining. Right now there is a human bottleneck between the service disk and the current floral department as one enters the store. Also, product is relocated temporarily to make way for work crews who come in especially after store hours. Babe Magnus, store manager, has been receiving lots of questions from shoppers about where they can find some items. But customers are "cooperative and happy when they see the progress being made," said Magnus.

Much of the outside and interior work is complete, said Kamberos. Almost all of the windows that make up the facade are in. Right now, this new exterior offers customers partial views into the refurbished grocery store and many of its updated departments; when it's finished the increased floral department, where customer service is now, will be a focal point from the outdoors.

White ceiling tiles are in place throughout. And blue ceramic tiles that create a bright backsplash decorate the meat area, and mustard colored ones accent the new bakery section. All but one of the new check-out counters are in; these have moving conveyor belts.

Some of the new and rehabbed departments are already in place or close to it. The two salad bars--including a new one offering all organic vegetables for $8.99 per pound--are available for shoppers. Also in the produce section are a wall of freshly-squeezed juices and a new cut-fruit area.

The bakery section, which is now set up to operate on the south side of the store near the produce area, is almost in place, and features self-serve cases to dispense about 12 feet of doughnuts and muffins, and another 20 feet for fresh and made-to-order cakes and specialty goods. The meat case in the rear of the store is in, as are the cut-to-order meat and fresh fish and seafood areas. By the deli area, a rack measuring about 70 feet is waiting to be stocked with to-go items such as sandwiches and dips made in-house and from other purveyors, such as the local Cedars Mediterranean Kitchen in Kimbark Plaza.



New stores fill in variety, competition, reachability

Hyde Park Produce opened in Kimbark Plaza, 1300 block of 53rd St. January 23, hours 8 to 8 except Sunday 8-5.

From the January 17 2008 Chicago Weekly News. On Hyde Park Produce.

Recent events in the Hyde Park grocery situation have cast a shadow of destitution over the appetites of many of the area's residents. Because the Co-op on 55th Street, Hyde Park's major grocer is scheduled for departure on January [20] and has stopped carrying perishable inventory, its customers have unwillingly been converted into vehement "vegetarians" whose cause is not that of animal rights but one of wanting to prepare a well-balance meal. Well, Hyde Park, a of next Wednesday you can finally appease your growling stomachs with what you have been waiting for. the Hyde Park Produce family is ready to satisfy all of your hunger pangs.

In case your curiosity hasn't already compelled you to take a look at what has been going on in the 53rd Street Co-op's former location in the Kimbark Plaza, it has been the projected location for Hyde Park's beloved Hyde Park Produce. For many of the produce store's loyal customers, these past few months have been characterized by an absence of a few of the store's familiar faces that have provided them with quality produce for the past thirteen years--most noticeably Mr. "Yo-Yo" Damico, whose friendliness and cheerful demeanor are just as inseparable from the Hyde Park Produce shopping experience as his signature cigar is from his smile.

Joining Yo-Yo in the business are his son Larry Damico and nephew Ron Thomas, al of whom are native to chicago's South Side. When a joint ownership of the produce store began only thirteen years ago between Yo-Yo and his son, by no means were they unfamiliar with the Hyde Park community, or, rather, by no means was the Hyde Park Community unfamiliar with them. Customers of Mr. G.'s 53rd street grocery store had been eating Yo-Yo's produce for twenty-five years before they took up the small store a few doors down, and judging by the immense array of fresh fruits and vegetables available within the store's positive atmosphere, the community knew that when it came to eating well they were well taken care of.

Although produce has occupied the forefront of the family's expertise over the years, the little store sought to provide much more to its customers. for years t hey had been considering an expansion but had been waiting for the opportune time to take action. Fortunately their customers' loyalty and the closing down of he 53rd Street branch of Co-op Markets provided the perfect means for allowing his group of wholesalers to realize their dream of having the necessary space for all the inventory they'd truly enjoy providing. HHP had come full circle, literally, ending up where it had started as a shelf presence so many years ago. "The angle of the store is to be more green. we'll probably end up being about forty-percent organic," says Larry, who began to carry organic produce in Hyde Park Produce about six years ago after having seen first-hand the improved quality and increased affordability of organic produce. The organic principle is merely confined to produce, but extends to all of the packaged meat that they plan on adding to their inventory, which includes fish, will also boast of its organic origin. HydePark Produce wil also provide separate sections for goods like dairy, frozen foods, and non-perishable goods alongside a produce playground that alone will rival the size of the former store. "We believe the neighborhood deserves this," Larry add.

Reciprocating HydePark produce's affection for the community, many eager customers have increasingly become anxious to explore the new space. curiosity has pushed many passersby inside (when time allows, of course), which illustrates that although the produce store will be attracting a larger consumer audience, loyal customers can still expect to find the same hospitality that animated the former store, but in a more relaxed and spacious environment. For this business, customers really do come first.

It's precisely because the customers come first that the owners have pushed opening day from last August to the 23rd of this January, and for those who had seen the place under previous ownership, the delay is understandable. Built in the '60s, the building had deteriorated while the prices of the stores located there had gone up but locals had no choice but to shop there unless they wanted to walk to 55th Street of go vegan and live off of Hyde Park Produce. "We gutted the place," adds Larry, "The only thing that was left was the ductwork."

Since Hyde Park Produce's overhaul of the space, walking inside is comparable of stepping into an unimaginable world, and once the space is open to the public, its attention to food quality in addition to its overall appearance will convince everyone in HydePark that a grocery store can simultaneously do business in the area and satisfy its residents. Imagine eating the same Hyde Park Produce guacamole prepared in a refrigerated back room, or being able to push around a shopping cart and actually allowing your eyes to pick out more than your arms themselves can hold. This may sound like a Stepford wives fantasy, but it's meaningful for those who routinely maneuver through HHP's cramped maze. Without a doubt, the appearance, the technology, and the atmosphere of the newest addition to the Hyde Park community is enough to convince the masses that grocery shopping will be a legitimate use of a sick day from work or class this upcoming Wednesday.

It sounds schmaltzy, but although very appreciative of all the compliments they have received on the look of the new store, Yo-Yo, Larry, and Thomas know that its looks are only partially representative of their accomplishment. Their new store is more than just a finished project; it is a dream which we have all been invited to experience. When asked whether he ever had any doubts along the way, Larry admitted that there was never any doubt about what they were doing, and that it was difficult to remain patient while they made sure everything was completed just as it ought to be. Concerning the store's fast-approaching grand opening, the Hyde Park Produce team could not be more enthusiastic. after having spent his entire day at work on the new store, Thomas added, "I've been working hard al my life. I want to have fun now. We want to have fun with this." Judging by th gleaming new store and the dedication of the people behind it, they won't be the only ones enjoying it. Top

The same issue had a cartoon block suggesting the best of all worlds would be to have a store where the shelves were portioned to different, preferably local resident producer-suppliers, who would set the prices and compete-- sort of like outdoor or the great indoor markets in cities around the world like Les Halles. Would it be possible for a store like Hyde Park Produce to have some of the larger produce sections have "specialty item" sections identified by supplier as well as varietal name in rotation with different prices when supplies are large enough?

Maroon: Hyde Park Produce fills grocer void

January 25, 2008. By Mischa Fierer

Atlantic salmon fillets, cucumbers, and even a selection of cacti greeted shoppers at the opening of Hyde Park Produce's new store Wednesday afternoon at South Kimbark Avenue and East 53rd Street.

More than 150 neighborhood residents and students pressed through aisles of fresh produce and products that couldn't fit in the store's original location, a block away on 53rd Street. The open house commemorated the grocer's expansion to the shopping center. The new store's produce section is larger than the entire old site, and the space is about three times larger in all, co-owner Ron Thomas said.

"This is a happy moment for Hyde Park," said Jack Spicer, chairman of the Hyde Park Historical Society's preservation committee and a resident of the neighborhood since 1970.

Fresh meats, fish, and produce have been rare sights in Hyde Park since the Co-op, Hyde Park's main grocery store, stopped selling perishable food after going bankrupt last month. Many residents have lamented the lack of organic and premium grocery options.

"They have actual fish," forth-year David Pisano said, while purchasing salmon. "Awesome." Shoppers praise Hyde Park Produce's prices, variety, and atmosphere. Several customers admired the grocer's new LCD screens that show prices of items during checkout.

Many said that the new Hyde Park Produce is an improvement over older grocery options. The Co-op branch "wasn't a friendly place," said Spicer.

Thomas had planned to use some of the Co-op's old equipment but found little of it usable. "We ended up trashing everything," he said. Thomas coordinated the new location's construction after the store signed a lease with the U of C last year. Hyde Park Produce's new location was slated to open last summer, but constructions setbacks and permit delays kept it shuttered. Thomas added that although he had allocated two weeks for renovation, the actual changes took two months due to outdated features of the 45-year-old building.

Thomas said that his cousin Salvatore Pappalito plans to open a cafe in the old Hyde Park Produce location.

On Thursday morning, Thomas and his co-owner Larry Damico were still at the store. Thomas was wearing the same black, baseball cap he had donned for the opening, and the two hadn't yet opened the bottle of champagne they were saving to celebrate the opening. They stayed up all night fixing non-functional credit card machines.

Thomas remarked to Damico that it was January 24 and that they had opened only the day before. "Was that yesterday?" Damico asked, smiling. "it seems so far away." "Forget about working hard; it was all worth it," Thomas said. "I had one of the most gratifying days of my life."


A quick review

Gary Ossewaarde, web writer

It's been a long time since Hyde Park has experienced the enthusiasm and fun it has had with the opening of Hyde Park Produce and CHANT restaurant. The enthusiasm of the two families as they realized their personal and business dream and fulfillment is a joy to behold.

The brand new clean, bright and up to date Hyde Park Produce was crowded, but not difficultly so, on its first Saturday morning at the end of January 2008. Organization of the store -- about a third or so the footage of the Co-Op/coming Treasure Island-- was a bit daunting- small selections of various kinds of produce set here and there with no arrangement or signage--including very limited price information and no direction about whether one was expected to place all unpackaged items and separated by variety in the tear-off plastic bags (biodegradable? recyclable?). You had to do that at the Co-Op, but most shoppers were not here, and the staff did not admonish anyone. Also, a selection of golden delicious apples near the front were almost everyone heavily bruised, with no indication that this might be a lower grade or reduced for clearance.

As one went deeper into the store, the impression markedly improved. A sense of excitement at the wide variety of produce, usual and rare, set within reach and with staff continually replenishing staff. Prices were comparable or at bargain. Missing were most of the bulk items such as oatmeal or rice by the bin and rice and flour in their great variety such as in the ethnic shops on the North Side. Meat selection was very small but looked excellent at reasonable prices. Boars Head meat was there but expensive relative to other stores. They had a good selection of breads, but light on the dark and country varieties. The deli was very attractive but small. Lots of cheeses and other dairy products. The store was short on non perishables, table and kitchen products et al. The variety and supply of ethnic sauces and foods and organic products was large and attractive. Checkout lines were few but efficient and pleasant. However, Links cards were not yet accepted, but "applied for."

One of the joys was meeting so many neighbors at what is a great asset to the neighborhood. Top

Herald January 23 2008. HP Produce to open Kimbark Plaza Spot

By Georgia Geis

After almost a year since signing a lease, the new expanded Hyde Park Produce opens this week in the Kimbark Plaza. Hyde Parkers wil find a completely renovated store three times the size of the 1312 E. 53rd St. location, stocked with fresh bread, hot prepares meals, specialty grocery items, gourmet coffee and the store's namesake produce.

The large maroon-colored awning above the 40-foot deli counter reads "Welcome to our dream!" "This dream- it has been a long time for me," said co-owner Larry Damico, who went into business with his father Lawrence "Yoyo" Damico 11 years ago. Damico said that the new store was "that and more" when asked if it was the store he imagined opening one day.

The Damicos and co-owner Ron Thomas completely renovated the 45-year-old store that once house the grocery Mr. G's, which opened in the 1960s and later house the Hyde Park cooperative Society Express store until it closed in 2006.

Damico said he knew that the neighborhood needed a grocery store with the closing of t he 75-year-old HydePark Co-Op on Jan. 20. "We have been here until 11 p.m. or midnight every night. We are happy to be opening," said Damico. A few o the former Co-Op personnel have been hired by Hyde Park Produce, and Damico said they are waiting until after they open to see how many more people they need to hire.

Under the stylish black track lights and large colorful pictures of fresh fruits and vegetables, Hyde Park Produce carries products such as Amy's Organics frozen dinners, Eden Organics teas, oils, crackers and noodles, Equal Exchange Coffee with a self-serve grinding machine, Indiana-based Laney Honey and Envirokids cereals.

The deli, like the original store, will exclusively carry Boar's Head meats. There will be fresh pastries prepared by a local Italian bakery.

The hours of the new store are the same as the original -8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.


John Frangias, Salonica and produce supplier to Hyde Park Produce owner, takes a critical look at how businesses are treated, including by residents (with stubborn loyalty to the Co-OP) and UC and Antheus (strangleholds), and encourages people to look at a successful, passionate model such as HPP.

"It's the economy, stupid." Recession, recession. Everybody is talking about it. The reality in Hyde Park is that it is already happening. The lack of any new business and the struggle of existing establishments to stay open is evident.

The stranglehold the University of Chicago has over the neighborhood and the presence of the East Coast investors that have taken control of a big chunk of the real estate (over 80 properties in five years), raising rents, emptying out buildings and displacing longtime tenants. Where is this money coming from and why so much in Hyde Park? They say they have a long-term plan. That's all well and good. I'm as much about progress as the next guy, but what happens in the meantime for the existing businesses? How will they survive when we are losing so many residents? Why would a small business want to start up and relocate here? The university's Master Plan and MAC Property's long-term vision is not working in the present environment.

On a lighter note: The best thing that has happened to our community in the past 20 years, the Hyde Park Produce Market, is close to opening at it new location. I urge every Hyde Parker to come a bring a friend, too. Get a feel of how a small business started, progressed and expanded through hard work and dreams. Sixteen years ago when the market opened on July 8, 1991, the biggest challenge was to get Co-Op loyalists to even come in and browse around. Co-Op customers that I shared at the Salonica Restaurant would look me in the eye, and with a bold face, tell me they are members of the Co-Op. (That meaning 'I will not come.') I say to them today, "Where is your Co-Op now?"




Specialty grocer and cafe Zaleski & Horvath opens ...on 47th

Hyde park Herald, January 23, 2008. By Daschell M. Phillips

Specialty food market, Zaleski & Horvath MarketCafe has finalized plans to open at 1126 E. 47th St. in May. What wil make this market, which will be in close proximity to Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center, 10[6]0 E. 47th St., and the future Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago, on a lot just east of Little Black Pearl on 47th Street[. U]nique from the new and bigger Hyde Park Produce and the future Treasure Island is the myriad food offering of artisanal cheeses, meats, breads and hard-to-find ingredients. The Market will also offer basic kitchen necessities, coffees and teas.

"Specialty storeowners have to make direct relationships to farmers that larger stores can't," said Tim Schau, Hyde Park resident ad co-owner of Zaleski & Horvath MarketCafe. "There has to be an intense focus on growers, manufacturers and regions."

Schau and his wife Karen McCarthy Schau, who is the other owner...., are foodies who were disheartened by the fact that they had to travel to the north side for authentic artisan cuisine, so they sold their interest in Istria Cafe, a Hyde Park coffee shop, and began working on opening Zaleski & Horvath MarketCafe.

"Hyde Park should benefit from the best varieties of groceries, meats and cheeses," said Schau. The inspiration for the idea came when the Schaus visited a specialty foods show in San Diego and learned a lot about the variety of foods on the market. "We met a woman from Peru who made... particular type[s] of peppers and honey," said Schau.

While shopper can buy items such as peppers and honey from any store, Schau said the stories and quality behind the products they will sell will be worth th purchase.

Just like their products, the name of the market also has a cultural story behind it. "The names Zaleski and Horvath are our mothers' maiden names," said Schau. "Our grandparents came to America as immigrants and brought their rich food cultures with them. In order to honor t5he artisan nature and culture of the delicious an unique foods and beverages we will feature at Zaleski & Horvath MarketCafe, we decided to reach into our own past and honor our families."


H & Z now open. Herald, October 29, 2008. By Daschell M. Phillips.

Specialty food market Zaleski & Horvath MarketCafe opened on Oct. 16 -- a boon to curious neighbors, who have been awaiting the store's opening since it was first announced in May. The Cafe's owners Tim Schau and his wife Karen Schau, Sam Darrigrande and is wife, Jessica Sohl, had been keeping the neighborhood informed of the opening process on their blog, are now in full operation, wearing black t-shirts that peek out above their black aprons and happily greeting customers.

Tim Schau said it didn't take long for neighbors, even very distant neighbors, to find them. "Neighbors came over for a visit and returned with their friends," said Tim Schau. Schau said that one man heard about the nutritious benefits of P.B. Loco brand peanut butter, which is hard to find in local stores on a television show and came to the MarketCafe from Crete, Ill., to buy some.

Zaleski and Horvath MarketCafe, 1126 E. 47th St., specializes in providing organic artisanal cheeses, meats, and breads, a refined selection of produce, and the highest quality, hard-to-find ingredients. The cafe also carries a wide range of salads and deli sandwiches as well as espresso, coffee and tea. The team boasts that they own one of four high tech Clover one-cup coffee makers in Chicago.

When customers visit the cafe, which is covered by a blue awning, they can expect to see as small coffee area with a few tables, a sprawling deli case filled with a variety of meats and over 65 cheeses and a blackboard behind the counter that lists contents of the deli case and coffee selections. The Schaus were part owners of Istria Cafe before selling their interests to open MarketCafe, and Sam Darrigrande recently sold his interest in a deli called Shane's in Wheaton, Ill., so these two areas were planned to be prominent part of the cafe. There are also wooden and metal shelves fo spices, sauces, chocolate, dried fruit and nuts, a freezer with ice cream and other organic dairy products, and a produce section.

"We wanted to create an old fashioned market with up-to-date staples," said Schau. "We also wanted to provide the best ingredients because we know when cooking that the best ingredients create the best results."

The owners are strong believers in providing background on why they chose to add an item to their inventory, so next to each food item there is a laminated placard explaining where each food item is from, how it wa made and the number of miles the items traveled to to end up in the store. Items range from local items that come from vendors 8 miles away to international items that are from 8,000 miles away.

Nutritionist Becky Stevens will also make occasional visits to the MarketCafe on weekends to offer advice on eating healthy, Schau said. Announcements about her visits will be made on the cafe's Web site. Zaleski & Horvath MarketCafe is open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Sundays. For more information call 773 538-7322 or visit



Open Produce goes beyond green and organic (note- closed over Christmas til Dec. 30)

Chicago Maroon, October 7, 2008. By Ella Christoph

College grads open new produce store

From Javascript to java beans, from Cauchy's theorems to Kashi cereal, a pair of U. of C. graduates have left behind their math books and taken on the world of groceries.

Andrew Cone (A.B. '06) and Steven Lucy (A.B. 06) recently launched their new grocery store, Open Produce, on East 55th Street [near] South Cornell Avenue, where they're supplying Hyde Parkers with fresh fruit, vegetables, and ideas.

Just a few months ago, it was hard to guess that for Cone and Lucy, the future held groceries. Cone, who has a degree in mathematics and computer science, worked as a computer programmer and at a hedge fund before leaving his desk job. Lucy received a degree in mathematics and history of science and worked as a free lance we designer and information technology consultant in San Francisco before returning to Hyde Park. Dissatisfied with their jobs in computers and finance, the two decided they wanted to create something, meet people, and see their work in concrete end-product.

But competition is stiff in Hyde Park, and grocery options in the neighborhood have expanded in recent months. Hyde Park Produce founded a new location on East 53d Street and South Kimbark Avenue, and Treasure Island opened a new store in place of the Hyde Park Co-op. The grocery business stands only to get touchier with the specialty grocery store Zaleski & Horvath MarketCafe slated to open soon on East 47th Street.

But Cone and Lucy remain confident that they can carve a niche for Open Produce amid Hyde Park's burgeoning grocery scene by offering a unique shopping experience for their patrons. As customers choose between price and sustainability, location and organic offerings, Open Produce's proprietors hope to offer an answer: fairly priced, healthy, organic offerings for all Hyde Park residents. Even with a growing number of grocery offerings in Hyde Park, most shoppers prioritize shopping at a convenient location within a quarter of a mile of their homes, Cone said. He hopes to attract Shoreland and Broadview residents on their way to and from campus as well as use his unique mission to appeal to buyers.

"People need to be made aware of the origins and nature of what they're buying at the time of purchase," Cone said. "When the effects of people's actions are transparent, this is what I believe empowers people to act morally and to act correctly." They hope to create a more transparent operation than conventional grocery stores. That is, they will display wholesale prices as well as the price at which they sell goods and where the item comes from. Open Produce displays both wholesale and retail prices. The wholesale price of a jar of guava jelly, $1.98, is listed above its retail price of $3.00. The store also offers unusual treats: coffee made by hippies" and "chocolate made by Catholics." Cone and Lucy also regularly post photographs of their trips to wholesale markets on the Open Produce blog.

Open Produce also sells its produce by the item, as opposed to the conventional method of selling produce by the pound. Cone pointed out that few people know how much a banana weighs. Open Produce's organic, free trade bananas cost 35 cents each, or about 83 cents a pound--a price tag that promises stiff competition for Treasure Island's $1.19-a-pound organic bananas or even its 70-cents-a-pound conventional bananas.

Bananas are one of a number of foods that Open Produce supplies specifically to appeal to college students. Many of the store's fresh foods and packaged items are easy to eat on the go or without a kitchen and exotic candies are displayed near the register are designed to attract curious students. Cone and Lucy hope to use their familiarity with the lifestyle of U of C students to reel in customers.

A vegan who is dedicated to animal rights and environmental concerns, Cone said that he is not interested in the upscale, gourmet products sold at many organic and locally grown produce stores an boutiques. "They're not trying to change the world. They're trying to change the way rich people eat," Cone said.

From 5th Ward Report

Beginning in late September, people passing 1635 E. 55th St. during the evening might have gotten quite a surprise--the brightly lit and painted new Open Produce with customers shopping inside. Beyond featuring healthy food, the proprietors envision adding value to their environment.

"We live next door," explains Andrews Cone, who launched Open Produce with Stephen Lucy. Both are recent University of Chicago graduates with roots in Hyde Park. "We felt the area needed a place like this, especially one with these hours." The store is open every day rm 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. [except Wednesdays?]

Cone acknowledges some residents have warned him about security issues. "We're not concerned. We believed having businesses open later at night helps keep the neighborhood safer. It helps create a community presence and energy, so people aren't running inside when it gets dark. They should have the convenience of being able to pop in if they need an onion or some lettuce-- at affordable prices, with friendly service."

The small storefront market caters particularly to vegans, vegetarians and those desiring organic and natural dry goods. It also carries spices and sauces used in Chinese and Indian dishes, as well as fresh bakery goods from the Medici restaurant and New York City Bagel Deli. "What's striking about Hyde Park, as compared to other parts of the city, is that there are lots of different people who actually mingle." notes Cone. "We want our products to appeal to that cross section and for them to feel comfortable here."

Caption: ...Cone assists a customer in his store, which carries such exotic items as passion fruit, sugar cane, longan, rambutan, plantains, and green coconuts.



Small suburban and city chain Michael's Fresh Foods signs lease for former 47th Co-Op space in August 2009, tracks for fast opening, promises full-service and catering to community needs and hiring

Hyde Park Herald, September 2, 2009. By Kate Hawley. [Note: how the space was finally released from Certified control is not revealed in the article.]

Michael's Fresh Markets, a small family-owned grocery chain, is planning to open a store at 1300 E. 47th St., the pace formerly occupied by the Hyde Park Co-Op Market. George Dernis, a partner in Michael's, and Glenn Azuma, a manager of Lake Park LLC, the landlord for teh roughly 42,000-square-foot store, said they signed a long-term lease last week.

Dernis said teh store will be fully remodeled and offer meats, produce, deli, seafood, a bakery and a wide range of organic items. "We sure would like to open by February 2010," he said. "We're going to do a store for the community."The store will employ 60 to 80 people including managers, clerks and stock positions, he said, adding that he will emphasize local hiring.

The space has been vacant since January 2005, when the Co-Op Market closed after just five years. Critics of the project complained that it was too expensive to build, and that it had too much close competition to be successful. Another factor in its demise was $1 million in annual rent, stipulated in a 25-year sublease agreement between the Hyde Park Cooperative Society and Certified Grocer. The steep rent and stringent lease also contributed to the closure of the main Co-Op store in the Hyde Park Shopping Center, at 55th Street and Lake Park Avenue, which folded in January 2008. The cooperative is now in bankruptcy.

Certified held the lease on the 47th Street space until the new lease was signed last week. Azuma declined to give specifics on the new lease agreement.

Ald. toni Preckwinkle (4th) said filling the space with a viable business will be an asset to the community. "The truth is that I don't know very much about Michael's, but I'm pleased that teh community will have a grocery store to meet its needs," she said. She said she will invite Dernis to the Oct. 1 meeting of the North Kenwood-Oakland Conservation Community Council to answer the community's questions and share his plans for the store.

Dernis said he has been in the grocery business for about 15 years. "We're still really young, we're aggressive, and a little hard work won't hurt anyone," he said. His partners in the 47th Street store are his brothers, Alex and John. The trio also own and operate Fresh Market stores in Harvey, Oak Park and Naperville. Another store is under construction in Downer's Grove, he said. With other partners, Dernis owns Mayfair Fresh Market near Pulaski Road and Lawrence Avenue in Chicago, and Kenosha Fresh Market in Wisconsin.




Green Gardening and organic-regional farming and CSA sharetaking/sustainable eating taking hold

Opened late 2008 is "Open Produce" at 1635 E. 55th St. It seeks to go beyond the usual organic and regional models and business models.

The following is based on an article by Yenni Lee in Chicago Weekly October 23, 2008

Even the most green and savvy regional farmers often do not do well in urban farmers' markets. They often do better at what are called community-supported agriculture boxes (CSAs) not only at markets such as 61st Farmers in Hyde Park but through direct or two-stage distribution. These have produce and dairy products, etc. committed to shareholders who have already bought shares for a season worth of produce with the farm, one example being Genesis Growers in St. Anne, Illinois. Others producers having such a symbiotic model include Angelic Organics (local hq. in Woodlawn,) Videnovich Farms in Bridgman MI (owned by Hyde Parker Vera Videnovich), and Grass is Greener. The model started in Japan c 1980. The suppliers bring their boxes weekly to designated drop offs. Angelic Organic's local drop off is 57th St. Meeting of Friends, 5715 S. Woodlawn While Genesis Grower's is at a home, where it is then broken down and shared. Many of the participants use the seasonality of availability of different foods to teach their children about life and sustainable living. A participating Hyde Parker who is also a planner notes that she can afford to do it, including paying a premium for organic-- but what matters is building up the scale so that more can short circuit "industrial farming" which hides a lot of costs including social and health. Still, most growers charge an upfront $500 and more for the share--and going up as food producing and fuel costs skyrocket.

Another model makes weekly delivery of fresh, local organic produce: people who go out to the farms to buy and assemble boxes they then sell or break up. A prime regional example is Irv and shelly Cernauskas's Fresh Picks. The box share costs $18 and can be customized (fully customized go at $35 and up) but need not be weekly. They also include explanations why something is not available, for example.

Experts who note the soaring trend not that markets have trouble valuing all that goes into farming and distribution/interactions linking people, even at a remove, and places. And there are some local community gardens, especially in the surrounding neighborhoods.

See the Grocery Scene page in this site, and getting food suggestions in Helpline. An increasing number of the producers and businesses have websites.


Whole Foods to enter the mix in 2014, signs in spring 2011 with Antheus for Village Center E. HP and Lake Park.

Read/print in pdf.

Press Release - 5.4.11

Antheus Capital is delighted to announce that Whole Foods has signed a lease to serve
as the anchor tenant in our redevelopment of the shopping center in the south west
corner of 51st and Lake Park in the Hyde Park community. This lease represents a
powerful endorsement of Hyde Park by the world’s leading natural and organic foods

Much work remains to bring this project to fruition but we are gratified by this
milestone and appreciative of the significant time and effort invested by former
Alderman Preckwinkle and her successors, Alderman Newsome and Alderman Burns, in
making this possible. We also acknowledge and appreciate Alderman Leslie
Hairston's leadership in improving Hyde Park.

The mixed-use project is designed by Jeanne Gang and Studio Gang Architects
and includes 179 residential units, 110,000 square feet of retail and office space and
two levels of underground parking. Chicago City Council approved the Planned
Development in the fall of 2010. The stores and residences are expected to open in

Antheus Capital is a New Jersey-based real estate investment and development firm
with investments primarily in Chicago and Kansas City.

Peter Cassel

Herald, May 11, 2011. By Sam Cholke

Hyde Parkers who have long said they deserve a Whole Foods will get their wish. The Texas-based grocer announced May 4 that it signed a lease with Antheus Capital to open its seventh Chicago store on teh southwest corner of Lake Park Avenue and East Hyde Park Boulevard.

"We are overjoyed to finally bring these high quality foods to the Hyde Park neighborhood," sid Michael Bashaw, Whole Foods Midwest regional president, in a prepared statement. The store, which specializes in natural and organic foods, will open a 30,000-square-foot location in the redeveloped Village shopping center in the fall of 2014. It is the first major retailer to officially sign on to the $125 million project.

the store will be smaller than other Whole Foods locations but is expected to offer a bulk-goods section, a sit-down bar and cooking classrooms, all in a decor that reflects the neighborhood, according to the company. Teh new store will also participate in a broader company initiative that ensures animals were treated humanely before slaughter.

Whole Foods will be the third new grocer to pent in Hyde Park in the last three years. The neighborhood now has abundant options for produce and dry goods, including Treasure Island and Michael's Fresh Market, also on Lake Park Avenue, neighborhood grocer Hyde Park Produce, boutique grocers Zaleski and Horvath and Open Produce and discount grocers Village Foods and One Stop [a bit further off, and SaveALot, also further off]. Whole Foods will replace Village Foods when it opens.

Treasure Island, Whole Food immediate competitor in the neighborhood, did not return calls by Herald press time. Ron Thomas of Hyde Park Produce said there is nothing wrong with a little competition in the neighborhood. "Competition is what America is all about," he said.

Hyde Parkers must buy food somewhere, but Whole Foods said it did not expect to butt heads with existing grocers in the pursuit of customers. "We have learned that we already have a lot of Hyde Park residents shopping at our South Loop location. Thus, they now have less distance to travel. Plus, experience has taught us that we are not necessarily taking from existing competitors, but attracting more people to shop within the area," said Kate Klotz, a spokeswoman in the company's regional office.

The store will move into a development that will likely attract a lot of new residents to Hyde Park. The project, announced in July 2008, wil include a 150-unit residential high-rise at South Harper Avenue and a 29-unit mid-rise along South Sake Park Avenue, connected by a two-story retail space. The first floor will include retail outlets along Lake Park Avenue, Hyde Park Boulevard and Harper Avenue, according to the most recent plans.

The planning for the new development continues to progress slowly, said Peter Cassel, director of community development for Antheus, in a phone interview last week. He said work would not begin during the summer construction season and the architect, Studio Gang Architects, continue to finalize plans before applying for building permits.

The project was originally proposed as condominiums, but the developers are now considering rental apartments. Financing continues to be harder than it was five years ago, but rental is easier than condos, and there is some flexibility with the long planning schedule, said Eli Ungar, head of Antheus Capital.

Ungar said they courted Whole Foods for more than a year, but talks progressed slowly until 90 days ago because the larger retail market was hesitant to expand in a slow economy. "There has been a palpable change in the tone of the conversation we've had with retailers, including Whole Foods," Ungar said, adding that new development projects have reduced the perception of Hyde Park as a risk for retailers. "There isn't the sense of pioneering there may have been five years ago."

Many expected Whole Foods would locate within the redeveloped harper Court shopping center on 53rd Street, and the Sun-Times reported last November that the developers were courting the grocer. The speculation re ignited a desire to see the upscale grocer open its first store on the South Side. "We've been looking to open a store in Hyde Park for quite a while," said Klotz from Whole Foods. "Any and al new store decisions take quite a while to finalize as we have a long list of criteria that we consider when we're looking for new sites. Until we find the right mix of criteria for a new store, we continue searching; it has to be the right fit fo us."

The store is expected to employ 125 full- and part-time employees when it opens in 2014.