Chicago Relocation
 

Today’s Home Improvements for Tomorrow

May 29, 2013

Blog Author Image
John D’Ambrogio

Here are some comments from Baird & Warner’s own Tom Gill

Kari Richardson of the Chicago Tribune wrote an interesting article on the smartest upgrades you can make to a new home. Below are some excerpts and some of our comments.

Everyone likes upgrading a home to their personal needs, in a way that can define the home owner. Their own personal touch that makes a new home turn into their home. Unfortunately, not everyone likes the cost of these upgrades. To get the best of both worlds, Kari Richardson explored the smartest upgrades for new homes.

Richardson sat down with Christy Whelan, the director of sales for the custom home building company Airhart Construction. She first recommends two essential value adding upgrades as oak wood flooring and granite kitchen counter tops. These durable improvements will help you enjoy your home more, and add value if you ever decide to sell or rent that home.

One of the current most popular upgrades is installing built in furniture to family and dining room areas, such as a custom buffet for around the same cost as a piece of furniture. Overall, home owners looking to upgrade should search for high style and low cost to set their home apart from others on the market.

Helen Weiss, the VP of sales and marketing for Weiss Development compared home improvements to a sweater bought on sale that is never worn; even the cheapest upgrades are a waste of money if they aren’t valued or used. Overall, home buyers or owners shouldn’t look to go way over the top on upgrades in today’s market. Instead, look for the best bang for your buck to get the smartest home improvements.

You can find the whole article from the Chicago Tribune here.

 

Rosal’s and Beef Sangwiches. Welcome to Chicago’s Little Italy

May 22, 2013

Filed Under
Chicago neighborhoods
Blog Author Image
John D’Ambrogio

So I took a very cold run this morning through Little Italy. You know, those mornings when the sun’s at a degree higher than mercury? Chapstick and mittens day….And while I only saw five people (and one dog) on the run, I ran through a very alive and resilient community – Little Italy.

You can’t write about Little Italy without writing about where to eat and where to buy good food. Little Italy is filled with many gems almost all of them on the famous Taylor Street.

While these gems have a deep rooted history in Little Italy the geography of the neighborhood has changed quite a bit.  As my Uncle Tony said, the “cross-town highway that ‘kilt’ the old neighborhood.” And it did indeed cut the neighborhood in two, significantly isolating the western half. Why?  Well, it was due to the fact that “hiz honor” adamantly pushed for construction of both the highway and UIC (University of Illinois at Chicago).  If you want to be a real Chicagoan call UIC “Circle Campus.”

A lovely little island of taste and smells on the western end is Ferrara Bakery - a 100+ year old institution. YUM. Look for Nella behind the counter and ask for a tall espresso and a fresh filled canolli. Now that’s a Little Italy breakfast for ya.

After your coffee make sure to visit the Catholic churches of Our Lady of Pompeii and Holy Guardian Angel.  For lunch, walk down to Pompeii Bakery and try the strudel. No, it’s not like a danish.  It’s kind of like a calabrese, which is kind of like a turnover… ah, never mind.

Or take a stroll over to Mario’s Italian Ice.  Here, I heard, stands at a location where a certain crowd used to buy bathtub gin back in the day.  I also heard the shop sold shots right out the front of the two-flat.  After the repeal of prohibition they went main stream and started selling truly the world’s best Italian Ice. Yeah, I don’t know if that story is true.

If you want to see how to eat a “sangwich” check out the stance taken by the patrons at Al’s #1 Beef  on Taylor (the real one and only). Oder your Italian Beef sangwich either sweet, hot, wet, or all three.  Not to be too cryptic this would be your choice of sweet peppers, hot giardiniera, and/or bread dipped in “the juice.” I’m a sweet hot myself. So called.  Booths? Tables? Ha. How about a nice counter to lean on?  The “Chicago stance,” according to “Man v. Food,” is how this meal is to be consumed.  The stance is similar to how you would stand as if you’re leaning forward trying to take a picture of something that’s very far away. Hands right up to your face, feet slightly past shoulder length, leaning a bit forward.

You know, I’ve been to my homeland of Italy many times, and never seen “Italian Ice” or “Italian Beef” marketed. Hmm… then again, I never order “an Americano” in the states.

Finally, if you have a business partner or lady friend you’d like to impress you cannot go wrong at RoSal’s.  It’s not my favorite restaurant JUST because they have a photo of the D’Ambrogio family in 1925 (Giovanni, Lena, Eddie, Marie and Tony – he’s the baby in the dress).  No, RoSal’s has some the best food and service ever. You can order what you want whether it’s on the menu or not.  Just talk about it with your server. Want shells instead of linguine? Just ask. Want the chicken scallopini but made with veal and with the tomato basil sauce? Just let ‘em know.  Or ask for their advice.  I also believe their bread is from DiMato’s, a very good bakery…

I gotta go. I’m getting hungry.

 

 

 

Chicago Discussions: First Impressions

May 15, 2013

Filed Under
Chicago neighborhoods
Blog Author Image
John D’Ambrogio

What was your first impression of Chicago?  The iconic skyline?  The patchwork of neighborhoods?  These four Chicagoian’s share their thoughts about the second city’s impact.  Please feel free to share you thoughts and stories below!

 

 

Happy 98th Birthday Mr. Baird!

May 8, 2013

Filed Under
General
Blog Author Image
John D’Ambrogio

The Business Development Department would like to wish a very happy 98th birthday to Mr. John Baird.  Mr. Baird is a great historical figure in Chicago for both his work expanding Baird & Warner into one of the largest residential sales firms in the country as well as his pioneer work with urban redevelopment and historic preservation.  If you have a minute, click here to sign the e-card to send your best wishes.

 

 

 

I’m gonna start painting that fence again

May 1, 2013

Filed Under
Chicago neighborhoods
Blog Author Image
John D’Ambrogio

Hey, Tom Sawyer is back. It’s been a lot of fun letting friends and colleagues paint the relo fence for me, but I’m committed this year to getting back into the swing of things. So I’m starting (among other things) a new series on Chicago neighborhoods, called – My Kind of Town (no, that’s taken)… Chicago Neighborhoods  (descriptive, yes, but lacking)…… Wild Chi… – No, that was that show on Channel 11. Anyway, I’ll call it “Cool Chicago” or something like that. I’ll let you know.

I’ll get to the hinterlands eventually but I’m going to start by writing about where I run. Those who know me know I run, mostly because I love pizza. Pizza and wine. Love pizza and wine. Especially Aurelio’s pizza (their wine, not as much). Anyway, my love of this combination forces me to run to keep at my high school football weight. And when I do run, it’s usually quiet, early in the morning, and I go by so many cool cool cool things that I always think “wow I should write about this.” So I will.

And as an added attraction, soon enough you’ll get to meet some of the folks who I take improv class with at Chicago’s Second City. What is that? 50 years of funny? Aykroyd, Belushi, Radner, Farley, Fey? Ever see Blues Brothers? Well you’ll have to wait (for the explanation of what 2nd city is, why Chicago is the second city, all that, you’ll have to wait). But….with the magic potion of Aurelio’s and wine I will coax them into performing some “Chicago style improv” in, around, and about some of the famous (and not so famous) landmarks and sites in the city of the stinking onion, aka Chicago. That’s the school of “yes, and.” But we’ll get into that later. Yes. And….

Yes! And I never leave Tom Sawyer far behind – If you’d like to chime in with some comments on a Chicago neighborhood, bring it on!