Second City neighborhood takes top honors

December 18, 2012|By Zara Husaini @zarhus | RedEye

Second City lovers, rejoice--we’ve finally gotten some love from national media. We were snubbed on the list of best beer cities this year, but Realtor Magazine named Old Town its hottest neighborhood of 2012--according the article, it’s the most searched neighborhood on Realtor.com.

What we love most about Old Town is that it has the perfect mix of old-world Victorian charm and modern comfort and style. There are some family-run businesses that are ... well, old.  The Fudge Pot, for example, has been around since 1963. But then there are newer businesses that have ushered a younger, trendier crowd into the neighborhood without completely redefining it. Old Town Pour House, which just opened this year, has emerged as one of the most popular bars in the entire city, and the brand-new high-rise 1225 Old Town draws a new crowd of residents to the area.

“The board, staff and membership of the Old Town Merchants & Residents Association is very encouraged by the Realtor.com ranking," said Kevin Barbeau, associate director of the Old Town Merchants and Residents Association. "It further solidifies our district as a place where people wish not only to visit, but to live and raise a family. The businesses and residents of Old Town are very proud of our neighborhood and the sense of community we share.”

There’s the mark of tradition and a sense of progress, and both allow for the other.

David Dattalo, a 58-year-old former Old Town resident, started working at The Fudge Pot when he was 12. He owns the store now, and he said that he’s seen Old Town “go full circle several times.”

“It was the most unique place in Chicago,” he said of the neighborhood’s history. “It had jazz, it had blues, it had unique shops--things you wouldn’t find anywhere else.”

He lived in Old Town for almost 20 years.

“It’s pretty breathtaking,” he said of Old Town earning the top spot on Realtor Magazine’s list.

According to Dattalo, Old Town’s appeal is multi-dimensional. He said it’s a place for people who “like to have fun, like nightlife, like the city,” but it’s also a viable option for theatre-goers and museum lovers. Proximity is another huge draw for Old Town: it’s close to Soldier Field, Wrigley Field, the downtown area, and most of the city’s cultural attractions. 

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