We need cheap eats in walking distance

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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The tragedy of Tasty Dog's closing is freshly painful in the hearts of young Oak Parkers. Five Guys' sudden vacancy, just a few months ago, brought many of my fellow high schoolers a similar disappointment. 

Although dismissed as "fast food joints," these establishments were a haven of inexpensive prices and nonjudgmental atmospheres for myself and my peers. With no driver's license, I'm limited to a mile radius of my house, and even less in below-freezing temperatures. This leaves Lake Street as, more or less, my only place to walk, eat, and amuse myself. Lake Street is the most walkable place in Oak Park, yet it severely lacks affordable dining. 

As a high school sophomore, I lack any disposable income to spend at Lake Street's many high-class restaurants. Five Guys was one of few places where I could afford to drop in and grab a bite. Now my options are even more limited. My social life shouldn't have to end in the winter when Austin Gardens becomes a frozen wasteland. 

Oak Park is a bastion of socio-economic diversity. However, Lake Street doesn't represent the range of incomes residing in Oak Park, instead catering to the wealthy and middle-aged. The value of Oak Park's expensive culinary establishments is limited to the few who can afford them. 

Ironically, those most able to afford a meal at these establishments are also most able to travel to restaurants elsewhere in the Chicagoland area. Thus, I feel it's only fair that Five Guys is replaced with another inexpensive establishment. 

Additionally, I call upon Oak Park leaders to recognize the community value of fast food joints. Serving a large swath of Oak Parkers, these establishments are convenient, cheap, and comfortable for teenagers and adults alike.

Eleanor Sigel 

Oak Park 

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Kline Maureen  

Posted: February 11th, 2019 12:40 AM

and I too really miss Five Guys - we recently had Five Guys burgers and fries while visiting family in Geneva - good, but not as good as it tasted when it was closer to our OP home!

Kline Maureen  

Posted: February 11th, 2019 12:33 AM

a few more suggestions in the DTOP area - POTBELLY at Lake & Marion, JIMMY JOHN'S on Lake near OP Ave and PRAIRIE BREAD on Marion & North Blvd

Gregg Kuenster from River Forest CPA Trustee Candidate  

Posted: February 9th, 2019 10:26 AM

The landlord does not pay property tax if the storefront is vacant. Reality Check ...Cheap eats are not coming back. OPRF will lose more restaurants and small retail. The business model does not support a profitable equation. Bar Louis and the surrounding businesses pay $200 a day or more in Property Tax. Property Tax causes empty retail spaces. No Property tax is paid when the space is empty. The small retail model has failed locally. Developers do not consider profit from retail rental when building high rises. Empty store fronts are a cost of doing business. Empty store fronts are cheaper than renting the space for less than the property tax. Local residents are not prepared to pay ten dollars for a hamburger or ten dollars for a beverage. They are prepared to pay large amounts for overpriced clothing and cell phone service. When the business model supports a profitable equation, entrepreneurs will appear.

Kline Maureen  

Posted: February 9th, 2019 9:39 AM

We need Erik's to come back!!! Or something similar - their spot is available... And I second the suggestion of Luo's Peking House - great place for both dine-in and carry-out.

Brent Borgerson  

Posted: February 8th, 2019 6:51 PM

One hint: Lou's Peking House! Wife and I can have a complete lunch for $15.00 USD for both of us! Red Mango is gone, that is sad! One can hoof it over to Micky's on Harlem. Very few economic options though!

Brent Borgerson from Oak Park  

Posted: February 8th, 2019 6:46 PM

Well put!

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