Hyde Park businesses apply for liquor licenses

By Christine Schmidt

Four 53rd Street businesses, three of which are expected to open in the next few months, are applying for the legal rights to serve alcohol to customers.

Representatives from Native Foods Cafe, Ja’Grill, Porkchop, and Harper Theater announced that they have applied for liquor licenses at the 53rd Street TIF Advisory Council meeting at Kenwood Academy High School on Tuesday.

Native Foods will only serve beer and wine. A representative from Native Foods said at the meeting: “It’s a very small, small percentage of our sales. It only makes up about one to two percent of our revenue.”

The process of applying for a liquor license includes filling out written applications to several departments in the City of Chicago, undergoing inspections and a police background check, and notifying registered voters within 250 feet of premises.

Native Foods Cafe will open its fourth Chicago location on March 11, serving all-natural, vegan options, including burgers, salads, bowls, and desserts. Ja’Grill will join Harper Court in April or May, offering jerk chicken and other Jamaican fare.

Porkchop, which boasts a 16-hour meat marinating process, will open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner starting the first week of March. Porkchop’s business in its West Loop location comes from roughly one-third liquor and two-thirds food. A Porkchop representative said if granted the license, the restaurant will offer 22 beers on tap from local breweries.

Representatives from Harper Theater, which opened its doors in January 2013, were also at the meeting and announced its pursuit of a liquor license.

“We do it in our other theater in Rogers Park, and the other theater that people go to from this neighborhood primarily is the Icon theater on Roosevelt , and they have a full bar—just trying to stay competitive and give our customers what they get at other places in the city,” said Harper Theater owner Tony Fox.

—Christine Schmidt