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As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Department of Health will allow some “low-risk” food sellers to self-certify their inspections. This would include businesses that sell pre-packaged food and beverages with minimal food preparation. Even if this revision seems to be most relevant to 7-11s and gas stations, small food businesses will benefit from the reduced supervision. Restaurants who have not had a food safety related closing for 36 months will also be eligible to self-certify. Unfortunately, the main issue with the Department of Health has not been the frequency of inspections, so much as the amount of time it takes to have plans reviewed by the department and the inconsistent application of design regulations.

The Department of Health is a vast regulatory body that oversees everything related to public health. The Food Protection Division is just one segment of the department, and is responsible for restaurants, taverns, groceries, commissaries, and hot dog cars. Read the rest of this entry »

Merging Sustainable Agriculture and Modern Architecture.

We wanted the design to speak to the industrial and traditional roots of the Chicago food industry, while responding to the unique mission of 2 Sparrows.  Similar to how a sparrow builds a nest by collecting building elements from nearby, we assembled the space for this seasonally driven, gastro-brunch restaurant with building components collected from Chicago.  This approach resulted in an industrial farmhouse aesthetic rooted in Chicago restaurant classicism perfectly calibrated for food production and enjoyment.  The architectural design echoes the sustainable agriculture ethos of the restaurant and complements the food and products from local farmers, artisans, distillers, and brewmasters offered at the restaurant. Product list and photos inside. Read the rest of this entry »

Our very own Dill Pickle Food Coop in Logan Square was named first runner up for best local grocer in the Chicago Reader’s annual ‘Best Of’ Edition.  Flashback to our dreaming about a coop in Chicago here, its design here, and opening here.

Moss reveals the Lakeview Area Master Plan to the Lakeview community and Chicago.  The master plan, in its entirety, is available here.

We have an unused driveway in front of our office that only gets used occasionally to load and unload materials.  It is pretty useless.  After recent water main work under our street the City even repoured the driveway that they tore up to install a new sidewalk ramp.

As part of our reclamation of the urban right-of-way project we have installed a raised planter bed, designed and built by moss with 100% reclaimed framing lumber from the Rebuilding Exchange.  Now flourishing are tomatoes, basil, oregano, thyme, brussels sprouts, strawberries, and sage.  Construction and current photos after the break. Read the rest of this entry »

At long last, the Dill Pickle Food Coop is open for business at 3039 West Fullerton Avenue in Logan Square.  Join us at the grand opening celebration this Saturday, December 12, 11:30a and on.  We will be on stage to deliver some words of encouragement to our fellow picklers around 1:15p.  See you then!

UPDATE 12/11:  While I’m flattered to be designated owner, I am only 1/540th of the management team, however.  It got fixed.  Check us out in Timeout Chicago here.

The shelves are being stocked and final inspection is mere days away (see update below).  Good food coming to Chicago soon NOW!

UPDATE: We have passed our final building inspection!!!  Opening imminent!  Celebration ensues.

zen sushiResurrected from an existing Chinese restaurant, Zen Sushi will soon has opened its doors at 714 West Diversey Parkway in Lincoln Park.  We have created three distinct dining zones in the space that are all connected by sustainable building materials and energy efficient lighting.  All wood wall and ceiling finishes have been reclaimed from a Western Illinois barn.  The existing floors have been finished with a low-VOC stain from TimberSoy and the walls with no-VOC paint.  All new lighting have LED or compact fluorescent lamps and will save energy as compared to conventional fixtures.  See all the photos (including before images) after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

radioLaura and I will be interviewed tomorrow, Saturday, October 24 at 10:20a-11:20a to discuss our Dill Pickle Food Coop project on Vocalo Public Radio, 89.5FM in Chicago.  You can catch it on the airwaves at 89.5FM in Chicago or online at vocalo.orgWe will post the audio to our site if you miss it. Here is the audio (skip ahead to 35:05)

bowling aloneIs capitalism only relevant when it drives prices downward?  If one chooses to purchase an item that is more expensive than its competition, for whatever reason, have we crossed a threshold to complacent pretension?  A recent New York Times article, by Anand Giridharadas, purports that activism through purchasing power, lovingly referred to in the article as ‘buycotting’, is somehow disengaging us with real political activism.  Going on to say that today’s fancy consuming is a “sign of how corroded citizenship has become that shopping is the closest many of us are willing to come to worrying about labor laws, trade agreements, agricultural policy.”  The article also conflates the purchasing of green energy offsets with humanely raised wool, which are obviously two disparate forms of consumption.  Instead of a slippery slope to political inaction, the very existence of a value minded consumer proves that capitalism (a word mysteriously missing from the NYT article) is evolving into a more humane form of economics. Read the rest of this entry »

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