The Newsletter of Lincoln Central Association
Winner of Five Consecutive APEX Awards for Publication Excellence
March 31, 2022

Spring is around the corner, and we have an exciting birth announcement! The Lincoln Park Zoo lion pair, Zari and Jabari, have a new offspring - a baby lion, the first in 20 years for the zoo. No name has been chosen yet and we won’t be able to see them for a few months. They are in their new habitat which was completed in October. See Zari the lioness in the video below with her new cub.
With this uplifting news I want to extend a happy spring to you all. May you find a way to get out and enjoy our beautiful neighborhood, the zoo, the lakefront and frequent all of our businesses and restaurants as life is coming alive after a long winter. 
LCA has several events planned for the upcoming summer and fall which we hope you will all attend. We are working on a collaboration with Carnival Foods and other businesses to create a block party on July 16th on Dickens with family friendly activities. This will replace our Spring Zing event we have held in June in the past. We felt it more inclusive to work with others to bring the neighborhood together and foresee a fun afternoon for all! 
Our other events include the usual Evening in the Garden at Fire Station Park in September, our Howler at Bauler on October 29th and the annual tree lighting in Oz Park in early December.
We wish you all a refreshing spring and please stay in touch with Lincoln Central if you have any questions, suggestions, want to volunteer or just want to say hi on our social media pages. Please do go to Facebook, Instagram or our soon to be launched new website to give us your feedback!

Sally Drucker
We are seeking volunteers to help us with gardening at Fire Station Park! No experience is necessary. If you are interested, email for more information.
by Larry Sachs
As mentioned in an earlier LCA newsletter, President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing described the importance and even the necessity of police and community working in partnership to solve chronic public safety problems. At the center of CPD’s commitment to this principle is the “Beat Meeting,” and the single best way for responsible citizens to effectively problem-solve with CPD is by participating in CPD Beat meetings as they are designed by CPD policy and guidance to operate. Beat Meeting basics:

Historically, bimonthly Beat Meetings were held in-person in community settings or CPD District Community Rooms, but these days they’re held virtually. It’s not as easy as it should be to find your next scheduled Beat Meeting and join it virtually, so here’s how:
  • On the scheduled date and time, open a Zoom app and Click the JOIN icon;
  • Enter the 18th District Zoom Meeting ID: 828-9800-5076;
  • Click “Join” and wait to be admitted; and
  • I hope you won’t be muted by the host, but you may need to submit questions and comments via the Zoom chat function.

In my own admittedly brief Beat Meeting experience, I’ve seen opportunities to improve Beat Meeting attendance, compliance with CPD policy, communication to the community about Beat Meeting discussions and outcomes, and identification of volunteer community beat facilitators who take the “job” seriously. I, for one, am committed to doing better, I know Alderman Smith and her staff are working to support Beat Meeting participation and results – and we hope some of you will choose to get involved in Beat Meeting public safety problem solving as well.

Please stay safe, get to know your neighbors, and take good care of each other!
In celebration of this year's Easter holiday, Carnival Grocery will host an Easter Egg Hunt in Lincoln Park on Sunday, April 17 from 10AM to 12PM at their location at 458 W Dickens Ave.
Beside the traditional Easter Egg Hunt, there is also cookie decorating, coloring activities, snacks and hot chocolate for all participants. More information is in the flyer below!
Chicago restaurant week started last week and runs through April 10. After a long two years, this is a great opportunity to return to your favorite local spots or try something new!
This year’s participants include a range of restaurants offering specially priced, prix fixe menus for dine-in, delivery, and/or takeout. Choose Chicago’s 2021 and 2022 programs were expanded to provide restaurants with opportunities to participate regardless of the availability of dine-in operations. Last year’s adjusted prices were kept in place to continue to augment revenue generation opportunities for restaurants given the business challenges brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The event features more than 329 participants representing 37 distinct Chicago neighborhoods, including 31 suburban restaurants. 66 participants are women, minority and/or black-owned enterprises. Explore a complete list of participating restaurants and their curated menu offerings.
Lincoln Park Zoo just released their spring, summer and fall events calendar and are offering discounts for the neighborhood! Neighbors get $5 off the ticket price on most events*—just use code “NEIGHBOR” when registering. Here is a list of upcoming Lincoln Park Zoo events:
  • April 7: Adults Night Out: Spring Fling
  • April 16: Easter Egg-stravaganza
  • April 30: Craft Brews at the Zoo
  • June 5: Run for the Zoo • July 15 Zoo Ball: Birds of Paradise*
  • June 23: Night at the Zoo: Pride Party∞
  • July 29: Summer Wine Fest
  •  August 18: Night at the Zoo: Summer Block Party
  • September: 30 Fall Fest* begins
  • October 22: Spooky Zoo*
  • October 27: Night at the Zoo: Halloween edition
  • November 18: ZooLights* begins
  • TBD: BrewLights*
  • December 8: Night at the Zoo: Holidaze

More information is available at *$5 discount not applicable on asterisked events above. 
by Sally Drucker
Welcome to Sonia Soto, the owner and manager of the recently opened Cilantro Taco Grill at the corner of Belden, Lincoln and Orchard. What an inspirational entrepreneur she is! She, her parents and siblings moved from Jalisco, Mexico in 1982 as emigrants. Her father, Javier Morfin, in his 50’s, was the inspiration behind starting a family business here in the United States. She attributes him to the strong family work ethic, values, and positive outlook they have all embraced. This inspired her siblings to create Cilantro, a unique “fast casual Mexican restaurant” with the warmth and personal touch of a family owned business.
Cilantro’s first restaurant was opened in 2013 in Stone Park by her brother, Temoc. There are now eleven locations in the Chicago suburbs, Sonia’s Lincoln Park location is the twelfth and the first in the city. All restaurants are family owned, operated and their pleasure in doing business is that it is family working together! Sonia’s nephew will be opening the Old Town location and the family support he will have is similar to what Sonia received opening the location in Lincoln Park during COVID. If not for the family, she might not have taken the leap of faith. Cilantro is a simple order at the counter, eat in or take out arrangement. There are no waiters and Sonia has been able to manage the price increases of most ingredients without changing her menu prices... yet.
Their cuisine is passed down from their families back home in Mexico; very authentic, fresh and high quality. They make their own tortillas, guacamole, and offer high quality meat, poultry and fish dishes. You can enjoy the outside sidewalk seating when the weather permits and a comfortable indoor environment if you want to eat in. You can even have a margarita or cold beer while you dine! Cilantro also offers take out, delivery through the many services like GrubHub, UberEats and Door Dash. They also offer catering for events!
Sonia worked as a supply chain manager for over 20 years but felt a calling to expand her family’s business and join them in the adventure they have been successful in maintaining over these years. Her biggest fear was opening during the pandemic but with the family’s support and assurances she did it! Her restaurant is a woman owned and managed establishment with a great team of 10 employees.

One message that stood out to me as we talked, was that Sonia and the Cilantro family businesses take great pride in serving authentic, high quality Mexican cuisine and thrive on the joy of working as a family in a business they created and have grown. The personal touch in her approach to her business and serving the community is what we all love to see! We welcome Cilantro and Sonia to our neighborhood and wish you success!
To help local residents find and access local community resources, we will now include links in our newsletters each month. If you have a helpful resource to add, please email it to us at

From the Heart is an award-winning newsletter published by Lincoln Central Association. We welcome your feedback and story ideas.

LCA has received at least one APEX Award for Publication Excellence in each of the last five years and a total of eighteen since 2016. Additionally, From the Heart is the recipient of four consecutive Constant Contact All-Star.

Winner of Five Consecutive APEX Awards for Publication Excellence
Winner of Four Consecutive Constant Contact All-Star Awards