The Newsletter of Lincoln Central Association
Winner of Five Consecutive APEX Awards for Publication Excellence
September 30, 2021

Are you all enjoying this incredible weather? I hope so. We have experienced such beautiful days! It has afforded us all to bike, swim in the lake, play with our dogs at Montrose Beach, take long walks, visit the farmers’ markets and outdoor cafes, Pritzker Pavilion free concerts and so much more. As we move into the fall, I want to share a few thoughts on where we have come since last summer and the hardship we all faced during COVID.

I imagine most of you are vaccinated and that is a socially responsible and personal action you took. It has allowed us to gather for sports events, send our children back to school and socialize with family, friends and colleagues. The social isolation was both difficult and a chance to reevaluate much in our daily lives – work, family and personal time priorities, volunteer opportunities and what really matters in bringing happiness into our lives and those we love. I hope you all have found a new appreciation for what matters most in your lives.

Lincoln Central is so happy to finally be bringing our events back to you with Howler at Bauler coming October 30th. The most exciting news is that we had an incredible turnout for our Evening in the Garden! This was our first event after over a year and a half and we saw the enthusiasm of neighbors gathering again. They streamed in from 5:00 p.m. on, we had delicious food from Cedar Palace, Geja’s and Tecalitlan Mexican Restaurant, plus all of your potluck dishes! We again thank our sponsors for Evening in the Garden, Cedar Palace, Fogel Slate Group, Geja’s and Carnival Foods. We also thank our generous board and donors who helped support this event. If you are interested in sponsorship or donations for Howler at Bauler please contact me at

I hope you will all join us in celebrating fall and our neighborhood events!  

Sally Drucker
by Kelly Dotson
This September marked the close of our gardening season in award-winning Fire Station Park & Gardens, even as some vegetables continue to ripen and remain available for harvest. It also marked LCA's "reopening" with the return of our first in-person event since January 2020. Evening in the Garden, a season ending celebration of the neighborhood hosted by LCA, was held on Sunday evening, September 19. The 6th Annual Evening in the Garden brought the community together to celebrate our neighborhood, our volunteers, our residents -- and our sense of community which is much needed this year!

As guests mingled with friends and neighbors while twilight descended over the reception style event, they were able to enjoy Swiss cheese fondue and white sangria from Geja's Cafe, the exquisite Mediterranean flavors of Cedar Palace including its signature hummus, quesadillas and more from our new neighbor Tecalitlan Mexican Restaurant, as well as offerings from the always popular potluck table.

And, once again, popular magician Sean Masterson amazed and delighted our LCA crowd.

Thank you to all of our sponsors who supported this event, and all of the neighbors who attended!
Platinum Sponsors
In-Kind & Other Sponsors
Mark your calendars now and save the date of Saturday, October 30th from 3 – 5 p.m. for Lincoln Central Association's 13th Annual Howler at Bauler, Lincoln Park's favorite neighborhood Halloween event. There's simply no way to describe Howler at Bauler—it has to be experienced to be believed!
Howler at Bauler will include food, candy, activities from Lake Shore Sport and Fitness, a magician, a costume parade, DJ and much more!

We hope to see you on October 30!
by Larry Sachs
LCA announced in our June Newsletter that we would be sending our readership a public safety survey “to better understand your concerns and to help us provide public safety information that is actually relevant to you and our community.” The response was wonderful – and we are so very pleased to report that 155 individuals completed our survey and provided us with extremely useful data and comments that document your concerns about crime and quality of life issues in our community!

Why did LCA do this? We sensed that we had a timely opportunity, consistent with our mission and current events, to do three things for our community: 1) advocate for best law enforcement and community practices in preventing and responding to crime; 2) ensure that our community knows how to access public safety resources; and 3) provide data and facts about public safety in Lincoln Park.

Our next steps:

  1. LCA's full survey report (containing rank-crime concerns, all comments, and summary observations) will be sent to: 1) CPD’s 18th District leadership with a request for an in-person meeting to discuss how we can use the survey results to improve public safety in the LCA area; and 2) Alderman Michele Smith to request her support for LCA’s public safety efforts.
  2. Subsequent LCA newsletters and communications will report on our meetings with local law enforcement and government leaders, and provide useful public safety data and ideas on how to keep yourself and your family and household and/or business safe from harm – all in response to concerns documented by LCA’s Public Safety Survey. 

Meanwhile, please stay safe, get to know your neighbors, and take good care of each other.
You’re invited to the Lincoln Common Fall Festival on Saturday, October 23 from 10 am to 5 pm! From pony rides and caricature drawings to window painting and Halloween costume contests, it will be a day full of activities for the entire family (pets too!).
Enjoy special offers from Lincoln Common retailers and neighboring businesses, take home a pumpkin, and maybe even a prize!

10 am-1pm: Pony rides, Petting Zoo, Pumpkins from Spence Farms & Caricature Artists
10 am-5 pm: Halloween Window Painting! Bring your spooktacular creativity to help us paint our windows the colors of the season. Registration link coming soon!
3-5 pm: Halloween Costume Contest (for all ages + pets!). Registration link coming soon!

The event is free and open to the public. Learn more on the Lincoln Common website here.
Lincoln Park Uncorked: An Armitage-Halsted Wine Stroll--one of Chicago’s premier wine-tasting events-- returns to Armitage and Halsted! Enjoy curated samples of red, white, and rose wines while strolling through one of the city’s most famous shopping districts in the heart of Lincoln Park. Tickets include a souvenir tasting glass, wine samples and light fare from local businesses.

Thursday, October 7
6-9 p.m.
Check-In @ J9 Wine Bar
1961 N. Halsted

Be a beacon of hope and donate blood! St. Teresa of Avila Church is hosting a blood drive on Sunday, October 24 from 7:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at 1950 Kenmore Ave.

To schedule an appointment, you can call 1-800-786-4483 or schedule online here.
by Deirdre Graziano
The world is a better place with Trattoria Gianni, and, as the world turns on its axis, Lincoln Park is a better place with Gianni in our midst.

Gianni’s personal coming to America story is woven within his Trattoria. He came to America as a boy at 16. Not an unusual immigrant story, my mother came to America at 16. Both Gianni and Christine Agatha came to live with a relative already in the states, both had an aunt who opened her door and heart to them, becoming their lifeline in America. Though years apart, both lived in Lakeview and both went to high school in Chicago. Gianni went to Steinmetz, my mother to Lakeview. But Gianni worked after school, traveling alone by El, passing Lincoln Park on his way downtown to The Italian Village where he was a busboy -- a busboy who dreamed of opening his own restaurant though he spoke no English. English was my mother’s language. Gaelic, her heritage language, was forbidden, forbidden to her, to her family and all the Irish who lived in Northern Ireland. For my mother, though, the transition to a new country had to have been easier because of the language.

Gianni’s immigrant tale is one of success and that is how we in Lincoln Park became blessed with Trattoria Gianni. Gianni is in his sixties now. He still lives in Lakeview but walks every day to his Trattoria. He walks six days a week so we in Lincoln Park can indulge in outstanding Italian fare, some of which incorporate his family recipes--secrets that will not be revealed but will be willingly shared on your plate. Today new recipes, the beneficiary of Gianni’s trips back home to Italy, are quietly incorporated into the menu. Northern and southern dishes, selected gems, are added to his menu for your pleasure, perfection added to perfection.

As a child Gianni dreamed of owning his own restaurant. I do not know what my mother dreamed of at 16. But for Gianni, his dream came true, solidified on Halsted Street in a simple building with a dreamlike garden that allows a taste of Italy for Lincoln Parkers in a serene setting. Years ago, Gianni asked Lincoln Central to help him negotiate an agreement so he could create a garden in the empty side yard next to his restaurant. We helped and his side lot garden dream became a reality for all Lincoln Parkers to enjoy. My mother for a short while lived on Mohawk Street with our family. She died before Gianni’s dream became a reality. I know she would have loved the trattoria. She would have loved Gianni and his story and would have celebrated his success. Two immigrants raising a toast with their families.
But neither my mother nor we could have imagined a new Pandemic coming. COVID invading and changing our world, suddenly and harshly causing many a dream to falter and many a dream to die. Restaurants shriveled to carry out only, and eventually many collapsed. Trattoria Gianni faltered, closed for a short while, but Gianni was here to stay, was here to survive no matter the effort. Had he not conquered Chicago when he was a mere sixteen? Trattoria Gianni was here to stay even if it cost Gianni nearly everything. He kept his staff, a man faithful to his employees, a man who remembered the young Italian boy of sixteen who could not speak English but who could bus tables. He was never going to abandon his staff. One for all and all for one, tips were shared.

After closing for five weeks, Gianni re-opened. His garden was in many ways his savior. Outdoor dining was deemed safe so Gianni planned, turning his green garden into a safe haven for his loyal customers. At first he rented a tent at an outrageous price, but then he discovered the garden igloos which he still uses during Chicago’s brutal winters, igloos that are safe, that are warm embryonic domes which add a magical touch to his lighted garden.

His staff and Gianni still struggled to stay solvent but with the domes there was hope. Pandemic distancing was provided in geometric wombs that were both safe and whimsical. Weekends, the crowds came. His loyal followers reassured. Gianni, once again, could be the smiling host whose most important job was to please his customers with delicious meals in a warm accepting comfort environment.

Soon the domes will be rising, but with climate change, hopefully, this fall will allow open outside dining with no need for the domes. For a graceful while we may be free in the open air.

My family ate within the garden this month. No domes yet. It was a Tuesday night, and the garden was near empty with three groups outside in the garden and three more groups inside the dining room. Gianni, smiling and concerned, spoke with every one of us like we were family. The staff hovered, waiting to reach out and offer their service at our slightest indication. They were grateful for us as we were for them. A kindness in serving always on display. Most of the servers are Italian. My son-in-law is Italian. As he and Gianni talked, I later learned that Francesco, many years ago, applied to work at the restaurant. Another Italian seeking refuge while he adjusted to living in America and learned English. Today my Italian son-in-law has realized his dream and is working in his field. He was a silversmith in Italy designing and hammering hand-tooled large silver plates. There is no market in Chicago for such a product, but today my Francesco designs jewelry with his Mexican partner, Jose. Two more successful immigrants. While we ate and tasted one another’s meals, a quiet satisfaction filled the air. We talked, we laughed and for fleeting moments we forgot the pandemic.

Gianni’s allows such feelings. Excellent food, outstanding service in a peaceful garden which allows you to forget what the world is facing. Who could ask for more during these troubling times. Gianni is a gift, and his restaurant is a treasure.

By the way if you are interested, my husband had the pork chop, my son-in-law the chicken, my daughter the seafood pasta. I indulged in a lovely seafood mix while we shared polenta and mushrooms (a northern dish) and a salad. For dessert, a tiramisu (which my son-in-law makes at home) and which we (discerning tiramisu aficionados) solidly applauded and, of course, we shared traditional cannolis--a dish our northern Italian Francesco has never made.
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