by Katie Skero news editor
“Welcome back, Moody students!” shouts Chicago’s Near North neighborhood. “You’ve changed, and so have I!”
Let’s start with the big hitter: Chick-fil-A. The Atlanta-based fast-food chain had its biggest financial opening in Chick-fil-A history on June 16 this year, right here in Chicago, according to owner and operator Lauren Silich. Fifty grand-opening trainers were flown in from around the country to ensure smooth operations. Silich added that it now functions with 110 employees, including 15 to 20 Moody students.
In keeping with Chick-fil-A tradition, the first 100 people in line for the grand opening received free Chick-fil-A for a year. Among them was Matt Heltzel, senior biblical studies major, who stayed out overnight and recalled the opening buzz: “The experience was phenomenal. The Chick-fil-A staff were extremely kind and accommodating. They actually let us stay inside for a few hours. We got free food, played some sweet games and capped it all off with ice cream.”
Silich warmly welcomes the Moody student body. “I just love college kids,” she said. “I love their energy. We want to create that comfortable atmosphere for students with our southern hospitality and good ol’ comfort food.”
Also new to Chicago Avenue is Forever Yogurt, an express version of a frozen yogurt self-serve shop. Forever Yogurt offers 14 rotating flavors of soft-serve, including “Mom’s Cake Batter,” “Red Velvet,” and “New York Cheesecake.” And don’t forget the 40 different toppings, from Fruity Pebbles to cookie dough chunks to fresh-cut kiwi—the possibilities are limitless. Their prices are based on weight, not variety. Manager Chris Gamboa encourages students to watch for seasonal flavors such as pumpkin, eggnog and gingerbread.
In the art world, a new fixture on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile is the 26-foot-tall Marilyn Monroe sculpture standing in her infamous subway-grate billowing-white-dress pose from “The Seven Year Itch.” Located in Pioneer Court, the statue joins a family of unusual Chicago art. She replaced the American Gothic statue which previously stood in the same location. Both were created by the same artist: Seward Johnson. Like it or not, Marilyn will remain until Spring 2012.
Back on campus, a little shop has popped up that sells the widest variety of Moody apparel ever available in one place. Moody Gear opened in the nook by the Smith 1 welcome desk this past July. Julie Jackson from the event and guests services department heads up the new store. She is excited for the warm reception of the shop, even for people visiting the campus.
Another place to explore is the new Poetry Foundation, located at the corner of Superior and Dearborn Streets. The state-of-the-art green-initiative building opened its doors on June 26. The building is the materialized dream of Harriet Monroe, who hopes to bolster public appreciation for poetry. The first two floors are designated for public use, including a venue for poetry reading, a public garden, a circulating library of poetry and an exhibition gallery. Poetry events will be held at the foundation year-round.
Several other new places are cropping up everywhere. There are now a Potbelly Sandwich Shop and a Dunkin Donuts within an arm’s length of campus, both on Chicago Avenue.
Union Sushi and Barbecue Bar, at the corner of Erie and Franklin Streets, is a modern, flavorful and upscale restaurant with the first robata grill in Chicago (which is food cooked over an open flame). Guests get to watch the robata grilling as they are seated around a glass shield.
A self-proclaimed not-so-ordinary burger joint called 25 Degrees kicked off just last week. The old-Hollywood ambiance makes burger-eating feel classy. Try it out at the corner of Superior and Clark Streets.
Chicago, the dynamic city, is yours to behold. Explore it, and enjoy the changes!