A new East Lake St.

Opinion: Editorials

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Yep, it took a while. But One Lake Brewing is now open and the early reviews of the beer, the food, the service and the setting are all good. 

Let's talk about the setting, and we're not discussing the lovely rooftop garden here — lovely though it is. We're talking the location of this business on the southwest corner of Austin Boulevard and Lake Street.

As longtime observers of the stale state of this business district, we see the opening of this destination brewpub as a capstone to what has been, over the past five years, a genuine transformation. Instead of a neutral zone on the Oak Park and Austin divide, east Lake Street is now a welcoming place of must-see, must-support businesses and institutions. 

The Park District of Oak Park played an oversized role for its relocation of the gymnastics center to a vacant Aldi's site at Lake and Humphrey. Together with its full remaking of Ridgeland Common and upgrades to Stevenson Park, no doubt the park district has done some heavy lifting.

For those disappointed by the closing of the entire Dominick's chain, what an upgrade Pete's Fresh Market has been. And now Pete's will open a second Oak Park store on Madison Street.

Don't overlook the arrival of the Oak Park River Forest Museum (aka the Historical Society) in the former fire station at Lake and Lombard. Fabulous life in a handsome but invisible building. 

And go down the list: School of Rock. Oak Park Works. Oak Leaf Academy pre-school. 

Kudos to Shawn Stevens and Jason Alfonsi, the entrepreneurs who launched One Lake, to the village of Oak Park which has been working closely on the funding and the major rebuild and, finally, to Greg Sorg, a determined and longtime property owner and manager in Oak Park and Austin. Sorg's Pioneer Property Advisors has owned this old and underused bank for two decades. He took the flier on a stunning reimagining of a blighted corner. 

Now join the fun, join your neighbors and enjoy a night out on the east side of Oak Park and West Side of Austin.

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