Saturday, March 29, 2008

New things are sprouting up all over downtown Elgin

The birds are chirping. The squirrels are frolicking. And the construction workers have come out of hibernation.

Spring is in the air in downtown Elgin.

OK, it doesn't really feel like spring. But the new businesses sprouting up throughout downtown are a good sign.

Those of you who read my column regularly (all five of you, thank you) have heard me rave about the new Italian restaurant, Villa Verone. If you haven't tried it yet, go on a Thursday night and stay for the live jazz entertainment. And if you stay late enough, you may even get to hear owner Pietro sing Sinatra.

Hand & Sole Nail Spa is now open for business at 19 N. State St. Owner Janet Schmoyer is a longtime downtown neighbor, having worked at The Razor's Edge for many years. Janet also is a very active volunteer with the Downtown Neighborhood Association. She serves on four committees -- and she gives a heck of a pedicure.

Coming soon to downtown is The Braiding House at 119 W. Chicago St. The Web site says it all: "There are days we feel beautiful and days we don't, and when we don't, we do something about it." I just love that. Stop in and see owners Cecile and Gislaine on one of those not-so-beautiful days.

Looking for video production services for your business or organization? D. Hudson Productions at 164 Division St. is a full-service video production company specializing in commercial and industrial videos for broadcast and Web. Owner Dave Hudson is great to work with, and I'm not saying that because we have the same last name.

In addition to new businesses, downtown also has some existing businesses that are trying some new things.

Elgin Public House at 217 E. Chicago St. now has live music a few times a month, usually on Friday nights. Bluesman Keith Scott quickly is becoming a downtown Elgin favorite.

Salon Couture at 167 E. Chicago St. has taken up the cause of promoting clean water for all during Earth Month in April. The salon is planning to raise at least $1,500 for the Alliance of Great Lakes through a variety of fundraisers.

Gasthaus Zur Linde is transitioning from its roots as a German restaurant to becoming more of a German pub with food and spirits and live music on the weekends. You will see some major changes to the pub's interior in the coming months.

If you are looking for a new networking scene, check out the DNA's Downtown Mixers. The first mixer will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. April 10 at Elgin Public House and is sponsored by Everyware Inc.

To get the latest on what's up in downtown Elgin, sign up for our weekly e-blast at

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Top Ten: March 28 - April 6

1) Two Music Venues this Friday
Within a couple blocks of each other...

Elgin Jazz Espial
Featuring The Loren Golden Quartet, listen to live jazz for $20. A cash bar for wine and beer will also be available. So get your tickets soon, as seating is limited. For reservations or to listen to their music go to

Friday, March 28, 7:30pm
Elgin Art Showcase, 164 Division Street

Keith Scott Band
Having been in Downtown Elgin a couple times already, Keith will yet again entertain those at the Elgin Public House with his acoustic blues. For more info call 847.468.8810.

Friday, March 28, 9pm
Elgin Public House, 219 E. Chicago Street

2) Out to Lunch - Quiznos & DNA
Good food, conversation, and more!

Join the Downtown Neighborhood Association, at their office, for a boxed lunch from Quiznos. Choose between turkey, chicken, and beef. Chips, chocolate chip cookies, soft drinks, and bottled water will be provided. The cost is $7 all inclusive, so bring cash or a check made out to the "Downtown Neighborhood Association". Our guest speaker will be Cherie Murphy, marketing officer for the City of Elgin. RSVP by March 28 by calling 847.488.1456 or e-mailing

Monday, March 31, Noon
DNA office, 2 Douglas Avenue
(First floor of the Elgin Tower Building)

3) Ribbon Cutting/Dinner at Villa Verone
Come say hello to Downtown's new Italian restaurant!

At this month's "Out to Dinner" we will celebrate the opening of Villa Verone and welcome owner Pietro and his staff to the neighborhood! The evening begins with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 6pm followed by an Italian buffet at 6:30. Our guest speaker will be Brent Edwards from the Elgin Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, who will talk about how places like Villa Verone are helping to make Downtown Elgin a destination. Cost is $16 (including tax and pop). Please tip accordingly.

RSVP before March 28th for the ribbon cutting and Out to Dinner by calling 847.488.1456 or by e-mailing

Tuesday, April 1, 6pm
Villa Verone, 13 Douglas Avenue

4) City of Elgin's Annual Auction
Need a bike? Tools? Read on...

Like to get a good deal? Like digging around for that great find? Head over to the City of Elgin's annual auction that several city departments participate in. Some of the items include over 150 bicycles, misc. tools, office equipment, electronics, jewelry, and multiple items from the police's evidence unit. Any questions? Call 847.289.2530.

Sat., March 29, 8am: Preview, 9am: Auction
Lower Level of the Hemmens, 45 Symphony

5)Leo Kottke & Leon Redbone
Presented by Nitelite Promotions

Sit down and take a seat at the Hemmens next Saturday for an entertaining, witty, and musically inclined performance by two musicians who have paved their own genre. A show not to miss, if you know anything about these two men!
Get tickets by calling 847-931-5900 or go online to

Saturday, March 29, 8pm
Hemmens, 45 Symphony Way

6) Cinco De Mayo Fest & Parade
Celebre el Cinco de Mayo con Nosotros!

Join us in Downtown Elgin from May 1-4 for a community-wide celebration of culture, complete with great food, music, children's activities, a parade through downtown, and a carnival by Windy City Amusements! So head to the Downtown Neighborhood Association website to get further information on getting your business and organization involved! For more information call Tonya at 847.488.1456.

Advertising Opportunity with Reflejos Newspaper - Due March 28 - Call Regina at 847.806.5671 for more info or e-mail

Sponsor Application - Due April 1

Booth Vendor Application - Due April 15

Cinco de Mayo Parade Application - Due April 16

7) 10th "Cheers for Children" Brunch
A delicious gourmet cuisine fundraisor for the Larkin Center.

Come savor specialty dishes, along with participating in a live and silent auction. Handmade items, fine wines, a sapphire and diamond bracelet, and a grand raffle prize for a one week stay at the Divi Little Bay Beach & Racquet Club in St. Maarten, the first week of December. Please join them in enjoying this event with a tropical flavor and live entertainment. Cost is $80. Call Sharon at 847.695.5656 x263 to reserve or book online at

RSVP by Tuesday, April 1!
Sunday, April 13, 11am - 1:30pm
ECC, University Business Center
1700 Spartan Drive

8) Louise Knight at the Library
Presented by the Gail Borden Public Library & the Elgin Area Branch of the American Association of University Women

Louise W. Knight, author of
Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy will trace how Addams's early struggles with failure during an era of limited opportunities for women shaped her ideas about women's potential and her social reform activism. Refreshments will be served. Book sales and signing follow the program. Please register at the Adult Services Information Desk by calling 847.429.4680, or online at

Tuesday, April 1, 7pm
Gail Borden Library, 270 N. Grove Ave.

9) StoryTubes - 2008 National Contest
Tell, Tube, Tabulate for Fun and Prizes!

Storypalooza is back and bigger then ever! With its new name "Storytubes" it is now a national contest for all kids across the country Grade 1-6. The four different categories this year are Hair Raising Tales, From or For the Heart, Of Heros and Heroines, Facts, Fads, and Phenoms. Kids just need to create a 2 minute video about their favorite book and upload it on YouTube. Then send the link to the Gail Borden Public library via their website. You will automatically be entered into the national contest. Each week, one individual will win $500 in books and their sponsoring library will receive $1,000 in books! Thanks to the sponsoring publishers, Simon & Schuster, Scholastic, Eaglemont Press, DK Publishing, Charlesbridge Publishing, and Shenanigan Books. Watch for further details.

Begin Entering Tuesday, April 1
Voting will take place in May

10) The Firebird & Classical Guitar
Performed by the Elgin Symphony Orchestra

Jason Vieaux is expanding the definition of "Classical Guitarist" and delighting audiences along the way. He will lend his expressive gifts to a performance of Rodrigo's beloved Concierto de Aranjuez. Led by acclaimed conductor, Grant Cooper, the ESO will also perform Beethoven's Symphony No. 8 and Strainsky's magical suite from The Firebird. For tickets call 847.888.4000 or go to

Saturday, April 5, 8pm
Sunday, April 6, 3:30pm
Hemmens, 45 Symphony Way