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New Nookies Restaurant Opens In Edgewater's Bryn Mawr Historic District

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The comeback on Bryn Mawr Avenue in the Edgewater neighborhood has been bolstered further with a new outpost of the Nookies restaurant chain.

The new outpost of Nookies opened Monday morning at 1100 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., at the northwest corner of the intersection with Winthrop Avenue, the Edgeville Buzz blog reported.

Christopher Balza and Jeremy Bressman of Edgeville Buzz describe a space with Italian-crafted chairs and lamps and Brazilian wood floors, and recounted preview meals they attended in advance of the opening.

"Overall our experiences were excellent and we're both certainly looking forward to dining at what we believe will become a new neighborhood favorite very soon!" they wrote.

Nookies has three other locations – the original Nookies, at 1746 N. Wells St. in the Old Town neighborhood; Nookies Too, at 2114 N. Halsted St. in the Lincoln Park neighborhood; and Nookies Tree, at 3334 N. Halsted St. on the Boystown strip. The chain's self-description is "a casual, American restaurant which cooks fresh, no-nonsense, wholesome food," and "first and foremost, a neighborhood place."

The Old Town restaurant dates from 1973, and was frequented from its earliest days local celebrities, from politicians to improv comedy performers from Second City, the restaurant's Web site recalls. The Lincoln Park and Boystown restaurants opened in 1982 and 1985, respectively.

Meanwhile, a lot has changed on Bryn Mawr Avenue in recent years.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the busy stretch of Bryn Mawr between Broadway and Lake Shore Drive had gained a reputation for crime and decay. In a 2000 Chicago Reader article, a local church pastor recalled open-air drug sales and fights on the streets, as well as prostitution.

But since the mid-1990s, the area has seen a dramatic comeback. The Edgewater Community Council points out the creation of the national Bryn Mawr Historic District in 1996, and later the creation of a Tax Increment Financing District to redevelop the historic, but decaying, Bryn Mawr and Belle Shore hotels and the Bryn Mawr Red Line 'L' stop, among other improvements.

In recent years, the popular Evanston restaurant That Little Mexican Café, and the local Italian chain Francesca's, have also opened locations on Bryn Mawr Avenue.

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