What is the Veltway?
Roosevelt Road is in a Renaissance. In 2010, the City of Berwyn, Village of Oak Park, and Town of Cicero completed a decade long streetscape project that unified the corridor with new roads, sidewalks and other street furniture as well as an agreement on land use planning. This project was fueled by a common vision to revitalize Roosevelt Road and support the diverse entertainment and dining options on the strip. Their collaboration landed the group with an award from the International Economic Development Council and a visit from the Governor.
Since the completion of the streetscape project, Roosevelt Road has experienced rapid growth, adding a number of award-winning, popular food spots as well as a growing arts and entertainment scene.
From Renaissance to the Veltway
So what is the Veltway*? It’s the area’s dining and entertainment epicenter on RooseVELT Road. This strip has an exciting, emerging dining scene that is a destination all its own, including Michelin-recognized and highly-rated Autre Monde Cafe which boasts a great patio and delicious Mediterranean fare made in a from scratch kitchen, sausages & burgers handmade daily from Big Guys Sausage Stand, classics such as “Chicago’s Best” featured Gina’s Italian Ice as well as delicious Asian fare from Bodhi Thai Bistro and Sushi Junki and classic Italian at and Capri Ristorante.
The Veltway is the place where you get to see everything from local to national acts play at the legendary FitzGerald’s Nightclub or newcomer-destined-for-greatness Wire. And don’t count out the musical showcases put together at Friendly Tap. Here you have three very unique music venues within a three block walk. And tucked around the corner is the critically-acclaimed 16th Street Theater, showing hard-hitting provocative live performances from some of the areas best playwrights. Best yet, you have your pick from a growing group of noteworthy restaurants that fit any taste or budget.
If you’re on a tight budget, don’t let it be a show stopper. In addition to weekday open mike nights and showcases, the bands Bunker Town, Bitters and The Sanctified Grumblers all host regular monthly weekend shows at the Friendly Tap. Cannonball and Expo ’76 host their monthly shows at FitzGerald’s Side Bar. Each of these bands average four players, each with conservatively twenty-five years of playing out. That’s 100 years of experience per band of some of Chicago’s finest talent just asking for a fiver in the tip jar. You won’t find this kind of abundant talent in any big city strip north of Memphis or maybe north of Austin for that matter.
*Thank you to Loren Middleton and James Darley for their contribution to this page.