Around the corner from Dover Court, a number of businesses now have outdoor seating on Wilson Avenue, once one of Uptown’s most notorious streets. The drug dealers and prostitutes appear to be gone, or else they’re keeping a much lower profile.
The progression can be seen as you walk from The Godfather Pizza, an old standby on Wilson, where the patio seating is surrounded by a high fence obscured with banners, to the Starbcucks patio, which has a much lower, friendlier fence around its patio. By the time you get to the comparatively new Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, to the east, there’s no fence at all; tables are squeezed onto the sidewalk a la Lincoln Square or Division Street.
The idea of a sidewalk cafe on Wilson Avenue would have been laughable seven or eight years ago, maybe more recently than that. But the strip finally seems to have capitalized, at least to some degree, on the thousands of students who traverse it every day as they commute to Truman College.
Unique So Chic, a “boutique and tea and chocolate room” next door to Starbucks, at Wilson and Magnolia, did not have an outdoor cafe when last we stopped by, but it seems like a good candidate. This sounded like the sort of endeavor that would face a tough time on any street, much less Wilson, but the place has drawn rave reviews for its formal tea service, complete with scones, finger sandwiches and assorted cheeses.
Who’d have thunk that the words “high” and “tea” would one day refer to something not just legal, but British, on Wilson Avenue.