The 1500 block of Jarvis Avenue, in Rogers Park, is a study in contrasts. East of the el, a pocket of new businesses is thriving — coffee shop, deli, Italian restaurant, pub, theater, pet groomer, etc. Ten new businesses opened in the span of a year in the enclave, which has been dubbed “Jarvis Square.”
West of the el station is a strip of empty storefronts, windows papered over, streetscape suddenly bleak.
A sign notes that V-Tone Fitness Center will be opening in one of the empty storefronts, but given the surroundings, we’re not sure the odds for a tiny health club here are great. The newest addition east of the tracks is a gourmet wine and food shop at 1506 W Jarvis Ave, which appears to be moving forward with a renovation next door to Gruppo di Amicci. Entrepreneurs Eric Aubriot and Jamie Evans are opening the store, which was to be called “Flangelato” last time we checked.
Can the revitalization jump the tracks? We hope so. There’s no reason businesses shouldn’t be just as successful 50 yards west, but at the moment, Jarvis is a good illustration of the psychology behind that cliche about tracks having right and wrong sides.