The blocks around the Argyle “L” station are a distinct district within Uptown brimming with character and history. Once a Jewish community, Chinese entrepreneurs in the 1970s as well as refugees from Vietnam and Cambodia following the 1975 Fall of Saigon, transformed the area by opening restaurants, bakeries, pharmacies, and social service agencies.
Today, Asian-American entrepreneurs continue to be drawn here, with a spate of recent eateries and cafes that opened around the “L” station. Long-standing businesses still thrive, and several have been passed onto second generation owners. Plus, the new shared-street design allows businesses to open sidewalk cafes and provides more space for hosting street festivals like the Argyle Night Market, which draws more than 40,000 annual attendees.
Alfresco on Argyle
The Alfresco on Argyle program features expanded dining and place-making, with use of the north and south parking lane of Argyle Street between North Broadway and Sheridan Road in Uptown’s 48th Ward. Argyle Street remains open to vehicular use to accommodate daily traffic and allow for deliveries and curbside pick-up at select locations accommodating both businesses along this block and also providing clear access to existing streetscape elements such as parking meters and fire hydrant for fire safety. At other locations, a vehicular separation has been provided to allow for extended outdoor dining and place-making within the parking lane.
Additional programming blocks off vehicular traffic from a portion of the corridor to use for programs such as the Argyle Night Music, Lunar New Year Celebration, and other programs hosted by Uptown United and other local partners. This flexible design allows the Street to be easily and quickly transformed into space for events and programs. The program also highlights ideas for decoration and activation that will bring more vibrancy to this district to attract customers.
Ambassadors on Argyle
The Asia on Argyle Community Ambassador Program services Uptown’s Asia on Argyle’s community and its needs for public safety, community vibrancy, and economic development. This program aims to establish a welcoming, caring and safe environment in the Asia on Argyle corridor, and sustains neighborhood health and wellness for its residents and businesses. We hope to accomplish this by promoting community relationships and collaborations, restoring feelings of security, and creating an integrated, coordinated model for public safety.
Ambassadors on Argyle
Corridor Ambassadors provide a friendly presence to welcome residents back to local businesses. They will walk the commercial corridor, greet passers-by, and provide directions and other basic help. Ambassadors will serve as a watchful presence and as necessary report dangerous or unusual activity. Ambassadors will maintain a friendly presence with all residents. Hours and walk patterns are subject to change.
The Asia on Argyle Community Ambassador Program is rooted in community partnerships and collaborations. Uptown United is partnered and in collaboration with the following community based entities to deliver a robust, strong, and successful ambassador program.
Winter on Argyle
Winter on Argyle is an Outdoor Plaza program which aims to “winterize” outdoor dining areas with best practices and designs from the City of Chicago’s “Winter Design Challenge.” Uptown United has partnered with SmithGroup, a multi-disciplinary design firm which recently received an award for the “Winter Layers” submission to the City of Chicago’s “Winter Design Challenge.” Winter on Argyle will bring canopies and heating elements to outdoor dining plazas to ensure that they can be used continuously throughout the winter months. Ensuring that these spaces can be used throughout the winter will maintain Argyle Street restaurants’ ability to serve patrons outdoors, lessening the exposure of patrons to COVID-19.
Winter on Argyle is managed by Uptown United and is made possible by funding created by the Federal CARES Act. The City of Chicago and Mayor Lori Lightfoot made funding available via the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection’s COVID-19 Small Business Support grant program.
Argyle Lunar New Year Celebration
The annual Argyle Lunar New Year Parade is a decades-old tradition that features a processional of local groups and floats starting at the Argyle “L” stop–all to celebrate the start of the new Lunar Year! Come for music, lion dances, and other celebrations of local Asian cultures.
Argyle Night Market
The popular Argyle Night Market features food from local restaurants plus live cultural and musical performances. This free summer-long event draws more than 3,000 people each week and continues to grow in popularity. Part market, part street festival, this vibrant and award-winning event is located on the city’s first and only shared street.
HAIBAYÔ is a creative initiative that aims to energize the historic Asia on Argyle corridor through innovative cross cultural, multi-generational collaborations. Our intention is to curate spaces, events, digital content, while incubating a diverse range of artists, creative entrepreneurs, and local Asia on Argyle businesses.
Celebrate Argyle is a community initiative that aims to shine a spotlight on immigrant-owned restaurants and businesses in the West Argyle Historic District as a unique culinary destination, while also connecting community members to critical resources to meet pressing needs through the pandemic and beyond. Celebrate Argyle hopes to amplify the community’s rich immigrant stories, those that shape, define, and impact Asia on Argyle.