Up on the (Green) Roof

When this old world starts getting you down--especially when it’s snowing in mid-April--think green! Up on the roof of the Uncommon Ground restaurant on Devon Avenue in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood, seedlings are about to sprout. Atop this 1909 building, the 800-square-foot roof will soon be filled with all kinds of vegetables and herbs. Picture not only your typical tomatoes and peppers, but also kale, okra, leeks, garlic, and cilantro. The mini-farm, which has operated on the recycled plastic roof deck since 2008, has its own high-tech irrigation system. The organic veggies share the roof with beehives as well as solar thermal panels that provide “juice” for the eatery’s hot water. By

The Beat Goes on in This Born-Again Building

At the City Winery in Chicago, what’s behind the scenes is almost as exciting as what’s on stage. The West Loop building was once a nondescript cold storage facility for a food distributor at the edge of the famed meatpacking district. Now the 1920 warehouse has been transformed into a winery, restaurant, and above all, a hall for all styles of music, from rock ‘n’ roll to rockabilly. Between foot-stomping sets, take a few minutes to check out the furniture, fixtures, walls, and columns. Those tables and bar tops where your glasses of “West Loop White” are sitting, for example--they’re actually salvaged oak beams or wood from fallen Chicago park trees. The columns in the lobby are bedecked w

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