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Family buys Lyn-Lake building, plans Chicago-inspired shop

Kelly Busche//November 1, 2021

A family has purchased a building in the Lyn-Lake neighborhood with plans to soon open a popcorn, hoagie sandwich and butter cookie shop under the name “Chicago’s Very Own.”

Located at 2944 Lyndale Ave. S., the Spencer family acquired the one-story building for $870,000 last week. The family has searched for a building to house their Chicago-inspired concept for over a year – and landed on the Lyndale Avenue South building due to the diversity of the surrounding community.

“We’re more of a people-person [family] and care about community,” said Chicago’s Very Own co-founder Richard Spencer. “We’d like to be around where you have a multitude of diversity. …. We have other businesses around to help build strength.”

The building, located on the intersection of Lyndale Avenue South and West Lake Street, once housed a Milio’s Sandwiches location. The intersection is a hub of small businesses, restaurants and local entertainment options. Chicago’s Very Own will share a block with LynLake Brewery, moto i, Legacy Glassworks and more.

Marshall Nguyen and Jay Mawas of the Caspian Group represented the buyers. Jeff Mitchell with Hoyt Properties represented the seller, Robert Tennant, according to the Caspian Group.

The one-story commercial building, constructed in 1937, allows the family to run two concepts out of one kitchen. The 2,400 square foot building will house a hoagies sandwich shop as well as a popcorn and butter cookie store.

All three items are widely available – and appreciated – in Chicago, where the Spencer family once lived. They relocated to Minnesota around 25 years ago, Spencer said.

The sandwiches will include prime rib, pastrami and corned beef options, all of which will be made with fresh meat. “We’re cutting our steak sandwiches straight off the prime rib,” Spencer said.

The popcorn and cookie aspect are also heavily influenced by Chicago. The shop’s popcorn will have a taste like popcorn from Garrett Popcorn Shops, which is known for mixing caramel and cheese popcorn, he said.

And the cookie aspect of this shop will be centered on butter cookies – the same ones made famous by Chicago Public Schools. One of Spencer’s business partners already makes butter cookies that are available in Hy-Vee stores. The restaurant will allow further distribution of the cookies, Spencer said.

“That same taste that people yearn for doesn’t exist here. So we’re bringing that taste here,” he said.

Spencer has experience running a restaurant, having owned and ran one in Chicago for five years before he and his family relocated. The team includes others who also have extensive restaurant experience, Spencer said.

They’re planning to open in around three months, once a build-out worth around $215,000 is complete, which will include the installation of kitchen hoods, plumbing and electrical work, and cosmetic upgrades, he said.

They’re launching the new business as a six-person, co-founder team, each of whom will have their own role. Chicago’s Very Own will have a community focus, too.

“We want to be more than just a restaurant,” he said. “We want to be a place where people know that we care about not just giving the service of food – but [giving to] the community itself.”


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