UChicago lands Clarke’s 24-hour restaurant on 53rd Street

Calmetta Coleman
Director of Communications for Civic EngagementUniversity Communications

The University of Chicago is bringing Clarke’s restaurant, a 24-hour Chicago-area diner, to 53rd Street in Hyde Park.

The all-night eatery is the latest business to declare its intentions for Hyde Park’s commercial corridor, following announcements this spring of plans for a hotel, a movie theater and another restaurant. Together with the mixed-use development at Harper Court, the new businesses reflect the initiative of the community, the City and the University to promote new vitality along the corridor.

The project, which is slated for completion in 2013, will include 150,000 square feet of office space leased to the University of Chicago, 440 parking spaces and approximately 80,000 square feet of retail space in addition to the hotel.

Scheduled to open later this year, Clarke’s will offer a wide variety of menu choices, including specialty salads, stir-fry dishes, sandwiches and a host of additional breakfast, lunch and dinner items. The restaurant addresses a longstanding interest among students and other community members for more late-night options.

Established in 1986, Clarke’s has existing locations in Lincoln Park, Evanston, Lakeview and Bucktown as well as a new restaurant to soon open in River North.

“We look forward to serving the Hyde Park area as always with quality food and quality customer service,” said Steve Dion, owner of Clarke’s restaurants. “We are also excited about the future plans of development in Hyde Park, and we are eager to be part of it.”

Clarke’s will occupy 4,000 square feet within the 1451 E. 53rd St. building, which the University purchased earlier this month. T-Mobile occupies the remaining space.

University officials announced earlier that later this year, Five Guys restaurant would become the inaugural tenant in the office and theater buildings at 53rd Street and Harper Avenue. The buildings, which the University owns and is currently renovating, also will house The New 400 Theaters, a local movie operator that will showcase art, children’s and wide-release films when it opens in 2012.

“We are continuing to work closely with the community and the City to bring the right mix of restaurants and retail businesses along with entertainment venues to Hyde Park that residents and students have been asking for to help improve the quality of life,” said James Hennessy, Director of Commercial Real Estate Operations for the University.

The University is also partnering with the City and civic leaders to build a mixed-use complex as part of an ambitious redevelopment of the Harper Court property. Last December, Vermilion Development signed an agreement with Smart Hotels to develop a Hyatt Place 130-room hotel in Harper Court, which is slated to become the centerpiece of the complex. Smart Hotels signed the franchise agreement with Hyatt Place.

Officials said additional retail and entertainment announcements are expected within the next few months.