There are many reasons why Rogers Park residents ought to visit Jenny's Gourmet Restaurant at 1644 West Howard.
A) Jenny's Pad Thai noodle dishes and her other entrees are delicious. Jenny specializes in Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese Cuisine.
B) In her heart, Jenny is a baker, and her baked goods rival any top bakery in Chicago – for taste, healthiness and for presentation.
C) Jenny focuses on healthy ingredients – no need to request that she hold the “MSG" because there isn't any.
D) Meeting Jenny – she is one of the most delightful and upbeat people you will ever meet. Be amazed when you learn that she single handedly handles the restaurant, while also raising (with her husband, Freddie) four fabulous kids, three sons and a daughter, all under the age of 9. Another, a son, is in the (ahem) oven. Yes. Jenny is eight months pregnant.
E) Meeting Jenny's husband, Freddie, a martial arts and fitness trainer. Freddie offers high quality and affordable personal training sessions in his studio immediately adjacent to the restaurant.
Jenny opened her carry out restaurant just over a year ago. Her and her husband devoted considerable energy and equity building out the space and equipping her kitchen with high quality, modern appliances.
Though I have always enjoyed the experience of going to her restaurant, I haven't gone there as frequently as I would have liked. The Howard Streetscape project, much needed as it is, hasn't helped Jenny's business nor the restaurants and other businesses on Howard Street, east of the tracks.
“Mike," she told me the other day, “there were days during the height of construction that I had no customers. Zero. For two to three days in a row no one, not even my regulars, came by. People were allowed to park temporarily, but no one knew it."
Jenny then told me of her plans to sell the restaurant. As much as she loves cooking (especially baking), and as much as she adores her customers, the rigors of maintaining a business like this at this particular location is simply too much.
(Anyone who might be interested in learning more ought to stop by the restaurant, or call Jenny at (773) 465-8888.)
On the bright side, Freddy's Martial Arts and personal training business does well, and Freddie intends to keep the business going. For $25/session, Freddie offers great value and anyone interested in personal training or learning martial arts ought to give him a call, at (773) 465-8888.
Jenny hasn't closed the doors yet. Its not too late to check out her restaurant, and understand why I am so enthused about what she has going on there. Jenny has devoted a lot of energy building and operating her business. Let's show some support for her over the next few weeks – before she delivers baby no. 5 – a nice way for us to express our gratitude for her great efforts this past year.
I make no promises, but I sense that if you tell her that you read this blog post, she might grace you with a complementary healthy dessert! (If enough of you do it, perhaps I'll get a free Pad Thai!)
(And Jenny's is not the only restaurant experiencing a drop in business during the Howard Streetscape project. Try out Rogers Park's delightful, long standing, Jamaican restaurant, Jamaican Jerk, across the street from Jenny's, at 1631 W. Howard, run by executive chef Paulette Waite and her husband Stanley.