PILSEN — Empty Bottle owner Bruce Finkelman officially signed the contract on Pilsen's historic Thalia Hall last week, and while a music venue might be coming eventually, vintage furniture haven Modern Cooperative is the first confirmed shop moving into the space.
Modern Cooperative, 818 W. 18th St., is expected to move into the much larger space at 1215 – 1225 W. 18th St. by the fall. Co-owner Tiffany Paige said she also plans to tweak Modern Coop’s concept to include more local and handmade items.
Vintage furniture is just the beginning for the landmark Pilsen space, which also features a theater.
Finkelman, who also owns the popular Logan Square restaurant Longman & Eagle, said he is opening a new tavern and restaurant that will replace Ristorante Al Teatro. It will be named after John Dusek, the Bohemian immigrant who originally commissioned Thalia in 1890, and feature "beer-inspired cuisine." The booze will flow downstairs as well, as Finkelman transforms the basement into a bar called the Punch House, with an emphasis on "unique" punch cocktails.
"We are excited to begin working on Thalia Hall — a historic building that we hope to restore to its original charm and character, continuing the building's rich history that John Dusek began in 1890 when he commissioned Thalia to be built," Finkelman said in a news release.
And while Finkelman said he definitely sees a music venue in Thalia’s future, for now he plans to turn the historic building’s public hall into a community and arts event space.
The Empty Bottle owner said, for him, having a Pilsen venue was a natural next step.
“We’ve been working on it for quite some time,” Finkelman said. “It’s a very beautiful community-based area. And we wanted a neighborhood.”