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46th Ward Awards Go To Pizza Rustica, 'Weird Guy on Trike'

 Several Uptown residents and businesses were honored at the second annual 46th Ward Awards.
46th Ward Awards
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UPTOWN — Several Uptown residents and businesses were honored Thursday at the second annual 46th Ward Awards.

The awards were organized by Citizens for Cappleman, the political campaign committee for Ald. James Cappleman (46th). About 670 residents in the ward were surveyed online and asked to nominate the ward's best restaurant, not-for-profit organization, innovator and more.

Pizza Rustica, a Lakeview Italian eatery run by Stefano Roman and his wife Juliana Montebello-Roman, was named Best Restaurant in the ward, which includes most of Uptown and parts of Lakeview.

Montebello-Roman has lived in the Buena Park community on the southeast tip of Uptown since 1992, and Roman has lived there with her since he moved from Italy in 1999. Pizza Rustica got its start in 2005 at a small storefront across the street from its current location at 3908 N. Sheridan Rd., and grew so popular it was expanded to a bigger space about two years ago.

"It's a huge honor to represented, because it's that neighborhood that got us where we are today," Montebello-Roman said of Buena Park. "We're so glad we stayed in the 46th Ward."

Uptown resident Gene Tenner (referred to by some who don't know him as "that weird guy on the trike") won the Good Neighbor award in the individual category. Tenner is a bike activist, CAPS Beat 1915 facilitator, board member for the Buena Park Neighbors and artist.

"I guess it was an acknowledgement of all that work," said Tenner.

Bike shop Uptown Bikes, 4653 N. Broadway, received the Good Neighbor award in the businesses category for making a positive impact. Owner Maria Barnes said "we're very privileged to have loyal customers who appreciate us."

The bike shop is a driving force behind Toasty Tuesdays events held in Uptown in February and March. That effort was designed to bring community organizations and activists to connect with neighbors and learn about positive work being done in the community.

"We are a community-minded shop. We try to respect all of our neighbors," she said.

The other 46th Ward Awards winners were:

•Real estate company Flats Chicago, which received the Ward Innovator award for its commitment to local arts initiatives

•The food pantry Lakeview Pantry, which received the Best Non-Profit award

•The Northalsted Business Alliance Security Team, which received the Leader in Safety award

• Noteworthy Notes, winner of the Best Storefront Display award.