WICKER PARK — Following on the heels of the nation's first boozy Taco Bell, a suburban chain of discounted liquor and beer stores is setting up shop in a Milwaukee Avenue strip mall along a two-block stretch of street that both Wicker Park and Bucktown lay claim.
If all goes as planned, Garfield's Beverage Warehouse will open its new 3,000-square-foot store at 1704 N. Milwaukee Ave. on Friday, according to CEO Dave Garfield, whose Norridge-based chain will replace Evolution Wine & Spirits, which closed in February.
A neighboring Subway restaurant, which was next to the former Evolution, also closed last winter. Both of those stores were combined to make one larger storefront.
Garfield acquired ownership of Evolution LLC's liquor license on Aug. 28, state records show.
Onsite at the new location on Tuesday, Garfield said that the spot will bring about five new jobs to the area.
Garfield's specializes in imported, domestic and craft beers and spirits. The chain operates five other locations, mostly in the suburbs and one Chicago spot at 3501 N. Central Ave. in Portage Park.
Adam Silverstein, a West Town resident who serves as Garfield's Chief Operating Officer, said that Wicker Park was selected for the new site because "the consumers here are interested."
"We hope to have the largest spirits selection in Wicker Park and want to have 6 to 7,000 skus [pieces of inventory] in here, that's the goal. This store is much smaller than the rest of our stores," Silverstein said of the new storefront, about one block north of the Milwaukee Avenue entry to The 606's elevated Bloomingdale Trail and one block south of the Milwaukee, Damen and North avenues intersection.
Silverstein said that Garfield's attracts workers who stay for several years and have a lot of experience in the industry.
"Everyone that works here has passion; we all care about the product and know spirits and craft beer," Silverstein said.
The other tenants in the strip mall include a U.S. Post Office box rental, a dry cleaners and a yoga studio.
Garfield's Beverage Warehouse, 1704 N. Milwaukee Ave. Ph: 773-666-5747. Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday - Thursday; 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. Friday - Saturday; 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Sunday.
Garfield's Beverage Warehouse joins a strip mall at 1704 N. Milwaukee Ave. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]
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