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Red Ivy Opened With Dreams Of A World Series — Missing It Is 'Bittersweet'

By Ariel Cheung | April 15, 2016 7:16am
 Red Ivy will close after Sunday to make way for the Addison & Clark development in Wrigleyville.
Red Ivy will close after Sunday to make way for the Addison & Clark development in Wrigleyville.
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DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung

WRIGLEYVILLE — At its roots, Red Ivy was about hope.

Named for the vivid hue that blankets Wrigley Field in October, Red Ivy opened in the tailwind of the Chicago Cubs 2003 postseason. It was the latest into the year the Cubs played in more that a century — until last year, that is.

Jesse Boyle honored those "Red Ivy Cubs" with his new Wrigleyville bar, which is closing Monday after 10 years at 3525 N. Clark St. to make way for the Addison & Clark development.

Over the ensuing decade, Boyle watched as the Cubs' first bloom of success transformed the neighborhood. Deuce's and The Diamond Club sprung from an empty parking lot. La Bamba closed, and the west side of Clark Street was remade.

And all the while, Boyle waited for the day the Cubs would win it all.

"I can say I'll be truly sorry I wasn't able to be there as they go win the World Series," Boyle said. "It still feels like home, and you really can't replace that."

Then again, Boyle definitely understands heartbreak — Red Ivy is also a Cleveland Browns bar, and the team's long-suffering fans are "terrific," he said. In fact, Boyle "can't say enough" about all the customers who supported Red Ivy since it opened in 2005.

Red Ivy, named for the vivid hue of Wrigley Field's ivy in the fall, will close after this weekend. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]

For years, Boyle and other business owners knew they were working on borrowed time; the former Addison Park on Clark project began in 2007, but failed financing and foreclosure stalled plans for six years until M&R Development and Bucksbaum Retail Properties took over.

It took another three years to secure financing and settle the foreclosure lawsuit holding up the final acquisition.

Finally setting an eviction date last month gave Boyle "a sense of relief from the huge amount of anticipation for this development," he said.

"I look at it as an opportunity," Boyle explained. "I'm really going to miss it dearly in a lot of ways, but in other ways, all good things come to an end."

At this point, Red Ivy hasn't been asked back once Addison & Clark is built, but Boyle said he might recreate the bar some day or get involved in another restaurant. Until then, he's taking a little break.

"After 11 years of working on something, it does burn you out a little bit," Boyle said.

The arrival of Addison & Clark alongside the Wrigley Field plaza and hotel will fundamentally change Wrigleyville once again — its local business roots are weakening in favor of big brand names, Boyle said.

Goose Island Wrigleyville closed at the end of 2015, and other businesses vacating include Salt & Pepper Diner and Mullen's on Clark.

Red Ivy will celebrate its last days this weekend before closing Monday. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]

"A lot of people are saying that in 10 years, you won't recognize the neighborhood, and it will be dramatically different," Boyle said. "But any time there's change, you're going to have people who reflect on what it was and not appreciate that."

In a way, it's ironic to see Red Ivy die off as the Cubs seems poised to take off and remake Wrigleyville.

"It's kind of the natural order of things," Boyle said. "It's going to be exciting, and not everyone will be for it, but that's the nature of change."


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