By Benjamin Rossi
Thanks to a well-orchestrated press release, the whole city knows about plans to bring a Whole Foods to the University of Chicago’s neighborhood, Hyde Park. But what really has some students excited is a recent university announcement that Clarke’s diner, a twenty-four-hour restaurant with locations in Lincoln Park, Wicker Park and Lakeview will open a branch in 53rd Street’s Harper Court, just blocks from campus.
Twenty-four-hour eateries are a staple of college towns and urban campuses: the University of Michigan has Fleetwood Diner, Yale claims Gourmet Heaven, NYU has the Ukrainian restaurant Veselka and Columbia University has Tom’s Restaurant, whose exterior stood in for the fictional Monk’s Cafe on “Seinfeld.” As any college student knows, these restaurants serve as crucial way stations for partygoers, meeting places for couples and coffee breaks for crammers.
But when it comes to getting greasy food quickly and cheaply any time of the day or night, the University of Chicago has fallen behind its peer institutions. The Medici, a veteran hangout on 57th Street, is only open until midnight—and that’s on Fridays and Saturdays. The campus dining halls close at 8pm, and even the campus convenience stores, Bart Mart and Midway Market, shut down at 3am. Some students opt for Taco Bell on 79th Street, the Maxwell Street Depot on 31st, White Palace on Roosevelt, or even Clarke’s on Belmont. But for those without a car or temporarily bereft of the ability to drive, commuting to these far-flung locations is quite a hassle. Read the rest of this entry »