By David Anthony, for RedEye
9:18 AM CDT, April 5, 2012
For the past year, The Purple Cow Ice Cream Cafe has been serving residents of Uptown and surrounding neighborhoods. When it closed for the season in December, local patrons nor the owner thought that it would be permanent.
On April 3, the Purple Cow owner Mark Cohen announced on the business's Facebook page that this closure was more than just seasonal, it would be permanent.
"Many of you have been wondering when The Purple Cow ice cream cafe will be open again. Due to family obligations I will not be able to reopen on Montrose. I want to thank the people of the neighborhood for being so welcoming and supportive. I will truly miss being a place where families and friends gathered. I will also miss the many friends I made along the way and the many smiles I saw from my side of the counter. This April, the Purple Cow ice cream cafe will be opening a new location at 1740 W. Division street, in Wicker Park. Please come visit our new location for the same ice cream, treats and the great service you had on Montrose, with a few new things for you to try, of course. Look for updates and grand opening information, here, soon," it read.
Cohen said Wicker Park is an area he had been interested in for some time, because of its burgeoning community.
"I finally found a great location that I could afford," said Cohen, who attributes his interest in Wicker Park to the vast amount of people out and about, a factor that will allow him to expand Purple Cow's menu beyond its dairy-based namesake.
"Having a lot more foot traffic allows us to go deeper with our offerings," he said. "We're adding a homemade caramel corn and cheese corn--a Chicago authentic--and several new lines of candy."
The Purple Cow was successful at its old Montrose location, but at the new storefront on Division Street, Cohen is moving into an area rich with ice creameries. This wealth of like-minded businesses is an attribute that Adam Burck, the Executive Director of the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce, feels contributes to the area's continuing growth.
"There are multiple choices in all entertainment categories. It's not cookie cutter," said Burck, "It's the accessibility and density of business that makes a great experience when you're looking for neighborhoods to go to. It's a community of destinations."
Cohen echoes this sentiment, seeing similar shops such as iCream not as competition, but as an ally.
"The vibrant nature of the neighborhood and the cross-culture over here, it's just really great. We feel really lucky to be a part of it."
The Wicker Park Purple Cow is still under construction, and Cohen admits the shop's grand opening is "a bit of a moving target," but he hopes to have the shop up and running by the end of April. Once the Purple Cow is open, patrons can expect another set of patio seating to line be lining the Division Street sidewalk.
"We're gonna have outdoor seating like everybody else does," said Cohen, begging the question, "Where else in Chicago can you go where it's just one outdoor cafe after another? And that's what makes Wicker Park so cool."
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