WIN: After 37-Year Closure, the Restored Ramova Theater Will Host Ramova Grill and Microbrewery (Chicago 7 2012)

Ramova Theater, 1929, Meyer O. Nathan, 3518 S. Halsted Street. Photo taken May 24, 1984. Photo Credit: John McCarthy. Courtesy Al Krasauskas‎ / CinemaTreasures.org

“The reopened Ramova Theatre will also be home to Chicago’s newest brewery. Other Half Brewing will open a brewery and taproom inside the Ramova Theatre, the historical movie house at 3520 S. Halsted St. that will reopen as a concert venue and dining destination.

“The redeveloped Ramova Theatre is set to open in the coming months after sitting vacant for over three decades. Centered around an 1,500-capacity concert venue, the theater complex will also include a reopened Ramova Diner, Other Half Ramova, a beer garden and an events space.

“After deciding to fold a brewery into the redevelopment plans, developer Tyler Nevius turned to the beer makers at the taproom he frequented when he lived in Brooklyn: Other Half.

“‘As soon as I tried [Other Half] and realized they were a mile and a half away, I think I was there almost every Saturday,’ said Nevius, who is spearheading the Ramova redevelopment with Emily Nevius, his wife. ‘This idea of creating a music venue and a brewery was really developed organically with them to a great extent.’

“The brewery chose to expand to Chicago and join the Ramova project for one primary reason: music. Being connected to a music venue allows for unique collaborations and the fostering of community around craft beer, an important goal of Other Half’s, said Matt Mohanan, brewery co-founder with Richardson and Andrew Burman.

“‘It’s an incredible story,’ Monahan said of the Ramova’s redevelopment. ‘It just seems like a natural evolution for what we’re doing. Adding a music component to what we do, we’re just lucky to be here and excited.’

“Other Half Ramova will neighbor the Ramova Grill, which is reopening after it ended an 82-year run in business in 2012. Ramova Grill’s revival is being helmed by Kevin Hickey and Brandon Phillips, partners in acclaimed Bridgeport restaurant The Duck Inn. Hickey, a Bridgeport native, and Phillips will oversee the culinary and beverage programs at the grill, respectively.

“‘You’re going to see some cool collaboration, some cool products, some cool beer offerings that you probably haven’t seen anywhere else before,’ he said. ‘That is what’s the most exciting to me.’

“The Ramova opened in 1929 as a sister theater to the Music Box Theatre in Lakeview. The interior was designed in the “atmospheric” style of the 1920s, with an auditorium meant to resemble Spanish courtyards and stars on deep blue ceilings that would glimmer before each movie. It closed in 1985.

“The city bought the theater in 2001 to preserve it for development, but officials struggled for years to find developers who were willing to invest in rehabilitating the deteriorating structure.

“In 2020, the theater was sold to a venture led by Nevius’ Our Revival Chicago LLC. The $30 million project broke ground in 2021.” (Ward, Block Club Chicago, 11/7/23)

Preservation Chicago is thrilled that the Ramova Theater will finally be reopened after a long restoration and much longer period of vacancy. The Ramova Theater was a Chicago 7 Most Endangered 2012 along with a number of other neighborhood theaters. Preservation Chicago had long advocated to find a user for the Ramova in partnership with the Save the Ramova campaign lead by Maureen Sullivan, a dedicated Bridgeport neighbor and community leader.

Ward Miller and Preservation Chicago were even involved with the preservation and relocation of the Ramova Grill interior fixtures, a beloved neighborhood restaurant located next to the theater, to Benton House in 2012. Perhaps it’s time for its return to Halsted and 35th Street as part of this comprehensive Ramova Theater renovation?

Preservation Chicago continues to work with and support stakeholders in an effort to help the final Ramova Theater redevelopment be as successful as possible. We fully support this development and supported the use of TIF funds to make it possible. This is precisely the type of neighborhood-oriented reinvestment that Chicago needs to help make all neighborhoods vibrant places to live, work and explore.

Read the full story at Block Club Chicago

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