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When June Coutre and her husband Michael were ready
to start a family, they decided to move to Chinatown. Ten-year-old
Meia now spends her Saturdays learning kung fu and often walks home
from school with her Chinese grandpa.
What made you decide to move to
My parents had moved back to
Chinatown when I was 19. My husband and I figured we'd have a child
and wanted them around Chinese culture and around grandparents, so
we moved to a condo my parents owned in Chinatown.
You said your parents moved back to Chinatown? Did
you grow up there?
No, I grew up in East Rogers
Park. When I grew up, we owned a Chinese restaurant at Western and
Is your husband Chinese?
No, he's Swedish, Irish and
But he agreed to move to
Yes, he knew it was
important and that I wanted to make sure my daughter had that
culture within her, although she doesn't speak Chinese, which is a
Do you have her in some activities in the
She goes to the Chinese American Service League in
Chinatown and she's taking a drawing class and kung fu; she also
took a Chinese dance class.
Are there things to do?
There's a dragon boat race and there's Ping Tom Park and
that's a fun park. One of the things I should say about Chinatown,
we're working on getting the library expanded. We're trying to get
a field house or rec center right in the Chinatown community. There
really isn't a place for kids to go after school. The kids get out
of school at 1:45 and we don't have a library or anything, so we're
pushing for resources, for a library.
For people visiting, what restaurant do you
Right in Chinatown there's a few different ones. If it's
lunch and you want to stay in Chinatown, there's Triple Crown,
which has two locations on Wentworth. Also China Café for dim sum.
There's even the newer part, Chinatown Square, where there's the
Phoenix Restaurant, which is good for a larger group. What's
interesting, or what people are surprised to know, the bakeries
that are scattered throughout on Wentworth and on Cermak that have
Chinese buns with different fillings inside, a lot of those are
also offering different dishes for dim sun, and bubble teas or the
smoothies are being served in a lot of bakeries.
How about shopping? Do you have any insider
The gift shops, a few are owned by the same owner. You
have to look through them all, and if you catch something, look
through others because they can be priced differently.
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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