With a downtown anchored on Northwest Highway and filled with places like Happy Foods grocery, Italian and French bakeries and outdoor cafes, Edison Park offers Ann and David Gunkel, with son Stas’ in tow, lots to love on the one-block walk from their home to eat and shop. Then it’s home to their bungalow, the type of house Ann always wanted for herself while growing up in this Chicago northside neighborhood.
City officials asked Thomas Edison’s permission to call it
Edison Park because it was one of the first cities in the United
States to have electricity. The small farming community was annexed
by the city of Chicago in 1910.
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What is it about a bungalow?
We’re just really comfortable in a bungalow; it’s a livable size. Our house is 80 years old and we really value that style and craftsmanship. One of the first residents was an opera singer who sang with the Lyric in the early 1900s. Another neighbor remembers seeing the carriage pull up to pick her up and take her to the Lyric to sing. Now we have a bungalow sunroom and that’s our music room. We’re all amateur musicians … so we liked it when we found out she had lived there.
The neighborhood’s not completely bungalow though; it’s a nice diversity of housing styles. Many of our neighbors are in houses built in the late 1800s when Edison Park wasn’t annexed yet.
How would you describe the neighborhood?
It’s appealing because it’s walkable like a city neighborhood, but it has a suburban feel with the spacious lots of trees. We have lots of firemen, police, teachers, streets-and-san workers; it’s a mix of blue collar and white collar. … We also have the Metra station right behind the Edison Park downtown. We can take this to the opera and be downtown in 25 minutes.
Tell me something people shouldn’t miss.
The Edison Park Turkey Trot Nov. 25. It’s a 5K race that goes through downtown and neighborhoods. We raise money every year for charity. We all run it.
What about when it comes to eating out?
Two restaurants: Zia’s Trattoria (6699 N. Northwest Highway, 773-775-0808) and Café Touché (6731 N. Northwest Highway, 773-775-0909). The waitstaff at Zia’s for major family events, my father’s funeral dinner, my son’s First Communion lunch, were waitresses we’ve known and who have known us by name since my son was in a baby carriage.
At the Italian deli Tony’s (6708 N. Northwest Highway, 773-631-0055), the owner has known my son by name since he was a toddler. He even knows his favorite foods. He knows the families he’s feeding.