Published Nov. 10, 2011
Hinsdale's downtown gets its nightlife
A year has
passed since Kathy and Ray Zuniga opened Village Cellar
at 24 W. Chicago Ave., taking over the space when Taste
of Vino closed. But some in the community apparently
didn’t get the message.
“We still have people who come in and say, ‘Oh, we didn’t know this
was still open’,” Kathy said.
So, this fall the shop has been hosting bands on Saturday nights in
an effort to expand the shop’s presence.
“Saturday nights have always been slow, and we thought maybe this
would give them a boost,” she said. “For the most part,
we’ve had some really good crowds.”
A boost is exactly what the village’s business district has
received in recent years as evening activities and new
dining destinations have energized a formerly sleepy
nightlife, according to Tim Scott, the village’s
director of economic development.
Scott said he’s been pleased to see an increase in the number of
cars downtown after dark, thanks in large part to
restaurants in the central business district, which
compel retailers to extend their hours.
“There was no reason (for shops to stay open late) before in their
minds because it certainly did get quiet in the
evenings,” he said. “It’s certainly breathed life into
Longer shopping hours have translated into additional sales tax
revenue for the village, Scott noted. He said having
local eating options gives people more reasons to come
“The new entrants on the restaurant scene have certainly proved to
be popular due to the hard work of the restaurateurs,”
he said. “More of those residents’ dollars are going to
be kept here in town rather than go to other
Just alerting prospective patrons to one’s hours of operations can
take time, so some eateries have devised special events
to be more visible.
At Zak’s Place, Wednesdays are Bring Your Own Wine night with no
corkage fee, Thursdays offer $7 martinis and a bottle of
Friday’s featured wine is half-price.
Down the street at Il Poggiolo, kids get free pasta dinners on
Sundays, while each Wednesday’s house wine is
half-price. Valet parking is offered Friday and Saturday
As part of a community outreach effort, Monday nights are available
for guest bartenders to help raise money for charities.
Causes such as juvenile diabetes and the Lymphoma
Foundation have taken advantage of it, according to
server Eric Saldana, by having one of their own pour
drinks with a portion of the proceeds going to the
“A lot of the people who come here are local. Since we opened, (the
owners) just wanted to give back, so that’s one thing we
do,” said head server Eric Saldana. “Drink, food, fun
and a fundraiser.”
Scott said Hinsdale is not the type of community for a large-scale
entertainment facility, but he said having a small
theater-type venue could be a nice complement to
existing activities. Adaptively reusing
turn-of-the-century buildings for modern-day business
can be a hurdle, but he said it is also the key to the
“We have the opportunity to add to the nightlife without
fundamentally altering the character of the downtown,”
he said. “We’re very cognizant of the character and the
feedback of residents. We want to make sure that what
we’re doing is additive and enhancing the existing charm
and the quiet enjoyment of the residents.”
Kathy Zuniga said the live music nights have attracted small
birthday parties and people on their way to or from
dinner. The events start at 7 p.m. and wrap up by 10
p.m., she said
“We don’t want to be open really late because we don’t want to be a
bar. We want to keep it respectful of Hinsdale,” she
Upcoming live music dates are Nov. 19 and 23 (Wednesday) and Dec.
3. The Zunigas have learned to be flexible when
competing with communitywide events, such as home
Hinsdale Central football games, but say they want to
establish a pattern.
“I think if you have these, you have to be consistent about it so
people know that Saturday night is music night,” she
Open to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday; open to 8 p.m. Saturday
Open to 9 p.m. every day
Dips & Dogs
Open to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday and Sunday; open to 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday
Open to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday
Open to 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday and to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Open to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday and Sunday, 11 p.m. Friday and 10
Open to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday
Open to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday and Sundays and to 10 p.m.
Fridays and Saturdays
Open to 9 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and to 9:30 p.m.
Fridays and Saturdays
Open to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday and Sunday and to 11 p.m. Fridays
Lobby is open to 11 p.m. and drive-thru is open to midnight every
Open to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, to 11 p.m. Fridays and
Saturdays and to 9 p.m. Sundays
Open to 9 p.m. every day
Open to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday and to 10 p.m. Fridays and