Breathing New Life into Andersonville by Way of Local Talent

Meredith Barry

You may have noticed the number of shops and restaurants that have disappeared from the face of Clark Street lately. Unfortunately, even Andersonville has been hit by the economic shrinkage all of America is feeling right now. One woman, is stepping forward and standing up against the decline in patronage of our local businesses and gay owned endeavors; she is introducing new gastronomic entrepreneurs to long standing artists, familiar spaces to DJ’s, and we of the masses to as many great treats and tid-bits from about town that we may just not have gotten to try.

After years of honing her craft as a bartender and mixologist Meredith Barry is creating a new future for herself and others community simply by demystifying all that she has learned. If you have been to Hamburger Mary’s on a Saturday night, you know she can make a great drink. However, she has seen how people shy away from some of the most amazing cocktails for one reason or another. “I want to take the pretentiousness out of a perfectly classy cocktail. She says she sees the men and women in the neighborhood not trying some of the finer things in life for two reasons. First, they are often VERY expensive. “We all have to pinch our wallets; I understand that more than I wish I did. But, even for those not feeling the pinch I find through conversations with patrons that they just don’t know much about certain drinks so they avoid them. It’s ok to class things up while you’re dressed down. The finer things in life should be enjoyed by everyone.”

Meredith began discussing her ideas with others who felt the same. “I love this community, for what it is and what it can be, Andersonville has been very good to me and now it needs me to give back, this is what I have to give, this is who I am.” Meredith will be presenting a series events featuring different artists, musicians, locations, and chefs in and around Andersonville. She is looking to bring Andersonville’s secret gems to the surface and expose the talented people and amazing products we have amongst us.

Meredith will be hosting her first event tonight, Monday September 26th, from 7- 10 pm at The Haymaker Shop. AND YOU ARE INVITED!!!! She is presenting an opportunity to celebrate all the finer things in life that we have locally. LOCAL YIELD, as it is being called, is a celebration of Chicago-crafted food, drink, art, and music. Meredith has teamed up with Koval Distillery to present to you some of her signature cocktails…at a not so signature price. She will be teaching how she goes about making her artfully styled drinks and selling them for just $5. She will also offer craft Beers from Revolution Brewery.

No true party can be had without a fantastic sampling of great eats. Food will be offered by Rafael Lopez. He has joined with Meredith to supply this event with amazing gourmet Kobe beef entrees. Rafael works for another new company called the Wagyu Wagon. Waygu is the Japanese name for the beef which is where Kobe beef comes from. Kobe beef is of the highest quality worldwide and The Wagyu Wagon has developed an inexpensive way to bring these quality eats to us in an original way. The food truck, the theme of this event. The food truck movement is something fresh and new in this city. Currently city officials won’t allow food truck to serve food on public roadways. They currently have permits to sell their tasty wares at local park districts and often offer in home catering, perfect if you have a small space to entertain. Waygu Wagon can bring the food to you so you don’t lose that precious kitchen space to food prep. Ingenious! Their item cost anywhere from $3 to $8 per item from their truck but can cater the most delicious gourmet meals, too.

Another partner in this event is Meng Yang. Meng is the featured artist for this party and has a number of pieces on display. Meng runs a company, Know Your Flag (, which is a visual tribute to the city of Chicago. Meng’s art and this great event can all be enjoyed at The Hay Maker Shop.

All of this again can be found TONIGHT at The Haymaker Shop – at 5507 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60640. The Hay Maker Shop is owned by Arrin Williams and artfully directed by creative partner Julianna Cuevas who newly opened the doors June 1st. The space carries furniture, home decor, design objects, utilitarian items, art, and various ephemera. Their emphasis is showcasing independent Chicago and Midwest designers, artisans, and artists; also specializes in handcrafted and sustainably-sourced items.

So come on out try a new food, drink, artistic view or even dance move (DJ Chris Kuck will be setting the mood, spinning vintage soul). Meredith is throwing a party that unites the neighborhood, bolsters business, and introduces us to new found pleasures. If we don’t see you tonight then perhaps we will at one of her upcoming events. For invites to all future happenings or to participate she asks you friend her on Facebook or email her at

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About The Athlesbian

Meg was born and raised in Chicago where she became an avid sports fan the moment she laid her eyes on her first ball. She has a knack for picking up any sport quickly as most four sport high school athletes would. Meghan played two sports in college and spent her post college years playing women’s pro football, capturing a national title, before having to quit due to injury. She still plays numerous sports in rec leagues around the city and boasts at a recent team tryout knocked out 51 consecutive push-ups in a minute. Always willing to try something new she just played in her first rugby match. Meghan currently works as a fire-medic and is finishing her Master’s degree from University of Chicago, and no, unfortunately, its not in sports reporting!


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