Uptown in the News
September 13, 2007
The sign shines like a beacon, its orange glow visible from as far away as the corner of Montrose and Broadway. By the time you make it to Lawrence and Broadway, the glow is almost blinding, beckoning you to come into Fat Cat.
That’s obviously by design.
“It’s funny,” says Cy Oldham, co-owner of the new Uptown lounge with Howard Natinsky. “Howard and I would stand on the corner (of Lawrence and Broadway) and just look at the sign. Then we would cross the street or go up the street and just see how the sign looked. We wanted something attractive so people would not only see it, they would want to come in.”
Fat Cat itself is yet another sign that the Uptown neighborhood is on an upswing. Located at 48490 N. Broadway, the corner tavern and grill joins the Annoyance Theater, the Indian restaurant Marigold and the sports bar Crew as the latest addition to what Ald. Mary Ann Smith (48th) is touting as the “uptown Entertainment District.”
It’s a stretch of Broadway anchored by the famous Green Mill jazz club and the Riviera nightclub, which for so long were the only draws of the suddenly up-and-coming area. But in just a few short weeks – Fat Cat opened in late July – the locals have embraced the place as if it had been there for years.
“I find it to be an incredibly unique experience,” says Oldham. “Sure, the neighborhood has been very warm. But people already have been here five or six or seven times in the first few weeks. People are thanking me for being here, and I’m thanking them for just walking through the door.” Oldham isn’t new at this. For 12 year, she has owned and operated Silver Cloud in Bucktown. Her husband, Jason, has owned and operated Raven’s in Lincoln Park for the past 10 years. That’s 22 years, combined, in the business. So when Cy Oldham and Natinsky (co-owner of Five Star Bar and Grill) were considering locations for Fat Cat, they were attracted not only by the concept of setting up shop in a growing neighborhood, but by seamlessly fitting in.
“We wanted to do something that would have the feel that we had been there a long time,” Oldham says. “We wanted to stay with that feeling of neighborhood.”
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