by Robert M. Keding
contributor to the Underground
Upon entering the Revival Food Hall, visitors feel the cold and snowy outside world fade away. Long aisles filled with people spread as far as the eye can see, encompassed by a warm glow of laughter and conversation. The Food Hall is filled with over a dozen different stations run by some of Chicagoland’s best restaurants, serving up their most popular dishes in all tastes and styles. The Food Hall is packed even on their slowest days, but things are especially hopping today. And that is because Curbside Splendor’s pop-up Book Fort Fair is currently underway.
Curbside Splendor is a Chicago-based independent book press, based out of Humboldt Park. In 2014 they were named the “Best Chicago Indie Publisher” by CHICAGO magazine. Curbside is the home of such fantastic work as Steve Himmer’s Scratch and Toni Nealie’s The Miles Between Me. Recently, they opened a book and record store in the Revival Food Hall, where they sell their work, the work of other independent presses, and hold events such as novella contests, literary readings, and book fairs like this one, to engage the public with Chicago’s ever-growing and prospering literary scene.
The Book Fort Fair, at first glance, seems to be their biggest event yet. Many tables line the already-crowded aisles towards the hall’s center, their surfaces packed with an unimaginable array of overlooked and underappreciated novels from Midwest authors. Representatives from Curbside stand beside their tables, speaking enthusiastically about the work, making connections and recommendations with the Hall’s visitors. The air is electric, as diners not only share the food on their plates, but also stories.
As the weather gets colder, and the days grow shorter, consider visiting the Revival Food Hall, located at 125 S. Clark Street in downtown Chicago’s Loop. Grab some friends, grab some food, and stop by Curbside Splendor’s shop to grab a good book to top the day off.
The shop is open from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM on weekdays. They are closed on weekends, except during special events such as the book fairs. Visit their website for more information.