Tag: Bellwood

Bellwood’s 30th Ave. To Be Renamed After Owner of People Cab on Nov. 18

Monday, November 6, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews 

Bellwood Mayor Andre Harvey, along with other village officials, will be on hand to rename 30th Ave. in Bellwood after J.W. Scott, the longtime owner of People Cab, 238 Mannheim Rd. in Bellwood.

Continue reading “Bellwood’s 30th Ave. To Be Renamed After Owner of People Cab on Nov. 18”

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Bellwood Gets $300K Grant to Resurface Washington Blvd.

Thursday, November 2, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: A portion of Washington Blvd. that is scheduled to be repaved sometime next spring thanks to a $300,000 federal grant awarded to Bellwood. | Google Earth

The village of Bellwood recently received a $300,000 grant to resurface a stretch of Washington Blvd., from the viaduct near Addison Creek west to Eastern Blvd., according to Bellwood Mayor Andre Harvey.

Continue reading “Bellwood Gets $300K Grant to Resurface Washington Blvd.”

One Dead, Another Wounded in Aug. 28 Bellwood Shooting

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews

One man was killed and another man was wounded during a shooting on the 400 block of 24th Ave. in Bellwood, according to a WGN 9 report.

The two men were sitting on their porch at around 9 p.m. on Aug. 28 when a group of people walked up to them and started shooting, police said.

Continue reading “One Dead, Another Wounded in Aug. 28 Bellwood Shooting”

‘Let This Boy Make It’: A Bellwood Shooting Victim’s Story Goes National

Monday, August 21, 2017 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews

Feature photo: A screenshot of the Washington Post profile of new Bellwood resident Latee Smith, from the paper’s website. | Washington Post 

Last year, on March 21, 2016, 15-year-old Latee Smith was shot on the West Side of Chicago. He’d barely survived. But as soon as he got out of surgery, his mind kept racing around one theme: killing the person who nearly killed him.

Continue reading “‘Let This Boy Make It’: A Bellwood Shooting Victim’s Story Goes National”

Taste of Bellwood Deemed A Success By Vendors as Mayor Anticipates Next Year

Sunday, August 6, 2017 || By Shanel Romain || @maywoodnews || UPDATED: 8/10/17

Sergio Minniti, of Westchester, and his business partner, Bobby Anzaldi, of Melrose Park, were nothing but smiles on Sunday as the first-ever Taste of Bellwood wrapped up.

Bellwood Mayor Andre Harvey said the two-day event, which started on Aug. 5 and happened along Washington Blvd. (between Eastern and 25th Avenues), was perhaps the biggest event of its kind in nearly two decades, attracting a crowd he estimated may have been around 5,000 strong over two days.

Continue reading “Taste of Bellwood Deemed A Success By Vendors as Mayor Anticipates Next Year”

25th Avenue Overpass Named After Former Bellwood Mayor Frank Pasquale

Frank Pasquale Overpass_1

Left to right: State Sen. Kimberly Lightford, Bellwood Mayor Andre Harvey, Pasquale, state Rep. Kathleen Willis, state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch and Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico during the June 16 ceremony naming the 25th Avenue overpass after Pasquale. | Photos by Tara Gray/Feel This Moment Photography via state Rep. Welch/Facebook

Frank Pasquale Overpass_2Friday, June 16, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews

During a ceremony on Friday morning, local and state elected officials converged on the 25th Avenue overpass that spans Bellwood and Melrose Park in order to give the structure, which was opened late last year, an official name: Mayor Frank A. Pasquale Overpass.

State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th) introduced a House resolution that made the bridge naming possible.

“I have known Mayor Pasquale for many years, and am proud to have worked alongside him to make Bellwood a better place for everyone,” said Welch in a recent statement. “As mayor for 16 years, Frank gave so much to Bellwood, and this small token of gratitude will solidify a legacy of community service for many more years to come.”

Lower left photo: Pasquale shares a light moment with Hillside Mayor Joseph T. Tamburino and Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson. | Tara Gray  

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

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Montego Bay Brings the Warmth of the Caribbean Islands to Bellwood

Kertis Willie_Montego Bay storyFriday, June 16, 2017 || By MARSHELLE SANDERS || @maywoodnews 

When he was younger, Kertis “Luchie” Willie (his middle name is pronounced loo-chee), never really imagined that he would own a restaurant one day.

A native of the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, Willie (pictured) migrated to the United States in 2004 to pursue a career as a biomedical technician.

Nowadays, Willie owns Montego Bay Restaurant & Grill, located at 700 Bellwood Ave. in Bellwood. When Willie took over the restaurant in 2011, he didn’t expect that he would be responsible for a business that had fallen on hard times.

“The place was literally shut down but that’s not what the previous owner told me,” Willie said during a recent interview inside of the colorful establishment, which is festooned with the flags of various island nations.

“I ended up having to buy him out and that’s how I ended up with the place,” he said. “I kept the name because it had been here for over five years before I bought it and it had an established clientele.”

Along with the restaurant’s distressed condition, Willie also had to contend with the many young people who would sometimes crowd within proximity of his store.

“When I started the place, I wanted to transform it and embrace the youth and at-risk teenagers,” he said. “Sometimes when you ignore them it makes the situation worse. I try to be a father figure to them. I talk to them. They’re easy to talk to. People think they’re bad but they’re not bad.”

By embracing the young people, Willie gained strong bonds and lifetime relationships with them. Recently, he said, a former Bellwood resident stopped by the restaurant to let Willie know that she graduated from Illinois State University and that she is looking to complete her master’s degree at DePaul University next semester.

Montego Bay

“A lot of young people who have graduated from college come back to say hello,” he said. “They were kids coming in to buy fries and would get off the school bus. The police didn’t want them hanging around and fighting. I used to make them come inside and hang out for a little bit and then I would send them straight home.”

Over the years, Willie said, Montego Bay has become a community hub, attracting people of diverse personal backgrounds and cultures. At the center of everything, of course, is the food — jerk wings, jerk catfish, oxtail, grilled red snapper, curry goat and jerk ribs cooked in an authentic Caribbean style that is both unique and inviting.

“We have people from Belize, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Trinidad, you know, so we bring those food cultures together,” Willie said, adding that the restaurant will soon start serving jerk salads.

“Some countries prepare their food differently but they have a taste from each island blended in one plate,” Willie said. “It’s a taste of the Caribbean and it’s authentic. We come in the morning and prepare the food fresh every day. We want to make our customers happy with their food. We want to prepare it the way they’re used to eating it.”

To create a lively and welcoming atmosphere for his customers, Willie hosts a Domino Hang Out night on Friday and Saturday nights. The wholesomeness works to crowd out any negative elements that may ward off business. It also helps that the Bellwood police are fans of the restaurant.

“Bellwood police officers come in on the regular,” Willie said. “They’re the best thing you can find around a business because if someone is up to something, that person will think twice before they do anything. It’s not bad when you see the police. It’s a good thing. We make everybody feel safe and comfortable.”

Willie said he has a few words of advice for anyone who wants to open a restaurant of his or her own: Do your homework.

“You have to do your research on where you want to open the restaurant,” he said. “Make sure all of your legal stuff is together. It will cost you a little money but it will save you in the end.”

Montego Bay Restaurant & Grill is open Monday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information about prices and the menu, call (708) 547-4625.

Michael Romain contributed to this report. 

Know a local business that deserves to be spotlighted? Tell us about it at: thevillagefreepress@gmail.com. 

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