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Business Comings & Goings: Bookworm Café Nears First Anniversary at Library

A look at new businesses coming into town and a fond farewell to those that have, for whatever reason, called it quits.

Chef Andy Vaitkus said the hardest part of opening the Bookworm Café in the Oak Lawn Public Library was having to work in such a small space.

“It’s only 550 square feet,” he said. “So, we do a lot of cooking with countertop ovens and convection ovens.”

That restraint hasn’t kept Vaitkus and his partners from making a go of the café, which will celebrate its first anniversary next month.

Vaitkus, who has 12 years of restaurant experience, said business has been great in their first year.

“We’re doing a lot of business,” he said. “But we still get a lot of new customers.”

Book Worm Café has a pretty extensive menu for such a small space. “Everything we make is from scratch,” he said.

The menu, so far, has included deli sandwiches, paninis, mini-pizzas, soups, pastries and brownies, though that’s about to change.

“In another week or so, we’re changing the menu to begin offering healthy choice items, vegetarian dishes, wraps and falafel,” he said.

The business is also expanding.

“We just signed a contract to open a Book Worm Café at the New Lenox Public Library,” Vaitkus said. “It will be opening June 1 and my wife will be running it.”

Vaitkus, his wife Nancy Jensen and sister Lisa Abu-Samra and her husband Mohammed Abu-Samra are partners.

Vaitkus and his sister grew up in Oak Lawn and his sister and her family still live in the village.

The café is located on the library’s first floor near the Raymond Avenue entrance. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1-4 p.m.

The café offers free wireless Internet access.

For information on daily specials, call 708-357-9676.

Marquette Bank Offers Community Seminars

is offering two free finance-related seminars for community residents.

The bank and the law offices of Stephen M. Sutera are partnering to offer a free life care and estate planning seminar at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 3.

Sutera will answer questions regarding wills, trusts, estate planning and senior life care planning at the seminar entitled, Effective Senior Life Care & Estate Planning Strategies – Understanding Your Options in Today’s Complex World.

Light refreshments will be provided during the event. Anyone interested in attending should register by calling 708-460-5166 as seating will be limited.

The bank also will host a free hour-long mortgage seminar at 6:30 p.m. tonight at its Evergreen Park Marquette branch at 9858 S. Western Ave. The seminar will cover various aspects of getting a mortgage, including how to apply and qualify for a loan and the various steps in the mortgage loan process. To register, call 708-423-4526.

CUB to Pay Lucky Someone’s April Electric Bill

The Citizens Utility Board announced on Earth Day that one out of every 10 families who sign up for the consumer group’s free online energy bill-cutting service, CUBenergysaver.com, will have their electric bills paid in the month of April, up to $150.

CUBenergysaver.com was launched in June 2010 as a partnership between CUB and New York City-based Efficiency 2.0. Since then, the tool has helped consumers trim their gas and electric bills by an average of $130 a year by recommending hundreds of personalized energy-saving actions.

Efficiency 2.0 has offered to cover the April electric bill, up to $150, for one out of every 10 consumers who join CUB Energy Saver before June 1. Join at .

“Protecting the planet starts at your doorstep,” CUB Executive Director David Kolata said in a release. “CUB Energy Saver proves that there are hundreds of ways to cut costs and reduce energy waste. It’s simple, it’s free, and it’s what Earth Month is all about.”

CUB Energy Saver links to a household's Commonwealth Edison account to track actual reductions in energy waste. It then rewards those reductions with points — two for every kilowatt-hour saved — that can be redeemed for shopping and restaurant discounts. The tool works for all residential electric consumers, including those who have signed up for alternative electric suppliers.

Heart Association Says Advocate Christ 'Golden'

care of patients with heart failure is proving simply “golden” by American Heart Association standards.

The AHA declared Christ Medical Center and its Heart and Vascular Institute the recipient of a Get With The Guidelines – Heart Failure Gold Quality Achievement Award, after the medical center demonstrated it had achieved an aggressive goal of treating heart-failure patients with 85 percent compliance to core standard levels of care for a period of at least 24 months. 

“Christ Medical Center is dedicated to making care for our heart failure patients among the best in the country,” Dr. Marc Silver, a heart failure expert and chair of the department of medicine at Christ Medical Center, said in a release. 

Body Central Opens at Westfield Chicago Ridge

Body Central, an apparel store that caters to young women, opened recently at Westfield Chicago Ridge Mall.

Store hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Visit Body Central for more information or call 708-422-0395.  

If you see a new business in town or wonder what happened to an old favorite, drop me a line at bob@chicago-patch.com.

You can also catch up on Comings & Goings in other parts of the Southland at www.southlandbusinessnews.blogspot.com.

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