LoganSquarist wouldn’t be possible without the hard-working efforts of our dedicated staff. Hailing from all across the country, with a number of interests and professional aspirations, our team has one thing in common: a passion for Logan Square. Discover the people behind the scenes that bring you articles, events and more in our LoganSquarist Staff Highlight column.
What’s your role with LoganSquarist?
I am a staff writer.
What have you been working on recently?
A story about gentrification in the neighborhood with voices from new and old residents.
Where are you from originally?
When did you join?
I joined LoganSquarist last summer, around late July.
Do you write professionally?
Yeah. Currently, I am a Content Specialist at Groupon. There, we write all the copy for deal pages, as well as merchant profiles and assemble deal pages. We also handle live edits to the website and announcements to customers. But even before that, I’ve done marketing for nonprofits, and plenty of writing gigs on the sides for music websites, communications offices, and school newspapers.
What made you interested in volunteering for LoganSquarist?
Besides wanting to continue writing for pleasure (there’s only so many profiles I can write on Greek restaurants and beauty salons), I still really wanted to immerse myself in the area. I’ve only lived in Chicago for about a year and a half, so I really wanted to get to know my surroundings and learn more about the city. While I live in Wicker Park, I spend a lot of time in Logan Square, so being able to see everything that goes on in the neighborhood and how it’s changing has been enlightening.
What is your favorite LoganSquarist story you worked on?
If I had to pick one, I’d say the profile I did on the brewmaster at Bixi Beer. Eymard Freire is probably one of the most interesting people I’ve met in my time here. Spending time at the bar hearing him talk about his philosophy behind brewing, his passion for video games, and sampling all of the superb beer was such a fun experience.
What is your favorite restaurant or hang out in Logan Square?
BiXi is definitely up there for me if I had to pick, but I’m also a big fan of the wings at Landbirds. If I could bring a growler of Bixi’s Shifties to Landbirds I’d be a happy camper.
What’s your favorite thing to do in the neighborhood?
If I’m being honest, it’s bar hopping and stopping at all the local eateries.
What has been the best part about joining the team?
Working for LoganSquarist has really given me a new perspective on Logan Square. I’ve always spent time in the neighborhood, but as a newcomer, it’s been really rewarding to immerse myself so quickly in an area and see what’s going on: both the good and the bad. A lot is going on here right now, and being able to observe and write about it has truly been special.
What have you learned from working with LSQ?
Coming from a small town in Kentucky, I didn’t really know how much a rapidly growing neighborhood can affect a people. Most towns/cities experience in my state experience gentrification on a minor scale, if at all, so seeing everything that comes with that has been a learning experience for me. On the flip side, seeing the community unite to express interest in affordable housing, or to fight off pricey developments, has also been enlightening.
I used to do marketing for a Main Street Program (basically designed to keep small businesses/downtowns thriving), and anytime I attended a town hall meeting, typically the biggest debate would be over what font a historic sign should be or endless arguments over whether they should allow a mural in the city, so to see the community come together to discuss serious issues is something that uniquely stands out during my time with LSQ.
Read more of John’s pieces here and ask him about his Arches National Park road trip next time you bump into him!