Maxwell Street Market returning to original University Village location: 'It's full circle'

It's been 30 years since Maxwell Street Market last held on Maxwell Street

Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Maxwell Street Market returning to original location: 'Full circle'
The iconic Maxwell Street Market is returning to its roots.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The iconic Maxwell Street Market is returning to its roots.

It's coming back to its original University Village location when it opens this summer, but that's not the only nod to nostalgia.

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It's been 30 years since the Maxwell Street Market was last held on Maxwell Street.

As University of Illinois Chicago expanded, a new home had to be found for the popular open air market, where, at one point, you could buy and eat anything and everything

It also famously took center stage in the 1980 film "The Blues Brothers," starring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi.

"This is the place where we used to come to pick up our stolen stuff, to rebuy it. Oh, that's my drill: How much do you want for my drill? Give me $5," said Alex Cabrera, owner of Lalo's on Maxwell Street.

Thirty years and two locations later, starting this Sunday, the market is coming home.

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And, of course, there is no Maxwell Street Market without Jim's Original, which, for decades, was at Halsted and Maxwell streets, located in the heart of the market itself, doling out its famous Polish sausages and pork chop sandwiches.

"It kind of takes it back to when my grandfather was around. I mean, I was a kid. But, to actually have the market in front of the store is something that hasn't happened since 1994, and I was still in school back then," said Jim Christopoulos, co-owner of Jim's Original.

The market's return was announced to business owners by the city over a Zoom call just last week. The response has been mostly positive, especially from those who yearn to bring back a little of that old-school flavor.

"I'm going to be selling food in front. I'm going to have live music," Cabrera said.

Unlike the Maxwell Street Market of old, however, the new market will set up shop for six days only, taking place on the last Sunday of each month, starting this week and going through the end of October.

The move is partially because its current location, at Des Plaines and Polk streets, is currently being used as the city's Migrant Landing Zone.

"Now, it's full circle back home is what it is. I kind of wish we were still on Maxwell and Halsted, but at least they're going to put people back in front of the store," Christopoulos said.

About 35 vendors are set to take part in this week's market, which will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. But the city said they're still taking applications.