A Suburban Post Office’s Rock Star Renaissance

Madame Zuzu's

The old Ravinia Post Office in Highland Park has found new life as a tea shop.

It’s called Madame Zuzu’s (582 Roger Williams Avenue), and is owned by musician Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins.  Word is that he opened the shop because he lives nearby and there’s nothing to do in the neighborhood.  We have to agree with that assessment.

We stopped by one afternoon, and after sampling some excellent tea and cakes, set off for a real lunch.  None could be found.  The Italian restaurant?  Closed.  The pizza joint?  Closed.  The bar and grill next door?  Closed.  Every other business in the area?  Nail salons, dry cleaners, and shuttered insurance offices.

It’s crazy that the only place to eat at 2:00pm on a Saturday is a lone Chinese restaurant.  No wonder Billy is bored.

The theme of the tea shop is supposed to be 1930’s Paris, and the decor is quite nice.  Lots of high contrast red, white, and black.  Not sure about the Elvis albums playing on the iPod, though.  But check out the bathrooms.

The clientele appears to be mostly locals from the neighborhood — the elderly, the child-bearing, and the merely bored, looking for a place to relax and read.

For that reason, Ravinia is a perfect place for this enterprise.  If it had been located in The Loop it would be mobbed by crowds of tourists.  Where it is, it is a gift to the community.  An oasis of civilized activity in the sticks.  Visit.  But only once, so you don’t ruin the peace for the locals.


Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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