PR maven Julie Darling, owner of lifestyle and luxury marketing firm Julie Darling, Inc., is about to get a taste of the small-screen spotlight. Currently boasting a client list that includes big-names like Nudie Jeans, Piazza Sempione, and Lake Forest Sportscars, Darling will be consulting for AJ’s of Chicago (648 W. Randolph St., 312-454-1133) on the show Chicagolicious, which premiered last night on the Style Network.
Although Darling grew up on the Northwest Side, and spends a ton of time in River North as the co-owner of Argent Restaurant and Raw Bar, she landed in West Town ten years ago. Below, she lets us in on life in her neighborhood.
What do you love most about West Town?
JULIE DARLING: I love that some of the Italian families have been there for three or more generations. While it has experienced some gentrification, it holds on to its roots. I’m steps away from the downtown action, but within minutes I’m home and away from the noise.
How would you describe the style there?
JD: It’s such a mix, from casual to super-fashionable. Graham Kostic [of local beauty blog Glossed & Found] recently moved into the area—he’s one of the most fashionable people I know.
Where are the best places to eat and shop in the neighborhood?
JD: Bari (1120 W. Grand Ave. # 1, 312-666-0730) for Italian subs, and D’Amato’s (1124 W. Grand Ave., 312-733-5456) for freshly baked breads and Italian cookies, just like my grandmother made. To shop, a little place called Estate West Grand (1362 W. Grand Ave., 312-666-9549)—it carries everything from Fendi bags to vintages scarves, and it’s unique and different.
Describe the perfect West Town day.
JD: The rooftop at the Twisted Spoke (501 N. Ogden Ave., 312-666-1500), followed by a day in the park with Lola, my 115-pound Newfoundland. She is playful and goofy; such a release from my everyday life.