Long Division

Once an open roost for gangs, Division Street has achieved near total turnaround with a retail strip that shows little sign of slowing down.

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Josh Rutherford was a pioneer on Division Street, opening Smoke Daddy, the barbecue hot spot he co-owns, in 1994, a time when the Latin Kings openly ruled the street. “It is a 100 percent turnaround from the gang violence that used to happen in broad daylight on the street to now moms with strollers and people walking dogs and this friendly neighborhood environment,” he says. Today, the stretch from Leavitt to Hermitage is lined with a mix of restaurants, specialty stores, and high-end clothing boutiques, packed together for easy window shopping. Parking can be a bear; so consider taking the Blue Line to the Division stop, just four blocks away from the action.


Photography: Chris Lake