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Five Questions With Irma Frolich

By Mike Fourcher | Friday, October 29, 2010

Editor’s Note: We want to get to know our neighbors, so we picked five questions to ask each of them. Feel free to ask them your own questions in the comments. Or submit your own responses on our submissions page.

Irma Frolich grew up in Lincoln Square and has owned Hüettenbar, 4721 N. Lincoln Ave., since 1985 and now lives in her childhood house. She is the fifth owner of the bar, which was originally built in the 1950s as a liquor store with a bar in back. Irma was excited to show us the results of her newest creative outlet, painting.

Irma Frolich is the proprietor of the Hüettenbar. Photo by Mike Fourcher.

1. What’s your favorite spot in the neighborhood?

I go to Café Selmarie a lot. I go to Brau Haus…Right now it’s Art In The Square! Because that’s where I go to paint. That’s a real destination for me.

2. What’s the goofiest thing you’ve seen in the neighborhood?

Some of the things that happen in the Square here surprise me. They’ll have like eight entertainers – the other day there was some act out there, clowns I believe? People that aren’t even hired. They’ll just play for money. Like a busker.

3. If there’s one thing you could change about the area, what would you change?

The parking meters! Everybody says that, right? It’s become our latest downfall, I think.

4. What’s different about the neighborhood since you were a kid?

What’s different is that I used to be one of the youngest and now I’m one of the oldest! And that’s really huge because there really are a lot of young couples with small children running around. So I’m on the other side of it now. I’ve seen a lot of changes.

Recently Frolich's taken up painting. Here's one of her first depictions of a busy night at the bar. (click to enlarge) Photo by Mike Fourcher.

It does seem like the number of strollers in the neighborhood has exploded in the past couple of years.

It’s a whole different scene. When I bought this bar, I was 33 and I was the youngest one in here. Now I’m the oldest one in here. I’m 58.  Once in a while we’ll get an old-timer in here and I’ll be like, “Oh good! I’m not the oldest one any more.”

Do you and Rick Romanow (owner of the bar Ricochet’s) have an alliance, the two bar owners who’ve been here since the 80′s?

Well, the Hansa Clipper’s been here for a long time. But [Rick] is getting food now, so it’ll be just me and the Hansa Clipper as the only old Chicago Bar licenses left. But [Rick] is younger than I am. He’s just a kid!

5. Oktoberfest or Ribfest?

Oh, Oktoberfest, of course. Because I’m in the heart of Germantown and I sell Oktoberfest beer.

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