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THE WOODLAWN PROVIDES UNIQUE OPPORTUNITIES FOR SOUTH SIDERS TO GET CREATIVE

9/12/2018, noon | Updated on 9/12/2018, noon
Woodlawn owner Donnell Digby created The Woodlawn in Avalon Park, to be whatever the community needs “After moving back, I ...
The Woodlawn, located at 1200 E. 79th St. in Avalon Park, is a unique facility that incorporates elements of an event space, pop-up shop, commercial kitchen, and podcast studio all under one roof. The owner, Donnell Digby (left) has created the space to be whatever the community needs and has made it available for public use. Photo Credit: Provided by The Woodlawn

THE WOODLAWN PROVIDES UNIQUE OPPORTUNITIES FOR SOUTH SIDERS TO GET CREATIVE

BY KATHERINE NEWMAN

The Woodlawn, located on 1200 E. 79th St. in Avalon Park, is a unique facility that incorporates elements of an event space, pop-up shop, commercial kitchen, and podcast studio all under one roof. The owner, Donnell Digby has created the space to be whatever the community needs and has made it available for public use.

Originally from the south side of Chicago, Digby was living in South Loop with his young son prior to opening The Woodlawn. He decided that he wanted to buy a house and have a yard for his child so he moved back to the south side. Quickly after returning, he realized there was a need that wasn’t being met in the community and took action.

“After moving back, I started to realize there are a lot of big gaps in our community for resources and outlets and activities for young adults and kids to do and that’s where The Woodlawn kind of came into creation for me,” said Digby.

The Woodlawn was created to be a little bit of everything. Digby is launching a variety of classes, there is a turn-key commercial kitchen with seating for up to 100 people, there is space for events and camps, there is a garden on the roof, he just completed a fully functional podcast studio with space for five people, and there is an opportunity for creating a pop-up shop in the space.

“My vision is to have a space where community participants can come in and look at a different variety of things being offered. Everything will be casual crowd-sourced educational classes, like yoga or knitting. I’m also looking at bringing an archery program and I have a boxing program coming in. We want to do chess, art therapy and litany of other different classes,” said Digby.

One of the biggest things that Digby is excited about is the opportunity to have a pop-up dinner in The Woodlawn’s restaurant space. Being able to bring in new dining options and a wider variety of cuisine is something that will make a big difference in the neighborhood, according to Digby.

“Being in this community, you kind of get exasperated with the same foods every day. We know what those foods are in our community. I wanted to build a space where entrepreneurs, chefs, caterers, and restaurateurs can come in and rent my full turn-key restaurant as their own and serve the public. This gives us a double advantage by giving people who typically wouldn’t have the opportunity to open a restaurant a chance to have the experience of doing it, it could be for a week or it could be for 30 days, and it also gives the community a variety of things to eat,” said Digby.

To build up this facility, even more, Digby said he is open to new opportunities to provide even more classes and experiences to the community. To learn more about The Woodlawn visit www.thewoodlawn1200.com.