Curbside Splendor Publishing, a Chicago publisher of literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry founded in 2009, is opening a bookstore. Curbside Books & Records, in the South Loop neighborhood, is going to be housed inside a 24,000-square-foot food hall called Revival Food Hall inside The National building.
The bookstore, which is set to open in July and will be 500 to 1,000-square feet, will feature titles published by Curbside Splendor, as well as those of other independent literary presses, and regional titles. Records produced by independent labels will also be available at the store.
“It won’t be a traditional bookstore,” Curbside Splendor publisher Victor David Giron said, comparing it to the bookstore Milkweed Editions is building inside the Open Book literary arts complex in Minneapolis. "The idea is that it’s going to fit into a larger communal space; it’s going to be part of this community center.”
Revival Food Hall, where Curbside Books will be situated, is planned as a showcase for local chefs from 15 Chicago restaurants, and features casual food stations, with communal seating. The space will also include a café that will transition to a wine bar in the evenings. The bookstore will be housed inside that café.
Cafe staff will also service the bookstore, and Curbside Splendor personnel will cycle through the store, discussing titles with café staff and assisting with the bookstore’s operations. Giron anticipates that Curbside Books & Records will schedule “a lot of programming,” and hopes to exploit its proximity to several nearby MFA programs at such schools as the School of the Chicago Art Institute, Columbia College, and Roosevelt University.
“This is a central location near the schools and near Michigan Avenue, where we can celebrate small indie presses and labels,” Giron said. “We want people to discover new publishers and new labels."
Update: An earlier version of this story misidentified Revival Food Hall, which is inside The National, and has been corrected.