Strip club wins neighborhood cleanliness award


Nohemi Rosales

The Admiral Theatre, 3940 W. Lawrence Ave., won the “Block Star Business Award,” which highlights businesses that encourage positivity, tidiness and cleanliness around the Albany Park neighborhood.

By Metro Editor

The Admiral Theatre, surprised residents of Albany Park by winning an award for cleanliness when the business is commonly viewed as quite the opposite on the inside.

The strip club, located at 3940 W. Lawrence Ave., received one of six “Block Star Business” awards from the Albany Park Neighbors, a community group of Albany Park residents on Jan. 12. The Block Star Business program helps residents to recognize local businesses that benefit the community, according to its website. Winners are given a certificate to display in their window and a mention on the Facebook page.

Commenters on the Albany Park Neighbor’s group’s Facebook page had mixed reactions to the theatre receiving the award.

Despite the strip club’s win, some of the commenters contented the award will “attract the wrong crowd into the neighborhood.” Other Internet commenters applauded Albany Park Neighbors and the Admiral Theatre.

Albany Park Neighbors declined to comment on The Block Star Business program’s choice.

Other businesses that won the award include Golden Crust Pizza, 4620 N. Kedzie Ave., Lawrence Eye Care, 3711 W. Lawrence Ave., Mayan Sol Latin Grill, 3830 W. Lawrence Ave., and Andy’s Fruit Ranch, 4733 N. Kedzie Ave.

Admiral Theatre Brand Manager Michael Spalding said running an adult business typically carries with it a negative association.

“We help the community stay clean,” Spalding said. “The owners here have always contributed to the neighborhood and have contributed to other businesses in the neighborhood.”

Spalding said he was honored to win the award and that it has influenced the business’ peers to recognize its status as a legitimate proprietor. The Admiral Theatre’s message is that it wants to be considered a respectful business despite sometimes being disregarded by community members, he said.

“We are proud to know that we are recognized and that people appreciate the hard effort on our part to keep the establishment looking respectable,” Spalding said.

Lawrence Masser, a 29-year-old Albany Park resident, said he does not think the business winning the award is a bad thing.

Restaurant Noon O Kabab, 4661 N. Kedzie Ave., won the award in 2013. Manager Marie Farhat said whether residents like it or not, what the business does inside has nothing to do with the award.

“They won the award because they deserve it,” Farhat said. “If you drive on Lawrence Avenue from Kedzie Avenue all the way to Pulaski, you see all of these storefronts that are unkempt, you see gum on the sidewalk, you see that these buildings are discolored and that they don’t take care of the windows and the awnings are not washed … Other businesses really should try to do the same.”

Farhat said she thinks the reason so many residents feel offended is because they may not understand the meaning of the award.

“The award is structured just for businesses that keep the storefront and their business clean,” Farhat said. “If you are driving on Kedzie Avenue and you pass the building, you would never know that it is a strip club.”