For Women’s History Month, OTMRA is featuring some of the women-owned businesses that have made Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood a thriving and diverse business district. We hope that everyone supports these businesses throughout the year — not just in March!

3 Generations of Women at Kamehachi Sushi Restaurant


Kamehachi – Chicago’s oldest sushi restaurant – has been run by three generations of women, starting with Marion Konishi who opened the restaurant in 1967 with her cousin at its first location in Old Town. Marion settled in Chicago after World War II and made daily trips to O’Hare Airport to pick up fish that had been flown in. She was later honored for her remarkable impact on the community in 2008 with a street dedication of “Marion Konishi Way” at the corner of Schiller & Wells. Now, her daughter and grand-daughter are still running the restaurant – and carrying on Marion’s tradition. READ MORE.


Barbara Glunz-Donovan of Old Town’s House of Glunz


Barbara Glunz-Donovan, a member of the third generation of House of Glunz, grew up on the second floor of the historical House of Glunz building at 1206 N. Wells.  According to Chicago Architecture Center, the House of Glunz has been family-operated for 135 years, making it the oldest business in Old Town and oldest wine and spirits store in the US.


In 2012, her son and partner, Christopher spearheaded the reopening of the neighboring Glunz Tavern, closed since Prohibition. Historic decor and artifacts, many of which are over 100 years old, were re-discovered when the tavern was restored and reopened. The Tasting Room is a treasure trove of hand-carved furniture and drinkware from the neighborhood’s German past. It serves as a  time machine that immerses you into the journey of Barbara’s grandfather Louis Glunz Sr. from Westphalia, Germany to post-great fire Chicago. READ MORE.


Female-Owned Jeni’s Ice Cream Has Been Serving Scoops in Old Town Since 2017


Jeni’s Ice Cream is a successful nationwide woman-owned business that has been in Old Town since 2017.  Jeni Britton started making ice cream in 1996, as a 22-year-old art and art history student .


Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams officially opened in November 2002 in Columbus, Ohio. For years, Jeni worked the counter, tweaking her recipes, and scooping for long lines of customers. Today, Jeni’s has more than 65 stores nationwide and a strong presence in grocery stores across the country. READ MORE.


Purely Self-Made Kali Benz of Pure Barre Old Town


Kali Benz opened her second Pure Barre studio in Old Town in February 2023. The female-owned fitness franchise offers barre-based workouts across the country and each studio is independently owned and operated. Kali says the studio aims to create a supportive and inclusive community-focused atmosphere where members can feel motivated and encouraged to reach their fitness goals.  It’s all about friendship, support and a feel-good atmosphere. It’s a perfect place for anyone to meet new people and to make new friends. READ MORE.



Renata Block, Dermatology Physician Assistant, Provides Care for Both the Inside and Outside of the Body


Renata Block established Ocean Rx in 2020 and produces a Blue Spirulina prebiotic daily supplement developed in collaboration with a physician. This ultra-pure spirulina reduces inflammation, is an anti-wrinkle agent, provides beneficial gut bacteria that can improve skin health, has potential as an oral sun and UV protection enhancing agent, and boosts the immune system. Renata pivoted to an on-line business model for her new business as the COVID-19 pandemic emerged. She shares her knowledge on her blog, Savvy Derm Diva, and has ideas for local in-person lectures  and educational events. READ MORE.