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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park

Kiddie Academy To Open Where Lincoln Square Lanes And Matty K’s Hardware Stood Before 2015 Fire

The childcare business will take the place of the bowling alley and hardware store that closed after a 2015 fire ravaged the building.

A rendering of what the Kiddie Academy at 4874 N. Lincoln Ave. will look like.
Image courtesy Jarmel Kizel Architects and Engineers, Inc.
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LINCOLN SQUARE — The site of the former Lincoln Square Lanes and Matty K’s Hardware, which burned down in a devastating 2015 fire, will soon be the location of a new childcare center.

Lindsay Anthony, a spokesperson for Kiddie Academy, said the new center at 4874 N. Lincoln Ave. is expected to begin enrollment in late 2018.

After the fire, the building that housed the bowling alley and hardware store was torn down. The announcement about the new academy location was made on Ald. Pat O’Connor’s (40th) website.

“Most of the building will be dedicated to Early Childhood Development. There is also a smaller area dedicated to retail space that hasn’t been identified yet,” the announcement said.

The update also features a rendering of what the new Kiddie Academy location will look like from New Jersey-based Jarmel Kizel Architects and Engineers, Inc.

Kiddie Academy has offered education-based child care since 1981 and primarily serves children between 6 weeks and 12 years using a “proprietary Life Essentials curriculum,” according to its promotional materials. There are currently 202 Kiddie Academy franchises across 26 states and the District of Columbia. The company expects to open 40 more locations by the end of 2018.

Anthony said amenities at the Lincoln Square location will include a dedicated infant and toddler program for the entire first floor, a large gym, a multipurpose room, a “state of the art” playground and convenient parking for parents to pick up and drop off their children.

Additionally, children enrolled at the academy will also benefit from fresh meals made in the building’s new kitchen, Zono machines that sanitize toys and other items and a BEAM by EyeClick interactive video game system.  

The 2015 fire destroyed the historic Lincoln Square Lanes, which first opened in 1918, and badly damaged Matty K’s Hardware. Both were popular neighborhood businesses, and their loss hit the area hard.

“I spent 90 hour weeks here. It was like my second home, it was my baby, my life,” said Ryan Drehobl, the son of its owner and the bowling alley’s general manager, at the time. “I’m just numb. I’m at a loss for words.”

Richard “Dick” Drehobl, Ryan’s father, had purchased the bowling alley at 4874 N. Lincoln Ave. in 1985. The Drehobl family had just completed a series of renovations that had brought new life to their business about three years before the fire ravaged the building.

After the fire, Matty K’s Hardware pledged to rebuild. But since 2015 no activity or updates have been posted to their Facebook or Go Fund Me pages. As of Thursday the Go Fund Me page, which launched in September of 2015, had raised $14,853 of its $50,000 goal. The store’s owners couldn’t be reached for comment.

The building that housed Lincoln Square Lanes and Matty K’s Hardware burned in 2015. [Patty Wetli/DNAinfo Chicago]