By Kristin Boza
Jen Sabella and Ali Jakobson lived all over the city before settling in Beverly/Morgan Park. Sabella grew up in Mt. Greenwood and attended Mother McAuley High School, and Jakobson grew up in western Michigan. The couple met 13 years ago and have called Humboldt Park, West Town, Andersonville, Lincoln Square, and Irving Park home.
“My dad had a gorgeous apartment at 107th and Hale, and I fell in love with Beverly when visiting him,” Sabella said. “Over the years when visiting family, we’d always come to the neighborhood for pizza because it’s hands-down the best in the city. I also had friends from high school who lived in the neighborhood and I always thought it was beautiful.”
Sabella is the co-founder of Block Club Chicago, and co-founder of the popular the digital news service, Stephanie Graves, also lives in the neighborhood.
Jakobson moved to Chicago 14 years ago, after attending the University of Michigan and earning a degree in Fine Arts. She aims to complete a Master’s in Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign this month, and she currently works in product information at McMaster-Carr in Elmhurst.
“I am a lifelong Chicagoan and worked at the Chicago Sun-Times and HuffPost Chicago before joining DNAinfo, and now Block Club,” Sabella said. “Chicago gets a bad rap in the media, especially nationally, and I think trustworthy local reporting is more vital than ever. It makes people feel more connected to where they live, and it empowers people to have a voice in the policies that shape their city. I’m obsessed with this city and its neighborhoods and hope Block Club can be a news site that locals truly trust and connect with.”
The pair loves to attend live music shows, and Jakobson is an avid collector of records partially stemming from her first job at a record store in Saugatuck, Mich.
“We both miss shows immensely and cannot wait to see live music again. Ali also loves horror movies, attempting to fix stuff, and hunting for vintage furniture,” Sabella said. “I love running, traveling, true crime podcasts, and exploring our city’s neighborhoods.”
Their friend and realtor, Rhett Graves, helped them find a great home on 104th Place. “He knew it was our style and we drove by the next day before it was listed. We were immediately in love with the house and the entire block,” Sabella said. “Rhett made sure we were able to get a first look, and we put an offer in immediately. We couldn’t be more in love with the house, the neighborhood, and our glorious yard.”
One of the most surprising things Sabella and Jakobson discovered about Beverly/Morgan Park is how kind everyone is.
“The sense of community is so strong and even throughout quarantine we’ve been able to build relationships with our neighbors,” Sabella said. “People are just friendlier than they were up north. COVID has kept us inside more than we like, but we’re excited to get more involved in the neighborhood. For now, we’re trying to better know our neighbors and figure out how we can be good neighbors to all.”
Most likely, the couple will be found at Original Rainbow Cone, Fox’s Pizza, Beverly Records, Two Mile Coffee Bar, Bookie’s, and Turkey.
“The beer, the BBQ chicken, and the people at Horse Thief Hollow are amazing, and we also love Open Outcry Brewing. We live dangerously close to Calabria Imports, and I’m obsessed with it,” Sabella said. “Nicky’s on Western has been a staple, especially because they carry vegan and vegetarian options for Ali. The delicious juices from Bani’s Beets have saved me from some hangovers, and for that I’m eternally grateful.”
Welcome Jen and Ali!