“Please note that I am a one-man operation so I am not always able to get back to people as quickly as I would like.” This is the apologetic ending to the voice mail greeting of Cherry Bomb’s sole artist and operator, Patrick Cornolo, who has had to deal with a lot of big changes this year. Located on the second floor of a building that also houses art studios and galleries, this “one-man operation” was founded in 1999 by Kim Saigh, of L.A. Ink fame. The two shared the space until May of this year, when Saigh handed the reins over to Cornolo so she could focus on her work in Los Angeles. While Cornolo explains that he and Saigh knew each other “from around” (their most direct link was through Deluxe Tattoo’s Ben Wahhh), it wasn’t until Saigh began working on Cornolo’s right arm that the two really formed a friendship. When Saigh opened her own studio, Cornolo approached her about teaming up. “I was like, ‘Hey. You have an extra room…’” he explains of his partnership pitch to Saigh. The rest is history. “Kim and I wanted a place where we could work on custom and large pieces without being interrupted by walk-ins,” Cornolo explains about the appointment-only policy at the establishment. The off-the-beaten-path locale was also a conscious choice. “People really need to know where they are going,” Cornolo says. This ensures that the clients who walk into the shop are there because they really want a tattoo from him. “I think that’s pretty cool,” says a humble-sounding Cornolo.
Eat: Francesca’s Forno, 1576 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-770-0184. Don’t let the fact that this is a franchise scare you away; the unpretentious Italian restaurant has taken the idea of “small plates” to the next level. With its charming decor and informal setting, it’s the perfect place to celebrate your new ink.
DRINK: Pontiac Cafe, 1531 N. Damen Ave., 773-252 7767. Bask in the sun on the outdoor patio of this artsy pub that’s housed in an old auto shop. While they don’t serve any draft beer (just bottles), the decor (think tables made out of old tail pipes) and the scene are so engaging, you’ll hardly even notice.
SPEND: Quimby’s Book Store, 1854 W. North Ave., 773-342-0910. Carrying everything from art books and contemporary fiction to vintage erotica and “hip lit,” you’re sure to find your personal reading pleasure at this bookshop.