Get to Know Your Ward: 36th Ward


NBC Chicago and Ward Room bring you profiles on all 50 wards this election season. As candidates face off in the Feb. 24 election, they are also facing a new ward map, which takes effect when the winners assume office.

In this profile, learn all about the 36th ward, which covers parts of Montclare, Portage Park, Belmont Cragin and Hermosa.


  • Total Population: 54,766
  • White: 26.28 percent
  • Black: 3.55 percent
  • Hispanic: 66.64 percent
  • Asian: 2.92 percent (Source: WBEZ)

Current Alderman: Nicholas Sposato

Ward Committeemen: Nicholas Sposato (democratic committeeman) and Peter Podgorski (republican committeeman)

Who Else is Running: Omar Aquino, Joaquin Vazquez (removed), Gilbert Villegas, Christopher Vittorio and Alonso Zaragoza. Sposato is not running for re-election in the 36th ward, but he is running for alderman in the 38th ward due to the remap.

Adjectives that Describe the Ward: Residential, diverse, tightly knit, quiet and family-oriented

Economic Engine: Shopping and local businesses, including the Brickyard Mall

Where People Eat: Restaurants include Trattoria Porretta Ristorante and Pizzeria, Bob-O-Rino's Subs, Village Tavern, Cafe Prague, Frank's Pizzeria, Jasmine Rice, Las Islas Marias, La Flor de Acapulco, Mama Luna's Restaurant and Pizzeria, Lindo Poncitlan and Starlite Cafe.

Where People Drink: Bars include B G's Lounge, Middleton Geneva and Stanley's Bar.

Where People Pray: Churches and places of worship include Watson Park Church, Christ Universal Mission Church, Islamic Community Center of Illinois, St. Gregory's the Illuminator Armenian Church, Iglesia Ni Cristo Church, Celebration Christian Church, St. John Bosco Catholic Church, Iglesia Misionera Bautista and Mont Clare United Church of Christ.

How the Ward Typically Votes: William Banks was the alderman of the 36th ward from 1983 until 2009. In 2007, Banks won 76 percent of the vote, defeating Sposato. In 2011, Sposato won 56 percent of the vote, defeating John Rice in a runoff.

Landmark: Brickyard Mall

Resident's Voice: Matthew Krempski, general manager of Cafe Prague, said he would like to see the city invest more of the tourism money in the neighborhoods where people live. He said many trees had been cut down and needed to be replanted, and there weren't enough parks in his neighborhood. "The average Chicagoan doesn't want to go downtown to the park every day with their kids," Krempski said. "They need to start thinking of the city as Chicago and not just downtown."

Ward Expert: Philip Schwartz, president of the Portage Park Neighborhood Association

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