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Life Around the Lake

As Hanover schools experience unprecedented growth, the number of new businesses in the area grows as well.  Does this have an impact on our students?  Sometimes it not only has an impact, but presents amazing possibilities as well.  Such is the case of Nick’s Tavern and a number of Hanover Central High School students.

“It was really a move of opportunity,” said Nick’s Tavern co-owner, Gail Murawski, who with co-owner J.D. Williamson chose to open their second location at 13231 Wicker Avenue in Cedar Lake.  “Opportunity, yes, but we quickly knew we wanted to become a thread in the fabric of Cedar Lake,” explained Murawski. 

a green restaurant building

Nick's Tavern

The original, award winning Nick’s Tavern is in Lemont, IL.  Murawski and Williamson opened the Wicker Avenue location on March 13th, but their connection to Cedar Lake began long before opening day.  Early in February Ms. Murawski contacted Hanover Central High School Assistant Principal, Lori Bathurst about hosting a photo contest for students.  “Initially, we thought we might open it up to several school districts, but Mrs. Bathurst’s enthusiasm and willingness to partner with us was so impressive.  She convinced me there was more than enough talent in Hanover to get what we wanted and needed right here.”

students holding up photographs

Students with their originally submitted photographs.  From (l to r):  Nick's Tavern co-owners, J.D. Williamson, Gail Murawski, John Salata, Lily Bachar, Thea Puente, Julia Maloney and Hanover Central High School Assistant Principal, Lori Bathurst

What Murawski and Williamson wanted were photographs depicting “Life Around the Lake.”  Students were asked to use their best creative eye to capture life in and around town, name their photographs and write a very brief paragraph describing the photo, location and how it depicted Cedar Lake.  The photographs were then submitted and winners chosen.  After making their final selection Murawski and Williamson had the four winning photographs enlarged and transferred to canvas to display in the family dining section of their new restaurant. 

“All of the submissions were really, really great,” said Murawski, “and some really, really fit in with the direction we were going.”  Junior, Lily Bachar was awarded a $50 cash prize and a gift certificate to Nick’s for her painting entitled “Lake View.”  Paintings by Freshmen John Salata and Thea Puente were chosen for 2nd and 3rd place prizes respectively and they received gift certificates as well.  An Honorable Mention was awarded to Sophomore, Julia Moloney who will also be able to use a gift certificate to Nick’s and see her photograph on display.

man, woman and teenager with painting

Lily Bachar holds her first place picture, "Lake View" as it will be displayed in the family dining section of Nick's Tavern.

man and woman with teenager holding picture

John Salata holds his second place picture, "Wintry Fun" as it will be displayed in the family dining section of Nick's Tavern.

man and woman with teenager holding a picture

Thea Puente holds her third place picture, "Home Sweet Home" as it will be displayed in the family dining section of Nick's Tavern.

man and woman and teenager holding a picture

Julia Moloney holds her Honorable Mention picture, "Amber Skies" as it will be displayed in the family dining section of Nick's Tavern.

The paintings are now a part of the décor of Nick’s Tavern and they have indeed become a thread in the fabric of our community