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By Anna Lothson
The Malnatis now own a slice of Oak Park.
Although there's no set opening date, Lou Malnati's Pizzeria is expected to move into 1038 Lake St. sometime this fall. The location is the former location of Mancini's, which is now located just down the street from the future Lou Malnati's Pizzeria.
The restaurant group finalized the purchase of the Lake Street building at the end of 2012, along with the parking lot behind it, according to Mindy Kaplan, the marketing director for the company. Lou Malnati's is best known for its Chicago-style deep dish and thin crust pizzas. Kaplan said Oak Parkers should expect the same menu as seen at the other locations.
"We don't have any Lou Malnati's Pizzeria in that area. Obviously [Oak Park] is a great area," she said, citing population and density as reasons to bring the pizzeria to town. "We've had a lot of requests from that area."
Kaplan said negotiating a place for parking, pick-up, carry-out and delivery was crucial to picking a location.
The restaurant group has been eyeing Oak Park as a potential location for years, and the 6,500-square-foot space will allow seating for 150. Besides the downtown location, Malnati's has outlets in Western Springs, Downers Grove, Naperville, Elmhurst, Geneva, Bloomingdale and Carol Stream, among others in the greater Chicago area.
Max Williams, executive director of the Downtown Oak Park business association, said he'd heard Lou Malnati's was eyeing the area but learned just last week that the deal was secured.
"We're certainly excited to have them join downtown," he said. "They will add a little more night life to the [area]."
Williams said the group is still working through the village permit process, but interior demolition renovations have begun. The business is expected to go before the Oak Park Plan Commission on Feb. 7.