Almost 15 years after an Italian eatery burned down in Berwyn, an Oak Parker is resurrecting it at the site of another recently shuttered restaurant.
FitzGerald's nightclub, 6615 W. Roosevelt Rd., announced last week that it's bringing Capri Ristorante in to replace Wishbone, about six months after the southern-style diner closed. Club owner Bill FitzGerald said they've agreed on a five-year lease, and hope to open by Christmas.
This will be the sixth location for Capri, which also has sites in Burr Ridge and Downers Grove, according to owner and Oak Park resident Gigi Rovito. Capri started in the early 1980s when Gigi's father, Philip — a baker for 30 years at Turano on Roosevelt Road — opened the first location in Berwyn on the 3100 block of South Oak Park Avenue.
But the original location burned down in the late 1990s, and the family set up shop in other locations over the years, all owned by different siblings in the family.
Rovito said says this feels like returning to their restaurant roots. They plan to serve some of the dishes from their early days — such as eggplant parmesan, chicken vesuvio and clam linguine.
"I was always in Oak Park and Berwyn growing up, and when I moved back out there, it gave me a vibe; it brings back the old school," said Rovito, who grew up in Cicero and moved to Oak Park about five years ago.
The new eatery won't require a complete renovation. Rather, the family is giving it more of an "Italian touch-up" ahead of the opening. They expect to seat about 75 and will operate seven days a week, serving both lunch and dinner.
Wishbone, which also has locations in West Lakeview and the West Loop, closed in May as its five-year lease was ending. At the time, the owner told Wednesday Journal that business had been sporadic, and never-ending construction on Roosevelt took its toll. Before that, the FitzGerald family operated Roosevelt Grill on the site.
Bill FitzGerald, who also lives in Oak Park, said he's relieved to have found a replacement for Wishbone so soon after their closing.
"To have it empty in this climate was pretty scary," he said. "It's very important for us to have it rented, and it seems like this space might work out perfectly for the Capri folks."
David King, the commercial leasing agent who brokered the deal, has eaten at Capri before, and thinks the restaurant will fit right in on Roosevelt.
"They're the real deal, no question. They've got great food and they understand the neighborhood, which is key. They'll be very successful there," he said.