Pan-Asian restaurants coming to Oak Park

'Seasons' hopes to open in July in former Lido's Caffe space

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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

An upscale Asian eatery plans to open in downtown Oak Park this summer, taking the place of a recently shuttered coffee shop.

Oak Parker Tanapat Vannopas has signed a long-term lease to take over the former home of Lido's Caffe, 122 N. Marion St., which closed in January. Dubbed as "Seasons," the restaurant will offer fine Asian dining with a mixture of dishes from Japan and his native Thailand.

Vannopas, 44, has lived in Oak Park for 11 years, and owns another restaurant in Chicago's Little Italy called Tatsu Sushi Bar. The menu for his new venture is still in the works, but it will offer seven-course meals, which will change every four months or so to match the seasons. The owner plans to seek a liquor license, too.

Before it opens in July, Vannopas is completely redesigning the space. In a press release last week, property owner Anthony Shaker touted the restaurateur's "outstanding credit rating," and said that he believes the new eatery will offer food that is "clearly different from that offered by Sushi House," which is located around the corner at 1107 Lake St.

At the same time, Sushi House owners Bob and Diana Johnson are arranging to open another Pan-Asian restaurant right next door, at 1113 Lake. They'll offer "fast casual" fare from China, Thailand, Japan and Vietnam starting early this summer.

Bob Johnson said he isn't worried about over saturating downtown Oak Park with Asian food. "Hutong" will be a different animal than its Pan-Asian neighbor, as it will offer dishes for $10 or less, ordered from a counter rather than a waiter.

"I think there's some room for everybody," Johnson said.

Hutong is taking the place of Los Cazadores Mexican Restaurant, which closed in January 2009. Oak Park-based Aria Group Architects is now designing the new space, and Johnson hopes to submit building plans to the village in about a month.

CONTACT: mstempniak@wjinc.com

File/2008

Sushi House owners Bob and Diana Johnson are planning on opening another restaurant next door.

Reader Comments

13 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

Patricia from Oak Park  

Posted: February 15th, 2011 3:53 PM

The issue isn't about another new restaurant - although frankly I think we have more than enough in downtown Oak Park. It's another Asian restaurant - this new venture brings us to 5 in one square block. We need more RETAIL. How long do Oak Park consumers have to keep stressing this? Not another restaurant. Not another nail salon. Not another spa or hair salon. Not another "service." We are saturated with services. Retail.

Pan Pizza Eater  

Posted: February 15th, 2011 11:26 AM

It's amusing, if not amazing, how the simple announcement of a new restaurant could trigger such a barrage of over-heated commentary. Don't we have anything more important to argue about?!

stevev363 from oak park  

Posted: February 15th, 2011 8:11 AM

this pan asian craze needs to stop! pan asian really means "we do it all and it all sucks"! I'm glad that the lido's fiasco and their overpriced with crass service offerings have left but I'm not looking forward to more buisnesses that offer nothing more than a filled space.

Samir from River Forest  

Posted: February 13th, 2011 6:39 PM

David, I agree, I have no idea why this woman is boycotting black restaurants, it is absurd.

Rico Stasi  

Posted: February 13th, 2011 4:59 PM

David, you are like a child that wanders in to a conversation. The 1200 block of Grove is my residence, and my neighbors and I are boycotting this restaraunt. Also, I didn't want to bring this up but you've been treating a lot of people with a lot of disprespect: please refrain from referring to asians as "pan-faces."

David from OakPark.com/Dining/Blogs  

Posted: February 13th, 2011 10:35 AM

Rico Stasi, You don't like Thai food, so you're boycotting a block of restaurants? I can't imagine what the reasoning is behind that. It makes no sense to me. I'd love to hear your reasoning. "Pan-Asian" means, basically, "Across Asia," meaning food from countries like China, Japan and, yes, Thailand. Similar constructions: Pan-American, Pan-Africanism, etc. Again, I can't imagine how this could be construed as racist by any stretch of the linguistic imagination.

Rico Stasi   

Posted: February 12th, 2011 3:22 PM

I don't like Thai food. In fact, I am leading a boycott of this place and the entire 1200 block of north grove avenue is behind me. Also: I don't believe "pan" is the preferred nomenclature (in fact, it is widely considered racist), it is "asian-america."

S.D. Plisken  

Posted: February 10th, 2011 7:54 PM

thanks, MJS, for the info. I look forward to both new restaurants.

Marty J. Stempniak from Wednesday Journal  

Posted: February 10th, 2011 5:47 PM

Mr. Plisken, this is different from the place on Harrison. Paul Gong is opening a Chinese restaurant at 201 Harrison called "Yuan" sometime this spring. Loved you in "Escape from New York."

Lorraine Owles from Oak Park, IL  

Posted: February 10th, 2011 5:35 PM

But isn't Sushi House scheduled to open a Pan- Asian restaurant next to the new Mancini's? Sounds like the ice cream/frozen yogurt fiasco of recent Downtown OP history.

S.D. Plisken from here, there everywhere  

Posted: February 10th, 2011 5:27 PM

commercial leases are typically 5 to 7 years. Why do you ask? Marty, is this a different Pan Asian restaurant from the one that was reported to be opening on Harrison and Lombard? if so instead of tree town usa we will be sushi town, not that i am complaining.

Marty J. Stempniak from Wednesday Journal  

Posted: February 10th, 2011 4:55 PM

No, it doesn't, sorry. I could circle back and ask that for the print story, but typically landlords don't disclose that information.

OPer  

Posted: February 10th, 2011 4:52 PM

Does the press release give any details about what "long term" means?

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