Papaspiros reopens, trio of other eateries still working at it

Papaspiros Greek Taverna-a mainstay at 733 Lake St. for almost 10 years-has scheduled a grand reopening this Friday. The restaurant has been closed since late last year for extensive renovations to its interior.

Papaspiros basement has been expanded to hold parties of up to 100, owner Spiro Papageorge said. The lighting and interior décor have also changed. The lower level will reopen in two to three weeks.

The owner moved to get rid of the traditional blue and white, creating a more “Mediterranean” look to the eatery. He describes it as more upscale and family oriented.

The menu has also shifted. It still includes traditional Greek items, but now also has more vegetarian and organic selections.

They’ve also added a new Greek chef to the staff, and are holding a contest to win tickets to Greece to celebrate their 10-year anniversary next month.

“I’m looking forward to everyone coming and celebrating with us and enjoying a nice meal,” Papageorge said.

Cheese Market shoots for May

The Marion Street Cheese Market hopes to open in its massive new space by mid-May, owner Eric Larson said Monday.

The store was originally shooting for Valentine’s Day but was delayed by the “enormity” of the work. It will move into a 4,200-square-foot corner space at Marion Street and South Boulevard, six times the size of its current location at 101 N. Marion.

Workers are installing kitchen appliances. Then the cheese market will start moving in its merchandise. Larson expects the village board to vote on a new liquor license for the market within the next few weeks.

Larson is looking to open a specialty butcher shop in the old space. Lion’s meat won’t be sold, but the shop would offer organic, local, sustainably farmed meats. The meat market would take the same unique approach as the Marion Street Cheese Market, Larson added.

The idea isn’t finalized, and won’t be until they settle into their new spot, he added.

Harrison eatery coming along

Briejo restaurant-a small eatery slated for 211 Harrison St.-is also shooting for a spring opening.

Owner Brigette Lytle said the “eclectic” American-style spot hopes to open by mid-May. It will seat between 50 and 60 people. As of now, it will not have a sit down bar because the restaurant could not seat the 75 required customers for that type of liquor license.

Lytle is waiting for a fingerprint check and an OK from the Liquor Control Review Board to obtain a restaurant liquor license.

Briejo will serve upscale American dishes, like porcupine shrimp, lamb chops, and quality steaks.

“It’s sort of like black tie meets blue jeans,” she said. “It’s very reasonably priced, but it is good food.”

The restaurant may have outdoor seating, after its opening and could later add a sit-down bar, depending on what happens with changes to Oak Park’s liquor ordinance coming in May.

Café on similar timeline

Lido’s Café, an Italian restaurant, is on a similar schedule. Owners believed the spot would open by mid-March at 122 N. Marion St. However, converting the former furrier location to a café has proved more difficult than anticipated.

“It’s just an old building (about 100 years), so we’re having some major work done,” said co-owner Louise Mihalik of Berwyn.

Some structural work is being done related to the building’s heating and cooling systems. Then, the owners will start on the cosmetic design of Lido’s. Realistically, they expect to open the café by early June.

They’re waiting on approval of a $35,000 interior rehab grant from the village to spruce up the space. Also, Lido’s just recently ordered a gelato-making machine from Italy.

“Everything is moving along,” Mihalik said. “It’s just we had a little setback, but it’s not discouraging us one bit.”


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