An Oak Park café is expanding into Chicago, but it isn’t because business is booming.

Lido’s Caffé, 122 N. Marion St., plans to open a second location near North Avenue and Clybourn in Chicago in the next three weeks. That will come in the form of a kiosk at 1530 Dayton in a car dealership that opened in September.

Owner Lido Petrucci, of Berwyn, will be operating the new location without the hindrance of paying monthly rent. He pursued the new venture as a way to make some extra cash to keep the Oak Park location going. He says the Marion Street location has been losing money since it opened in the summer of 2008.

“I don’t want to close this down, but it’s getting really hard to make it here,” Petrucci said.

The Oak Park Lido’s is in what was once a furrier on Marion Street. The building is owned by Shaker Management, which also owns the properties that house Barbara’s Bookstore and Cosi. Lido’s owners invested about $115,000 into the property to turn it into a café, according to village documents.

Petrucci says “Lido’s East” will offer all the same menu items, such as gelato, coffee and sandwiches, as well as new offerings like hot dogs and Italian beefs. They’ve hired four new staffers in order to run the new location.

He hopes the expansion will help Lido’s of Oak Park to survive the bad economy. If things don’t start getting better, he says the owners will have to put the Oak Park location up for sale, as their lease runs until 2013.

“The only way I could protect my investment is try to keep this going, and hopefully the economy will get better and we’ll see things turn around a little bit,” he said.

-Marty Stempniak

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