Back in business: The Depot American Diner reopened in May after being shut down in March.Photos by FRANK PINC/Contributor

The iconic 1940s-motif diner in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, just outside Oak Park’s border, has made a name for itself in its six-year history.

Once featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, the diner, located at 5840 W. Roosevelt Road, serves up a menu that’s got a select variety of food that focuses on quality over quantity. The diner officially reopened in May following a month-long closure caused by a few snafus.

Owners Annamarie Fillmore-Nava and her husband, Robert Nava, the chef, are ready to put the past behind and return to running their homey, popular diner. Reopening has made Fillmore-Nava appreciate the space and has raised hopes for its future in the neighborhood. “It felt fabulous,” she said about reopening the doors. “A lot of people were waiting.”

She said concerns and rumors swirled that The Depot was closing after signs were posted on the windows, but loyal customers stuck around. The Oak Park couple was forced to shut their doors in March after the city shut down The Depot for a handful of health violation issues. Fillmore-Nava noted many of the issues were out of the owners’ control since they merely rent the space and couldn’t control some of the issues. What’s important now, she said, is that everything is fixed and they’re open. “We’re just doing the build-up again that we had here,” Fillmore-Nava said. “I think what attracts people is the simplicity of the place, as well as the warmth. … At The Depot, people feel it’s a part of their own living room or kitchen.”

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