Giant burritos soon will be replacing breaded pork at 3422 Harlem Ave. in Riverside, the former longtime home of Riverside Restaurant.

El Faro  – owned by the same family that has operated a restaurant by that same name on Archer Road in Summit for nearly four decades – is slated to open its doors at the Riverside location later this summer.

“The neighborhood is awesome,” said Martha Zavala, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Pablo. “Just walking around here, the people are very nice.”

Like its namesake in Summit, the restaurant will be Riverside’s “house of giant burritos.”

The Zavalas purchased the property from the Stanga family, which operated the Bohemian-inspired Riverside Restaurant for 37 years, on April 29 for $245,000, according to Cook County property records.

Pablo Zavala called buying the property “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” made more attractive by its busy Harlem Avenue location and its proximity to the family’s Summit restaurant.

“The place is real nice and solid and close by,” Pablo said. “We wanted something we could manage.”

Workers are busy replacing the flooring at the Riverside location; the Zavalas have not yet set an opening date for the restaurant.

One difference between the two El Faro locations is that the Riverside restaurant will close at 11 p.m.; the Summit location is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Sonya Abt, the village of Riverside’s community development director, said the business license application submitted by the Zavalas indicated the Harlem Avenue restaurant would close at 11 p.m.

The Zavalas also have not applied for a liquor license at this time. The Summit location does not serve alcohol.

Middle Eastern cuisine on Harlem Ave.

Meanwhile, a new Middle Eastern restaurant has opened its doors at 3216 Harlem Ave. in Riverside, just north of Herrick Road.

Nada serves up authentic, halal dishes from the Middle East, including keema, a minced beef dish; chicken, lamb, fish or shrimp machboos, served with rice and vegetables; and lamb bamia, a stew served with rice. 

Also on the menu are soup, hummus, mloukieh and lamb’s head. Drinks include tea, yogurt and regular soft drinks. Prices for dishes range from about $5 to $17.

The restaurant is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. 

Eatery eyeing Wing Wah space

Wing Wah, Riverside’s venerable Chinese take-out place at 3222 Harlem Ave., may have closed its doors in April after a decades-long run, but another restaurant could be headed soon to the location at the corner of Harlem and Herrick.

Abt said last week that the business has been sold and that she’s had discussions with someone who would like to open a restaurant called Taco Burger Express at the location.

The new owner plans to remodel the storefront, said Abt, but has not yet submitted building permits.

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