Altiro closes, property in foreclosure

Future uncertain for former site of Erik's Deli

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

It's been about a month since the Latin fusion restaurant Altiro — where the once-beloved Erik's Deli was previously located at 107 N. Oak Park Ave. — closed its doors.

But public records show that the building, owned by Erik's owner Ajay Bhatia, went into foreclosure about eight months after Altiro opened in September 2017.

It's unlikely that the closure of Altiro and the foreclosure were connected.

Neither Bhatia nor Altiro executive chef Roberto Avila could immediately be reached for comment.

A mortgage of $1 million was placed on the property in September 2016 but went into foreclosure less than two years later in May 2018. In addition, the condo association placed a lien on the property for $18,366 in August.

For those nostalgic for the days of Erik's Deli, that restaurant also is unlikely to return. Shortly after its closure, Bhatia attempted to reopen Erik's at the site currently occupied by Courageous Bakery and Café, 736 Lake St.

Signs appeared on the door of the restaurant storefront announcing that Erik's was moving to the high-profile location, formerly occupied by Red Hen Bread, at the corner of Lake Street and Oak Park Avenue but Bhatia said in 2017 that the deal fell through.

It is uncertain how long the foreclosure process could take, resulting in a vacant storefront for the foreseeable future.


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Dan Haley from Wednesday Journal Wednesday Journal Employee

Posted: October 9th, 2018 3:08 PM

You really have to go back to the 1980s and 90s to understand what an attraction Erik's was for all sorts of people. Elders and moms with little ones in the morning. Nearby working people for lunch. High school kids after school. And then a giant melding of everyone for dinner. At a time when Oak Park didn't have many places to eat, Erik's was the destination.

Alex Garcia  

Posted: October 9th, 2018 2:47 PM

I really miss Erik's circa 1980s and 90s. The attempt at updating the building and menu merely served to suck the life out of the place.

Kline Maureen  

Posted: October 9th, 2018 8:59 AM

Good memories at Erik's with the kids back in the 80's and 90's - and it was always a coup to snag one of the umbrella tables! Who recalls that it was originally part of Nielsen's Restaurant in Elmwood Park? (now the site of Binny's I believe) We enjoyed going to Erik's right up to the end - and still miss it. With all the new restaurants in town, there isn't anything to fill that niche. Here's a link to an old article about Nielsen's

Jeff Schroeder from Oak Park  

Posted: October 8th, 2018 4:19 PM

That spot, where Erik's once stood, was such a common destination for families back when our children were young. I think the beginning of the end was when they stopped their partnership with Oak Park Youth Baseball. They might have saved a few bucks, but for every free hot dog or hamburger they gave out, there were usually two parents and additional siblings eating. A great source of business ended to save a few bucks.

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