Oak Park restaurant owner starting a BBQ diner in Forest Park

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By Jean Lotus

Forest Park Review Editor

Mere months after opening a bar and restaurant in Oak Park, a village restaurateur is adding another eatery to her repertoire.

Rachel Dennis, a former vice president for Bar Louie Group in Chicago and owner of Oak Park's Lake Street Kitchen + Bar, recently closed on a foreclosed restaurant space at 410 Circle Ave. in Forest Park. It's hosted a revolving door of unsuccessful restaurants over the years, most recently the Shuckin' Grill, an oyster-themed restaurant.

The outside facade of the space will be considerably changed: with windows installed and the disappearance of the building's "mural wall," according to plans submitted to the village of Forest Park.

The space was formerly owned by beleaguered developer and restaurateur Robert Marani. He ran through a number of ventures at the site, including La Bella Bisteca in 2008 and La Piazza from 2003 to 2008. Marani put the Circle Avenue space on the market for $750,000 in May 2010, but Dennis reportedly bought it out of foreclosure for less than $200,000.

Chef Jason Kurosaki, formerly of Avec, will split his time between the Oak Park and Forest Park venues, leaving sous chefs in charge when he's absent. The menu will expand on the Lake Street Kitchen offerings, which Dennis describes as "broad-reaching for the global palate."

Lake Street features such items as grape flatbread (with rosemary, bleu cheese and green grapes) or a $19.50 caramelized steak. The Forest Park restaurant will have a smoker, and barbecue and home-made breads will take a prominent place on the menu.

She's still brainstorming on a name and is open to suggestions. As for a timetable, Dennis says there's a long way to go.

"It's a mess in there," she said. "There's a lot of trash to throw out and a lot of demolition work to be done. Late summer is the earliest I could picture opening up."

Reader Comments

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Posted: July 17th, 2012 9:54 PM

How about Circle Q?? Hope you add a few vegetarian options!

OP Resident from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 7th, 2012 9:34 PM

The chef is from Avec so I'll go in with fairly high expectations and an open mind. From the comment about expanding on the Lake Street Kitchen offerings I'm questioning whether we'd expect a single regional focus but a pedigreed chef armed with a quality smoker onsite will earn at least a couple of tries from me. The recent trend in the city is high priced, high quality Q. I'd take some of that here! Contact Gary Wivot if you need a consultant...


Posted: April 7th, 2012 5:50 PM

@OP Res, i agree: I have had the other place you mention, once and that was enough to never go there again. I did not mean to exclude any other Q styles, just wanted to know what style, while listing some, the new joint was going to be.

OP Resident from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 6th, 2012 2:36 PM

@Q-Snob - Doesn't matter. Any of those options would be a huge improvement over the other option for BBQ on Madison (yeah, the one that reheats their food before serving). And there's more than your 3 listed kinds of Q in this world that are worth checking out.

RE: Q-Snob  

Posted: April 5th, 2012 8:59 AM

Q-Snob, get over yourself


Posted: April 4th, 2012 7:33 PM

Quick question: What kind of Q are we talking? North Carolina, Memphis K.C.? why do I ask? because it matters, and if you don't know which is best...then you don't know Q.

Be Careful  

Posted: April 4th, 2012 6:13 PM

Another great location with tons and tons of parking.

Ann from Oak Park  

Posted: April 4th, 2012 12:23 PM

I would call it "O~P~Q." eventho it's actually F~P~Q just because it sounds awesome. Eventually people would just call it 'Q'.

Julie from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 4th, 2012 12:19 PM

I'm looking forward to it! I just tried the Lake Street Bar Grill for the first time and it was *really* good.


Posted: April 4th, 2012 11:28 AM

yo finally, hope they have the same menu selection as deko's for those late nights!


Posted: April 4th, 2012 11:15 AM

should be called MadBBQ, I'm just happy there will be a place to go other than Subway after I'm done drinking PBR and Jameson at Healy's.


Posted: April 4th, 2012 11:07 AM

Dont bite off more than you can chew chew

anne from Oak Park  

Posted: April 4th, 2012 8:57 AM

It's about time someone opens a BBQ joint on Madison.

Bill McClung from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 4th, 2012 5:40 AM

A good name would be MySteak...

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