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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park

Sabatino’s Packed After News Of Pending Closure Spreads: ‘We Knew We Would Get Crazy, But Not This Crazy’

Sabatino's is still taking reservations (with some exclusions) as it prepares to close on Dec. 23.

Sabatino's closed in December.
Jen Sabella / Block Club Chicago
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IRVING PARK — The phones have been ringing off the hook at Sabatino’s since its owners announced they would be retiring and closing the restaurant later this year.

The beloved Italian spot never had trouble packing the place, but since last week’s announcement, business at 4441 W. Irving Park Road is busier than usual.

“We have three phone lines and they have been lit up from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.,” said Enzo Pagni, one of the restaurant’s co-owners. “We got over 100 calls about reservations over four hours just yesterday.”

For the past 41 years Enzo Pagni and his brother Angelo have owned and managed the fine-dining Italian restaurant. Citing age and a desire to retire, the brothers recently sold the restaurant, 68-year-old Angelo Pagni told Block Club.

Last week, the brothers called a staff meeting and told them the restaurant was sold and would close after Dec. 23. Angelo Pagni said they felt it was important to give their 50-person staff plenty of notice.

Immediately after a Thursday Facebook post confirmed the closure, a rush of calls for reservations began. As news spread, more calls came in and the place was slammed all weekend.

RELATED: Sabatino’s, A Northwest Side Staple For 40 Years, To Close In December

A call to the restaurant on Monday afternoon was greeted with an automated message that says, in part, that Sabatino’s is only taking reservations for the months of September and October and for parties of eight people or less.

The message also says the restaurant is not booking any private parties at this time and anyone who wants to make reservations for November and December should call the restaurant back after Oct. 1.

“Over the weekend we’ve had so many people call and we still have a lot reservations for September and October already,” Enzo Pagni said. He also praised his staff with stepping up to the rush of customers over the last three days once news the restaurant had been sold went viral.

“We’ve been so busy over the weekend it was like three Mother’s Days in a row. We knew we would get crazy, but not this crazy,” he said. “People have come in and we’ve been very appreciative. So we’re not booking anything for November or December right now because those dates are so far off and we’re so busy.”

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