WEST LOOP — After closing its doors in May to make way for a fast-casual Indian restaurant, Ella’s Corner has returned to its former home in the West Loop.
Darshan Desai, who became a partial owner of Ella’s in 2017, has now relaunched the neighborhood spot at 1258 W. Jackson Blvd. The new iteration opened Monday and remains true to Ella’s original menu and restaurant, Desai said.
“We didn’t want mess up a good thing,” Desai said. “You get good comfortable, consistent food at a reasonable price point.”
The reopened Ella’s Corner offers a truncated version of its previous menu, which includes a fried chicken sandwich, ($8.75), grilled chicken sandwich ($7.50), beef burger ($7), chicken pita sandwich ($7.50), Chicago-style hot dog ($3.50), among other offerings.
When Ella’s Corner opened in 2007, the restaurant at the corner of Jackson and Throop became a staple for Chicago Police Academy cadets, Whitney Young Magnet Academy High School and Skinner West students. After 10 years, the popular eatery closed to make way for Tikkawala.
Not long after becoming a partial owner in Ella’s Corner, Desai teamed up with chefs Hiran Patel and Sahil Singh to open the fast casual Indian eatery restaurant in Ella’s place.
Despite offering unique Indian cuisine at the location, Desai said the restaurant saw an immediate drop off in their lunch crowd of police cadets and Whitney Young students.
Between the loss in clientele, coupled with the high cost operating Tikkawala, Desai and his partners made a tough call and shut down the restaurant roughly four months later and reverted the concept back to Ella’s Corner.
Desai’s decision to resurrect Ella’s was largely influenced by loyal customers, he said.
“People came here a lot, we had multiple repeat customers that would come several times a week,” Desai said. “It’s hard to pass up …We want to get that following back and build on it.”
The remodeled space offers more seating than the previous layout at Ella’s Corner. Customers will soon be greeted by a mural paying homage to the history of Ella’s Corner, Whitney Young, the police academy and the West Loop designed in partnership with Whitney Young senior student Naiya Wax-Groot, Desai said.
When the restaurant finds its footing, Desai is hoping to add dinner service, which will include classic American staples as well as weekend brunch.
Desai also aims to rent out the space for private dinners and host special events in the space including a tentative Tikkawala pop-up dinner.
Ella’s Corner is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.