IRVING PARK — A new restaurant focused on burgers and gyros is set to open in Irving Park’s former Bread & Wine space next week.
B-Side is taking over the spot at 3732 W. Irving Park Rd. with a concept that’s very different from its predecessor.
“It’s not going to be just burgers but gyros, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs and salads, too,” said B-Side’s owner Ted Theo. “I also want to throw in an ice cream parlor down the line for the neighborhood kids.”
Bread & Wine focused on fine wines, Midwest-sourced entrees and charcuterie — something you would typically find in River North, not Irving Park. Its owner told the Tribune it became too difficult to keep the restaurant afloat in “an area that has very little foot traffic and no tourists at all.”
Theo said a renovation of the space was nearly complete as of Tuesday afternoon. Inside, diners will find a vintage juke box, and guitars on the wall alongside 45 rpm singles and mid-century posters for The Monkees and The Rolling Stones.
“It’s a great location with great walking traffic from Independence Park,” Theo said. “The location is key for this and, honestly, it’s something I’ve been wanting to open in the neighborhood for a long time.”
The inaugural menu will have fewer than 25 items and include burgers of the month and other dishes that compliment the bright Americana decor. For those who liked the wine element of the former restaurant, you’ll have to head to a nearby bar: Theo has no current plans to seek out a liquor license.
“The concept is low-key street food that’s a little more upscale,” Theo said.
B-Side will host a soft opening on Thursday and a grand opening in March, the owner said.
Another thing Theo also aims to add a second patio in the front of the business once the weather gets warmer again.
Theo is currently looking to hire staff like busboys and line cooks and said the initial hours for B-Side will likely be 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. throughout the week.
“But I’m looking at traffic over the weekends and may decide to keep it open a little later,” he said. “Once the ice cream parlor is open in March, I may keep it open later, like midnight or 2 a.m.”
Before Lisa Fosler Kelly and Jennifer Wisniewski opened Bread & Wine in 2012, it was a laundromat. As soon as the space was available, Theo said he called about opening up B-Side there.
Theo grew up in Irving Park, working with his family at the Original Alps Pancake House, 3637 W. Irving Park Rd. and still helps out on the weekends. In high school, he worked for Dick Portillo and became an assistant manager at Portillo’s Restaurants while he was in college.
“I’ve always loved fast food. I’ve invested a lot of money in this body eating fast food,” Theo said, laughing. “So I’ve always liked the American fast food concept.”
He plans on selling his home in the suburbs and moving back to Irving Park now that his youngest son is about to finish high school.
“I want to come back to the neighborhood so I can be more hands-on with the business,” Theo said. “I love this neighborhood, it’s always been so eclectic and with such great families. I tell my dad how fortunate he is to have Alps here. There’s no other neighborhood I would move back to.”
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