NORTH CENTER — The building that houses beloved restaurant Chicago Joe’s is up for sale, according to a real estate listing that went live this week.
The property that houses the restaurant at 2250 W. Irving Park Rd. is now being marketed as a “developer’s dream come true” — potentially sealing the fate of a restaurant that has been in the neighborhood for more than 30 years.
Owners are asking $2.4 million for the property, which includes the restaurant, six apartments and a parking lot spread across four city lots, according to the real estate listing posted by Jakubco Development, Inc. The property is owned by a trust, and the owners are “elevated in age” and want to move on to the next chapter, according to Realtor Nicholas Jakubco.
The restaurant will continue to operate until the property sells — there are no plans to close it anytime soon, Jakubco said. What happens after the property sells would be up to the building’s new owners, he said.
“The highest and best use of the property, in my opinion, is for redevelopment. Either into individual condo sales or high-end apartment rentals,” Jakubco said. “But it’s still too early to tell what could go there. And certainly the sellers would be open to a sale of the business, its assets and the restaurant if that was an option for a buyer and the terms could be met. That could certainly also be accomplished.”
Messages left with the manager and owners of Chicago Joe’s Thursday were not immediately returned.
A fixture in North Center since 1988, Chicago Joe’s founders Chuck Kowalski and Al Rompza opened the restaurant to celebrate the idea of a “regular Joe,” incorporating vintage advertisements for the Chicago Daily News, seats from Comiskey Park and boxing gloves into the restaurant’s decor. The restaurant is known for its lineup of burgers.
The menus are designed to look like the front page of an old Chicago Tribune and its menu follows suit — appetizers are listed under the “First Edition,” burgers in the “Burger Art Museum” and “Final Edition” for desserts.
Walking around the the restaurant, customers can see framed photos of Mayor Richard J. Daley, which sits under a deer’s heard next to the bar, as well as framed snapshots of Chicago sports icons like Dennis Rodman back when he was still wearing a Bulls jersey.
The layout of the restaurant has the bar near the entrance on the first floor, and a dining area and party room down a short set of steps around the corner and behind the bar.
It’s not the first time the Chicago Joe’s site has been targeted for redevelopment.
In 2014, D+K Architects and zoning attorney Rolando Acosta submitted a zoning application to build a mixed-use building with commercial space on the first floor, four floors of residential with a green roof. That deal later fell through, Acosta said.
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