ANDERSONVILLE — After announcing a temporary closure and “major remodel,” the owners of Jerry’s Sandwiches have announced their new Andersonville restaurant: a Middle Eastern spot called Fiya.
The new restaurant, specializing in modern takes on Eastern Mediterranean cuisine, will replace Jerry’s Sandwiches at 5419 N. Clark St. Jerry’s closed in early March, and Fiya will look to open in April or May, its owners said in a news release.
After starting in a West Loop storefront in 2002, Jerry’s Sandwiches eventually expanded to locations in Wicker Park, Lincoln Square and Andersonville. The original and Wicker Park locations have closed. Now, the Andersonville spot has closed permanently, making Jerry’s a standalone restaurant at 4739 N. Lincoln Ave. in Lincoln Square.
Owners Mindy Friedler and Mark Bires said in a statement that they recognized that “Jerry’s isn’t meant to be a chain and we were not meant to be owners of a chain.”
“It’s not in our hearts or skillset,” the husband-and-wife duo said in the statement. “We want to create and especially nourish things, not copy them.”
Fiya will serve Arab/Israeli cuisine in a space with a wood-burning oven in the center of the dining room and a wood smoker in the kitchen. The wood-burning oven will bake laffa and other breads meant for sharing at the table.
Friedler is of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, and the couple’s daughter is a duel American-Israeli citizen. The couple has grown to love the food served in neighborhood restaurants in Israel and across the Middle East, including Palestine, Morocco, Iraq and Lebanon.
“We love that this food, though steeped in tradition, is a reflection of how many of us want to eat today – naturally veggie forward and healthy, but with enough glimmers of indulgence to be satisfying and exciting,” the restaurant owners said in a statement.
Serving as Fiya’s chef is Liad Rozgovich, an Israeli chef and graduate of the French Pastry School in Chicago.
Fiya will join several Middle Eastern restaurants in Andersonville, including Persian spot Reza’s, 5255 N. Clark St.; Taste of Lebanon, 1509 W. Foster Ave. and Middle East Bakery and Grocery; 1512 W. Foster Ave.
To help accommodate Andersonville customers in the wake of Jerry’s closing, the Lincoln Square Jerry’s has expanded its delivery to serve customers east of Ravenswood.
Early last year, Bires and Friedler opened Geraldine’s Cafe, a coffee shop-style restaurant next to the Lincoln Square Jerry’s location.
The restaurant owners said they want Fiya to have a similar feel to Jerry’s, the spot named after Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia and known for fresh, elevated takes on deli staples.
“We want Fiya to have the spirit of Jerry’s — an affordable neighborhood place where diversity is valued, and where one can come alone or with others and be a regular without breaking the bank,” the couple said.
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