NOBLE SQUARE — For neighbors, the opening of Lawn inside the old La Pasadita taco joint means a new patio option during the coronavirus pandemic.
For owner and Ukrainian immigrant Roman Trach, it means much more.
Trach opened Lawn, a BYOB burger and Philly cheesesteak restaurant, last month at 1141 N. Ashland Ave. It’s the eighth restaurant he’s owned, with the others in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Opening the restaurant has been Trach’s dream for three years — since “the first second I stepped onto American soil,” he said.
“I wanted to create a special spot where you don’t feel like you’re in the city,” he said, speaking in Ukrainian. “Where it’s safe for your family, your dogs. Where you do not worry about anything, enjoy your time.”
For nearly 35 years, the building served as home to La Pasadita, a taco hut that closed in 2013. It’s been home to many other restaurants over the years, as well.
Trach said Lawn will be unique with its spacious and lush backyard patio, filled floor-to-ceiling with real plants and picnic tables topped with real grass.
Lawn is also full of neighborhood history. In the far back, a “photo wall” is comprised of Illinois license plates that came from a closed car lot next door.
On the patio, a handful of wooden tables were handmade by Trach using wood that was once inside neighboring Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St.
The majority of the work that went into the restaurant was done by Trach, who worked in carpentry after emigrating to the United States three years ago. He also worked as a truck driver before landing a job as a manager at Tryzub, 2201 W. Chicago Ave., in Ukrainian Village.
Though the coronavirus pandemic affected many family-owned restaurants in a negative way, Trach said it gave him time to focus on working on the building, adding cables and updating the electrical system and roof.
“It’s an opportunity rather than a struggle,” Tracy said.
The Lawn team is starting small with three employees: Trach, manager Yurii Nikodemowicz and chef Alex Rodriguez. Nikodemowicz, who is also a Ukrainian immigrant, said he’s glad Trach opened Lawn in the Wicker Park area.
“The neighbors who have come in here, they’re super happy,” Nikodemowicz said. “We’re preserving history. It’s a fun patio. Everyone’s wishing us good.”
Lawn’s motto is, “Food America loves.” Trach said the menu reflects his favorite foods, too. If neighbors have ideas for how to make the menu better, Trach said he wants to hear them.
“It’s impossible to get it right without feedback.” he said. “We want to hear what guests say. … We care about the people who come in to eat here. The neighbors are important to us.”
Customers can place a carryout order by calling 773-904-8608 or can order delivery via Grubhub. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
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