LINCOLN SQUARE — Monti’s Cheesesteaks is closed indefinitely after a fire inside the restaurant Tuesday morning.
About 9:30 a.m., fire crews were called to the building at 4757 N. Talman Ave., said Fire Department spokesman Larry Merritt. It is not clear what started the fire.
No injuries were reported, Merritt said.
The damage to the local favorite is so severe that owner David Weissner said he isn’t sure when he’ll be able to reopen. He didn’t rule out launching a fundraiser to help the business recover, but he said he wants to talk to his insurance company first.
“If there’s a silver lining to this, it’s that we’ve got a lot of inventory that wasn’t damaged. We’re going to donate it to local community organizations,” Weissner said. “Our loss is the community’s gain. But other than that, I’m still processing this.”
The faint smell of burnt wood and rubber lingered in the air as crews boarded up Monti’s windows Tuesday afternoon. Apartments above the restaurant and the neighboring businesses only had minor damage because of the smoke and firefighters busting through doors to check if the flames had spread, Weissner said.
Monti’s has been in the neighborhood since 2012 and is well known for its Philly cheesesteaks, while also offering craft beers from Half Acre and Metropolitan Brewing.
One of the cheesesteaks on Monti’s menu is named after fictional boxer Rocky Balboa, and Weissner joked rebuilding the business would take some inspiration from the “Italian Stallion.”
“We’re gonna be like Rocky. Right now this is just ‘Rocky,’ the first film where he lost,” Weissner said. “But he came back ‘Rocky II’ and he won. We’ll be back, too.”
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.