LAKEVIEW — Chicago-based Bravo Restaurants has closed its Gino’s East pizzeria in Lakeview and opened a hybrid restaurant selling New York-style bagels during the morning and Italian food at night.
The Gino’s East, 2801 N. Lincoln Ave., “wasn’t doing very well” during the pandemic, said Jordan Himmel, chief information officer of Bravo Restaurants, the parent company of Gino’s East, Ed Debevic’s and several other spots across the city.
But business at Eduardo’s Enoteca, the group’s from-scratch Italian wine bar at 1212 N. Dearborn St. in the Gold Coast, was keeping steady, Himmel said.
At the same time, Bravo Restaurants recently partnered with Gotham Bagels from Madison, Wisconsin, to use pizza dough equipment from Eduardo’s to make and sell bagels from its kitchen. The venture was a hit with customers.
“People were so excited and loved our bagels so much that we were like, ‘Let’s keep moving,'” Himmel said.
So Bravo Restaurants closed Gino’s East, quickly renovated the building and quietly reopened it in mid-December as a hybrid between Gotham Bagels and the Eduardo’s Enoteca restaurant, expanding the bagel business’ footprint in Chicago.
“We did some remodeling to make it look more like a traditional … delicatessen and put in all the necessary bagel-making tools,” Himmel said. “And we did it pretty quickly. It was exciting.”
People can order bagels 8 a.m.-2 p.m. The operation transitions to Eduardo’s 2-9 p.m., Himmel said.
Customers entering the bagel shop and restaurant will find on display a giant, decades-old Hobart dough mixer that runs all day. Himmel said it’s used for making various items from scratch, ranging from Gotham’s bagels to Eduardo Enoteca’s pasta and pizza.
“It’s the backbone of our operation,” Himmel said.
The restaurant also installed railings near the front doors where people can stand and eat their bagels in the morning, Himmel said.
“It’s a very New York thing, and I’m so happy because it was one of those afterthoughts, but multiple people stand there and eat every day,” Himmel said. “People have been loving the changes.”
The location also has a large patio space that Himmel said will likely open this spring when outdoor dining ramps up again.
“The whole place has a nice, warm and comforting feeling, which is what people are looking for today,” Himmel said. “We’re really thankful to be working and have this opportunity to provide that.”
Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.
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