LOGAN SQUARE — After years of cooking at high-profile restaurants in Chicago and other cities, husband-and-wife chefs Doug Psaltis and Hsing Chen are opening a restaurant of their own in Logan Square next month.
Andros Taverna, a modern Greek restaurant inspired by Psaltis’ upbringing, is coming to the Logan Apartments complex at 2542 N. Milwaukee Ave. The couple aims to open Feb. 12.
The Logan Square restaurant is the culmination of the couple’s three decades of experience in the restaurant industry. Psaltis has worked for prominent chefs such as Thomas Keller and Alain Ducasse and most recently oversaw several Lettuce Entertain You restaurants in Chicago, including its RPM eateries. Chen is a longtime pastry chef who has worked from The French Laundry to The Peninsula Hotels.
Andros Taverna is the couple’s first restaurant together. The spot will focus on the “heart and soul of Greece” with a menu of updated Greek dishes like Kalamata crispy pork, lamb souvla and Psaltis’ take on classic shrimp saganaki. Many of the dishes will be made using the restaurant’s wood-burning oven and charcoal grill.
Traditional Greek desserts and Greek-inspired sweet courses, like vanilla soufra, chocolate halva mousse and baklava frozen yogurt, all crafted by Chen, will round out the menu. Drinks will include Greek wine and other offerings.
The restaurant is an homage to Psaltis’ Greek heritage. His family is from the island of Andros, inspiring the restaurant’s name. Psaltis fell in love with the restaurant world watching his grandfather run a Greek diner in Queens, New York.
Andros Taverna is a “very personal” project unlike anything the two of them have ever done, Psaltis said.
“This is something that means a lot to us,” he said. “We love being rooted in the community and we really feel fortunate to have the opportunity to create a new project in this time.”
The opening comes a little more than a year after Eater Chicago reported Psaltis attacked a colleague at RPM Steak In River North. The chef left Lettuce Entertain You shortly after the incident, Eater reported, but neither he nor officials for the restaurant group responded to the allegations.
Psaltis has not offered a reason as to why he left the company.
The couple has spent the past several months preparing the restaurant, installing a high-end ventilation system and a walk-up window to keep employees and customers safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
They said while opening a business during a pandemic has created challenges, it’s also allowed them time to focus on things that really matter, like safety.
“We’ve really seen the pandemic as an opportunity to reset and have the time to really plan out a restaurant that is personal and meaningful for us, but also [to] serve people safely during this time as well,” Chen said. “We feel fortunate to have this time to plan an opening instead of, ‘Oh my gosh, we gotta open in a month.'”
Andros Taverna likely will start as takeout-only, but the owners said that could change depending on how indoor dining progresses in Chicago. City officials last week loosened restrictions on indoor restaurant and bar service after weeks of dwindling case numbers.
“We want to see how things go a little bit longer,” Psaltis said. “We have a plan in one column, the city has a plan in the other column. We’ll see where the city goes … we’ll see how they line up together.”
The couple has also established two outdoor dining areas for people to enjoy when the weather warms up, one of which will eventually face a small park, which is in production thanks to Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), they said.
The park — complete with benches and pathways — will take over the fenced-off, unkept area at the northernmost end of Logan Apartments on Milwaukee Avenue at Logan Boulevard, Psaltis said.
The promise of a park is one of the main reasons the Downtown couple chose the Logan Square location. The other is they’re surrounded by restaurants that have come to define the neighborhood as a dining destination, they said.
“We’ve always loved Logan Square,” Chen said. “We go to the farmers market there. It just embodies a lot of what we love. There’s a lot of great independent restaurants there we like to go to. It’s a community we felt we could really contribute to.”
To mark the opening, the couple is offering a Valentine’s Day weekend menu in the form of a fixed meal for two. They named the menu philotimo, a Greek virtue they aim to bring to the restaurant. Philotimo is a Greek word that doesn’t have a precise definition but roughly translates into “love of honor.”
The Valentine’s package includes your choice of whole charcoal chicken, Kalamata crispy pork or lamb souvla alongside Andros’ signature Greek salad, a collection of mezes, or Greek appetizers, handmade pita, kataifi cheese pie and vanilla soufra for dessert. The menu can be ordered now via Tock.
“This is a restaurant that we really hope people can come and hang out in all day long, have a nice coffee, come for dinner and really get a chance to explore the flavors of Greece and the Mediterranean,” Psaltis said.
For more information about Andros Taverna, visit the restaurant’s website.
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