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Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Norwood Park

After 25 Years In Edison Park, Zia’s Trattoria Is Moving To Norwood Park: ‘The Neighborhood Is Ready For A Restaurant’

Zia's Social plans to open in October inside the former Iron Horse Ale House, which closed last year because of the pandemic.

The Iron Horse Ale House and soon-to-be new location for Zia's Social in Norwood Park.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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NORWOOD PARK — An Edison Park staple is ready for a revamp, including a new name and location just down the road.

Zia’s Trattoria, 6699 N. Northwest Highway, plans to close its Edison Park location in September and reopen as Zia’s Social at 6158 N. Northwest Highway in Norwood Park in October.

Executive chef and co-owner Joe Calabrese opened Zia’s in 1997.

Calabrese also owns Café Touché in Edison Park with his wife. The couple also owned Zia’s Lago Vista in Lakeview, which is being replaced by a five-story apartment building. Calabrese said he wants to give back to the neighborhood where he grew up.

“The neighborhood is ready for a restaurant,” Calabrese said. “There really has been nothing but pubs and taverns in this neighborhood up until now. To bring in a food-driven place is our vision.” 

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Zia’s Trattoria at 6699 Northwest Highway in Edison Park on May 25, 2021.

Unlike Zia’s Trattoria, Zia’s Social won’t be as focused on a sit-down, fine-dining atmosphere; rather, Calabrese wants to attract the weekend brunch crowd and offer ample seating for big parties wanting to get out and socialize.

The restaurant will have high tops and booth tables, an outdoor patio and bar, two stages for music performances, a wood-fired pizza oven, a private party rental room upstairs and lots of low windows to create an inviting, open-air environment.

The new location was previously home to Iron Horse Ale House, which closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic, former owner Kevin Doherty said.

Doherty said he still gets questions from neighbors and friends on what’s moving into the space, so he’s excited the Calabreses are taking over.

“The fact that it’s another neighborhood establishment I think bears well with people in the neighborhood ’cause they are familiar with Zia’s, so they are excited of what’s to come,” Doherty said. “A lot of people miss coming here.” 

The Calabreses said they decided to move a few blocks south because the lease for the Edison Park location was ending and their rent was going to increase. The building also needed repairs and renovations, Joe Calabrese said.

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
The Iron Horse Ale House and soon-to-be new location for Zia’s Social in Norwood Park plans to open in October.

They decided on the move after they sold the Lakeview restaurant last year to developer Mavrek Development, which had been eyeing the property and its adjacent parking lot, Calabrese said.

Co-owner Mary Kay Calabrese said the Norwood Park restaurant is like a combination of the Lago Vista and the Trattoria restaurants, and she hopes to use items from the restaurants to help decorate the new spot’s interior.

Mary Kay Calabrese said she is excited to re-establish her husband’s roots in the community and to offer an updated menu with more individual and communal options, especially for pizzas.

“We are excited about the pizza oven,” she said. “We will have some classics we have had in the past, but our menu will evolve into something newer.”

The owners are busy outfitting the interior of the new location and hope to open it by October. Zia’s Lago Vista will close at the end of September before being knocked down, and Zia’s Trattoria will remain open until September. Most of the staff from both locations will work at the new restaurant.

The owners plan to first focus on opening up the bar with more windows so it’s ready for dine-in by October. Then they plan to work on the patio and outside bar so it can be ready for the spring.

“Our whole parking lot is going to be a patio because that’s one thing we learned [with the Lakeview location] — it has much more value as an outdoor dining facility, and that’s what the city wants to see now with all the virus stuff,” Joe Calabrese said. “Our goal is to bring more of the restaurant out to the street and engage the street with the inside.” 

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
The Iron Horse Ale House and soon-to-be new location for Zia’s Social in Norwood Park is undergoing interior decorating.

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