NORWOOD PARK — A new Norwood Park restaurant is ready for business after almost five months of renovations.
Zia’s Social, 6158 N. Northwest Highway, fully opened Monday after a soft opening over the weekend. The restaurant and bar — with high tops and booth tables, two stages for music performances, a wood-fired pizza oven, a private party rental room and lots of low windows — is the newest eatery from longtime restaurant owners Joe and Mary Kay Calabrese, who took over the former Iron Horse Ale House space in July.
The owners recently closed Zia’s Trattoria in Edison Park after 25 years and rebranded it as Zia’s Social. They also used to own Zia’s Lago Vista in Lakeview, which is being replaced by a five-story apartment building.
“We are all excited and looking forward to” the opening, Joe Calabrese said Monday. “It’s been a grind the last few months — we closed two locations and went down to one. … All of my guys are relieved we can concentrate on this and hopefully get our lives back.”
Joe Calabrese was the executive chef of Zia’s Trattoria but is passing the title to Scott Rice for the new restaurant. Joe Calabrese still owns the French bistro Café Touché in Edison Park.
Zia’s Social’s food menu is a modern twist on classic Italian food with a focus on bringing people together after a tough year, the owners said. The restaurant features sharable plates, large pizzas and classic Italian pasta and meat entrees. The bar features an array of wines, cocktails, martinis and tequila and bourbon flights to share.
For now, the restaurant will only be open for dinner, but the owners hope to expand to brunch by mid-December. Lunch will be added in the spring, Joe Calabrese said.
Originally from Norwood Park, Joe Calabrese previously told Block Club he’s excited to bring a food-focused joint to his home neighborhood.
“The neighborhood is ready for a restaurant,” he 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.”
Co-owner Mary Kay Calabrese said the restaurant is like a combination of the Lago Vista and the Trattoria restaurants, and she used items from the old restaurants to help decorate the new spot’s interior.
Joe Calabrese said it’s rewarding to see the restaurant on its feet after much prep and construction work that took a little longer than expected due to materials and price fluctuations.
The space will also have an outdoor patio and bar, but that will be outfitted next year, he said.
Zia’s Social will also have a live DJ 10 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Wednesdays. Live music is scheduled for the indoor stage this weekend.
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