NORTH CENTER — The family behind one of Edgewater’s staple restaurants is preparing to open inside the former Jeri’s Grill.
The Mizhquiri family, which operates Alexander’s Restaurant at 6158 N. Clark St., bought the former Jeri’s Grill spot at 4357 N. Western Ave. earlier this year and worked with an architect to renovate the former diner, co-owner owner Henry Mizhquiri said.
Alexander’s, which has been in Edgewater since 1960, is a family-owned, Greek, old-school diner serving breakfast and lunch dishes like pancakes, waffles, omelettes, skillets, burgers, soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts.
The original plan was to open the second Alexander’s location in the spring; but, like with many emerging businesses, construction has taken longer than expected, Mizhquiri said. The plan now is to open by the first week of September, Mizhquiri said.
Jeri’s was among a dying breed of 24-hour diners when Frank Di Piero, son of original owner Anice Di Piero, closed the local favorite in May 2020 because of the pandemic.
The North Center Alexander’s will feature menu items similar to the Edgewater location, Mizhquiri said.
“I think every neighborhood needs something like that, a corner diner. We’ll also have things like ham on the bone that people really liked about Jeri’s,” Mizhquiri said. “We’re trying to keep some similar stuff to what they had before. But at the moment we’re sticking to what we know best, which is our menu” from the Clark location.
While Jeri’s was a 24-hour diner, Alexander’s will have the same hours as the Clark Street location, Mizhquiri said. That spot is open 6 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays.
The family also plans to open a sandwich shop with healthy options around the corner at 2349 W. Montrose Ave. with a takeout window, Mizhquiri said.
Alexander’s originally was run by the Katsafaros and Sfikas families, according to the restaurant website. In the late 1980s, Luis Mizhquiri, who is of Ecuadorian descent, became head chef under both sets of owners.
Mizhquiri became Alexander’s third owner in 2019 along with his three adult children, including Henry Mizhquiri, who all grew up in the industry working alongside their father.
As they near an opening date, Henry Mizhquiri said he has seen more customers from the Lincoln Square and North Center coming to Alexander’s in Edgewater to eat and ask about the menu.
“Obviously, they’re excited. I know they can’t wait for us to be able to open up closer so they don’t have to travel all the way up to Edgewater for us,” he said.
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