Homewood’s slogan, “You’re in the right place,” might need a slight revision this year. “You’re in the right place — to eat” would be appropriate in a community experiencing a sudden influx of new restaurants.
If all goes according to plan, Homewood will see at least nine new restaurants in 2015, with fare ranging from gourmet sandwiches, hot dogs and waffles to French, Italian and Mexican specialties.
The big news this past week was the opening Monday, March 16, of Potbelly Sandwich Shop at 17573 Halsted St. The popular shop held an Oven Warming Party to introduce the community to its offerings.
To thank the community for its support, the company donated all proceeds from the party — about $2,500 — to Homewood-Flossmoor High School.
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, Anne Ewing, Potbelly senior vice president of new shops, said the opening “exceeded our expectations.”
Homewood Mayor Richard Hofeld created a good deal of buzz in the community in February when he announced that Portillo’s would open a restaurant at the corner of Halsted and 175th streets, where the former Shooters restaurant was located.
Demolition of the old restaurant began Wednesday, March 11, and construction of the new Portillo’s is expected to begin in a couple of weeks. Opening is slated for early September.
But there are more restaurants queueing up to serve Homewood-area patrons.
Uncle John’s BBQ of Richton Park, successor to the legendary barbecue shop run for years by Mack Sevier, plans to open soon in the former Homewood Grille (previously Just Turkey) spot at Halsted and Ridge Road.
Around the corner from the future Uncle John’s will be a Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffle restaurant at 730 Ridge Road, located in the former Tavern in the Woods building. The business is on the Homewood Board of Trustees meeting agenda tonight with a request for a Class 8 property tax designation.
Carnitas La Victoria, owned by Delsie and Manuel Ascencio, will be a Mexican restaurant at 17536 Dixie Highway. The Ascencios were granted a special use permit for the establishment in January and said they hope to open in April.
Fratello’s Italian Deli’s owners Marco Caso and Adriano Martino had expected to open by the first of the year, but they experienced some delays with the build-out at 18201 Dixie Highway. Work is progressing now, and they plan to open this spring.
Downtown Homewood will also have a French restaurant, La Voute, when La Banque hotel opens. Hofeld said owner Claude Gendreau now plans an early June opening.
And Grape & Grain, a craft wine and beer establishment at 18031 Dixie Highway plans to double its size and not only expand its beer and wine lines but establish a menu of gourmet sandwiches and Mediterranean specialties like tabouli or baba ganoush or bacon-wrapped dates.
Back on the east side of town, work is expected to begin soon on a new building where the former Arby’s restaurant was on Halsted. The project is being developed by the Shiner Group, which has leased half the building to Sleepy’s, a bedding business, and plans to lease the other half to a food establishment.
Contact Eric Crump at [email protected]