I am writing to inform you of my decision to support a proposal for a restaurant and bar at 1631 W. Howard (just east of the Howard Red Line station).
Salerno’s Restaurants, a family-owned chain of Italian eateries with locations throughout the Chicago area, including its flagship location at Grand and Racine, is opening its 11th restaurant in the storefront formerly occupied by Little Unicoco, a Nigerian restaurant, which closed last year (see photo on right).
Rob Salerno, a second generation member of the Salerno family, will oversee the day-to-day operations of the new restaurant, which will be called “Whiskey Hill Brewing & Smokehouse by Salerrno’s.” The new restaurant will serve both barbecue and the Italian food for which Salerno’s has become famous. Mr. Salerno also intends to offer a full bar, including beer selections from his own Whiskey Hill Brewery.
Mr. Salerno last month opened a Salerno’s take-out counter in a small storefront just east of his proposed restaurant, from which he sells desserts and pizza by the slice. He plans to run a pizza delivery business from that storefront starting next week.
I hosted a community meeting on the proposal last November. The proposal received the unanimous support of the approximately 30 community residents in attendance. My office also received numerous emails in support of the proposal. No one wrote in opposition.
The proposal also received the unanimous support of the 49th Ward Zoning and Land Use Advisory Committee, a group of neighborhood residents and representatives of the major community organizations in the ward that advises me on all zoning and land use issues that come before me.
As a result of the overwhelming community support for the proposal, I backed the zoning change. A new restaurant of this caliber will continue the revitalization of the 1600 block of Howard, which in recent years has seen the openings of the highly popular Sol Cafe coffee shop, and the acclaimed Factory Theater.
Mr. Salerno received his requested zoning change earlier this year and his application for a liquor license currently is under review. Assuming he receives his liquor license, Mr. Salerno plans to open his restaurant this summer.
I want to thank everyone who took the time to attend the community meetings and/or express their views on the restaurant proposal. And I hope you join me in welcoming the Salerno family to the neighborhood!