LOGAN SQUARE — Vegetarians and vegans rejoice — The Chicago Diner is preparing to open its new Logan Square location this week.
The Lakeview mainstay — which enjoys a loyal following of meat-eaters and vegetarians — announced over the summer a new location will be opening in Logan Square near California and Milwaukee avenues.
A free public reception featuring cocktails and hors d'oeuvres was held on Nov. 21, and the new location will officially open for business at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
“We’re excited,” said general manager Michael Hornick last month, adding that he and the owners, his uncle Mickey Hornick and executive chef Jo Kaucher, had been looking for a suitable location to expand for the last two years.
“The diversity of people over there [in Logan Square] is really fantastic,” he said. “It’s a really open-minded, growing area for unique restaurants.”
The Chicago Diner will take over the space used by the Logan Square Kitchen, which closed in June. It was a lucky break, Hornick said, because Logan Square Kitchen operated much like The Chicago Diner in that it tried to leave a “small footprint” on the environment. The building is LEED-certified gold.
The menu will be “almost exactly” the same as the one at the Lakeview location, Hornick said. Logan Square diners can expect all their veggie comfort-food favorites, such as salisbury "steak," cheeze fries, seitan wings and the like.
This won’t be The Chicago Diner’s first expansion since opening the original Lakeview location in 1983. In 1996, it opened a second location in north suburban Highland Park. Though the diner stuck it out for eight years there, Hornick said it didn’t get the response he was hoping for.
“The timing just wasn’t a good fit,” he said. “We were just a bit ahead of our time there.”
The timing is looking a lot better this time around, as Facebook followers and foodie bloggers have been downright abuzz about the new location. Hornick said last month he’d been cornered more than once near the new location while sporting his Chicago Diner T-shirt.
“They’re like ‘Are you open, are you serving yet?’” he said with a laugh. “And we’re like ‘No, we don’t have a single table in here!’”
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: