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Long-Awaited Masada Still Months From Opening

By Victoria Johnson | November 5, 2012 9:15am
 Storefront of Masada, scheduled to open in March.
Storefront of Masada, scheduled to open in March.
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DNAInfo/Victoria Johnson

LOGAN SQUARE — There will be no celebrating for lovers of Sultan's Market yet as owner Shadi Ramli's new restaurant project, Masada, is still months from opening.

Ramli bought the building 10 years ago and began working on the new restaurant two years later. The long-anticipated project even got some writeups last spring when Ramli hoped to open in June 2011, but nearly a year and a half later, Masada is still just anticipated.

"It's been a long project because it's self-funded," Ramli said. "Pretty much buying a fryer here, saving up, buying a grill there ... It's been little by little."

But little by little, Masada is coming along. Ramli, 35, said the inside is nearly finished, but said he doesn't want to open in the winter when he won't be able to show off the "huge patio" with seating for 200.

Masada will also boast three bars, a PA system and a dance floor, Ramli said. Unlike the cafeteria-style service of Sultan's Market — with locations in Wicker Park and Lincoln Park — Masada will be a sit-down "Middle Eastern soul food tapas" restaurant, featuring made-to-order small plates that people can share.

"It'll be like Cafe Iberico meets Sultan's," he said, referring to the popular downtown Spanish tapas bar.

But, he added, he wants to keep prices low, which is partly why he chose to build it up slowly, paying out of pocket, instead of racking up debt.

"That's why Sultan's has been successful — because it's cheap and it's good," he said.

Masada will be located at 2206 N. California Ave., between Township and The Boiler Room. For those who can't wait, there's always the Falafel King Game.