ROGERS PARK — George Spiratos, whose father owned the now-defunct Gold Mine Restaurant on Howard Street, announced plans at a Jargowood block club meeting Nov. 7 to open a craft beer and specialty burger joint near the Jarvis "L" station.
With beer connoisseur and business partner Patrice Fuller, Spiratos told the active neighborhood group they could open the restaurant, called The Prodigal Monk, as soon as April 2013.
"I want people to bite into our food and say 'Wow!'" Spiratos said.
Spiratos and Fuller said they had 40 years of restaurant experience between them. Spiratos, who said he managed a bar in Greektown, learned the business from his father.
"Higher education in my family was working the hot line [at the Gold Mine]," he said.
Fuller said she recently moved back to Chicago from Seattle, where she worked in management in the craft beer industry.
They said that although designs hadn't been finalized, the space should sit 30 people with a bar, and they hope to have sidewalk seating during the summer months.
Other people have tried and failed to open a restaurant at the location, 1547 W. Jarvis Ave., before. Most recently, building owner Tony Barbanente, whose family owns several restaurants in Chicagoland, planned to open a soup bar this fall before plans fell through.
Neighbors were receptive of the owners plans for the beer and burger joint, but were concerned that the space wouldn't be big enough to support the business.
"This is a very, very nice idea, but that's a small space for an establishment like this," said Jeanne Olson, who lives nearby.
Spiratos said the building does have a second floor, which the restaurant could expand to for more seating. He even has a name for the additional space: The Monk's Attic.
Takeout and deliver to nearby customers will be available.
Spiratos and Fuller, who have known each other for 16 years, would be servers and they'd hire a cook.
"We would work the business," Fuller said. "It would be us."