WICKER PARK — A banquet hall and upscale Polish restaurant that closed abruptly 15 years ago plans to reopen as a shoe boutique later this holiday season.
The bank-owned Palm Terrace Banquets property at 1250 N. Milwaukee Ave. was purchased last spring by Tony Kim, a local businessman. After six months of renovations, the not-yet-named store plans to open "maybe by Christmas," said manager Moy Arroyo.
The store will be a "sporting boutique" and offer a wide range of athletic shoe brands, such as Nike, Vans, New Balance and Converse, Arroyo said.
Though the building has four floors, Arroyo said there are no plans to expand the shoe store beyond the first floor. The second floor once housed an upscale Polish restaurant called Mareva's.
Helena Madej, owner of nearby Podhalanka restaurant, remembers Mareva's. Twenty-five years ago, she celebrated New Year's Eve there.
Madej called Mareva's "a little expensive for 1987, but too expensive for this area" and speculated that was "maybe why [owner Irena Idzik] lost her business."
Remnants of Mareva's elegance are not hard to find. Hunter green velvet booths are piled in a corner of the dance floor. Shimmery wallpaper remains intact, along with faux crystal bathroom faucets. A piano has one key depressed, as if indicating a final note.
Though Arroyo already has recycled the distinctive Palm Terrace Banquets sign that's won props on Flickr, he remains unsure of whether or not to keep the intricately designed, frosted glass window panels detailing the names of Polish cities in the foyer.
"They don't really fit in with our store," he said.