UKRAINIAN VILLAGE — A busy Ukrainian Village intersection that has been suffering from a shuttered greasy spoon at the southeast corner of Damen and Chicago avenues will get a boost when El Metro, a new Mexican restaurant, opens in that location.
Initially having hoped to be open in the spring, El Metro is "realistically looking at mid-September," according to its owners.
El Metro's ownership includes sisters Betty Wilcox and Veronica Pineau, who own Gaudi Cafe at 624 N. Ashland Ave. in West Town. Dan Andrews, a fan of their cafe, is also on board as a co-owner.
El Metro, located in the storefront of the former Lorraine's Diner at 1959 W. Chicago Ave., will seat about 45 people, Andrews said.
Andrews, a manager of a floral wholesale company, met Pineau and Wilcox by being a regular at their cafe, which opened in 2009 and serves Spanish and Mexican food.
"It was a joint idea between the three of us. They've always wanted to have another location and they're doing well with the one they have," Andrews said.
Andrews is not alone in his love for Gaudi Cafe, which Wilcox said has attracted a loyal following.
In a June interview with Huffington Post, "Saturday Night Live" comedian Cecily Strong said she would choose to eat at Gaudi Cafe if she had to have a last meal in Chicago.
"This question is sad because it means either I'm about to die or Chicago is about to disappear. But I guess I would go to Gaudi Cafe on Ashland and Erie. It's my absolute favorite restaurant. The owners are sisters named Betty and Veronica. It's BYOB which I always love, and the food is insanely good. Everyone go there! I never want that restaurant to close," Strong told Huffington Post.
For now, Wilcox didn't want to divulge El Metro's menu. A sign in the window of the shuttered diner, which closed in December, reads "El Metro Mexican Street Food."
"Street food is authentic Mexican food you would find in Mexico but it's not necessarily just tacos and burritos. I don't know how to describe it, you'll just have to wait and see," Andrews said.
Andrews said that at the start, El Metro will be BYOB. But he's hopeful that the restaurant can obtain a liquor license down the road.
Andrews called the intersection of Chicago and Damen "up and coming."
"It's very busy. I think we'll do well there," he said.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: