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Aqua Bar Out, Twisted Tapas In on Pratt Boulevard

By Benjamin Woodard | August 23, 2013 6:30am
 Bob Parilla plans to open Twisted Tapas in September at 1146 W. Pratt Blvd., formerly the Aqua Bar.
Bob Parilla plans to open Twisted Tapas in September at 1146 W. Pratt Blvd., formerly the Aqua Bar.
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DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard

ROGERS PARK — Bob Parilla has been scrubbing the tile floors of 1146 W. Pratt Blvd. with hydrochloric acid.

"Really!" he said, when asked whether he'd exaggerated the cleaning power of the liquid in his plastic bucket.

Parilla, co-owner of Lakeview's Twist, which is closing in October, plans not only to scrub clean the grimy floors, but also the reputation of a space that has seen several restaurants come and go over the years.

Most recently, the Aqua Bar, owned by Jay Sharan, closed after a year without warning after selling its assets to Parilla.

Parilla said he and his chef from Twist, Mauricio Correa, plan to open in Rogers Park in early-to-mid September with a new name: Twisted Tapas.

But is the site at 1146 W. Pratt cursed?

Before Aqua, Mediterranean joint RoPa lasted a few years after opening in 2008. Before then, Cafe Suron was open for about seven years, then closed.

"The first time I walked in I had a good feeling," Parilla said of the commercial space with high ceilings and tall, wide windows that open to the sidewalk, a half-block from the lake. "I don't think it's cursed. I think it was mismanaged."

After losing his lease in Lakeview, Parilla said he was drawn to Rogers Park, not crowded neighborhoods like Lincoln Park and Bucktown.

He wanted to be "a big spot in the neighborhood," he said. "I was hoping to make a big splash wherever I go."

Rogers Park seemed "vibrant and diverse" and flush with foot traffic, he said.

The menu for Twisted Tapas would be similar to his former restaurant and serve an international selection of tapas, featuring anything from a California Roll to a flat-iron steak.

Twist favorites such as jalapeño gnocchi, bacon-wrapped dates and the mac and cheese will make a reappearance on the menu.

The bar and general look will remain. But "hopefully," he said, "when people come in they'll see that it's different."

Parilla plans to be open at 5 p.m. most days except Mondays, when it will be closed. Tuesday through Thursday Twisted Tapas will close at 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 11 p.m. and Sunday at 9 p.m.

Serena Dai contributed to this report.