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MAX's Wine Dive Coming to High-Traffic Spot on Milwaukee Avenue

By Alisa Hauser | October 10, 2013 12:59pm

WICKER PARK —  A Houston-based restaurant chain plans to offer "gourmet comfort food" — and lots of wine — at the site of a shuttered gyros joint on busy Milwaukee Avenue.

MAX's Wine Dive has signed a lease to open at 1482 N. Milwaukee St., replacing Covo Gyro Market, the company announced Thursday. In a written statement, the restaurant said it would open in the "spring/summer" of 2014.

The chain already has five locations in Texas. It's slogan: "Fried Chicken and Champagne? ... Why the Hell Not?!"

MAX's Wine Dive's  “Classics” menu includes southern fried chicken with mashed potatoes, collard greens and Texas toast; a fried egg sandwich with truffle oil and applewood-smoked bacon and MAX ‘n Cheese, a dish with cavatappi pasta tossed in truffle cream with provolone, Gruyère and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

The restaurant also announced it was opening in locations in two other cities.

“We are thrilled to bring our restaurant to these thriving metropolitan areas,”  Jerry Lasco, CEO of the company that owns MAX’s, said in the statement. “MAX’s Wine Dive is a great fit for all three neighborhoods, which have a lively mix of restaurants, retail, office and residential spaces."

Covo opened last September at the Milwaukee Avenue spot and was a new venture by Ted Maglaris. the owner of Prasino, an eco-friendly fine dining restaurant at 1848 W. Division St., which opened in August 2011 and means "green" in Greek.

Located about two blocks south of the Milwaukee, Damen and North avenues intersection, Covo was the largest of three neighboring storefronts that were developed in spring 2011 by developer Steve Lipe and Jenel Management Coro, a NYC-based investment firm that owns several buildings in the neighborhood.

Lipe and Joseph Dushey from Jenel Management Corp. declined to comment on Covo's closure.

Currently, the only open businesses in the chain of three storefronts is Native Foods at 1484 N. Milwaukee Ave., which opened in August 2011 on the southwest corner of Honore Street and Milwaukee Avenue.

The three buildings at 1480-84 N. Milwaukee Ave. replaced a Burger King restaurant.

A nearly 3,000-square-foot storefront at 1480 N. Milwaukee Ave. next to Covo Gyro Market has been vacant since the development opened. An online floor plan from brokers Mid-America Real Estate Group bills the storefront as, "Highly visible retail located in one of the premier eating/shopping districts in Chicago."