WEST TOWN — After an extensive remodeling, a greasy spoon on Chicago Avenue in West Town that shuttered seven months ago has been turned into a 40-seat grill offering a variety of American, Greek, Mediterranean and Mexican dishes.
But you can still get a burger and fries for under $5, as Nathaniel Marrero was doing on Thursday at Koko's Mediterranean Grill, 1760 W. Chicago Ave.
"It's the same, but better. The fries taste better, and the tomatoes are fresher," said Marrero, a 16-year-old resident who was a regular customer at Chicago Carry Out.
Koko's Mediterranean Grill opened Feb. 1 in the former Chicago Carry Out, which closed in June after 30 years in business on the northeast corner of Chicago Avenue and Wood Street.
"Back in the 1980s, it was a bad neighborhood. They wanted hot dogs and hamburgers. Now we figure something else out because the neighborhood is changing," said George Kokoris, who owns the building that Chicago Carry Out had been renting.
When the Carry Out lease was up, Kokoris announced his plans to open a new restaurant with his brother Ted Kokoris, while Everado Salgado, the owner of Chicago Carry Out, moved on to a new career at 1315 W. Chicago Ave., where he operates a mini-mart.
True to Kokoris' promise to bring healthier fare to the changing neighborhood and keep prices affordable, Koko's offers salads and wraps in addition to hamburgers, sandwiches and breakfast dishes, with no menu item over $10.
"People are very glad we are back and we are open. It's been good," Kokoris said.
The extensive menu is divided into eight sections and offers Mexican and American breakfast omelettes, falafel and shawarma sandwiches, hamburgers, gyros, salads, wraps and paninis.
Greek dishes include spanakopita, or spinach pie wrapped in phyllo pastry, and traditional gyros using meat sliced on site.
So far, chicken shawarma has been one of the most popular dishes, Kokoris said.
Prices range between $3.95 for a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich to $8.95 for a chicken shawarma plate. There are 10 "Koko's Combo" meals that include fries and a drink.
In addition to dining in, Koko's offers takeout and delivery. There is no website or Facebook page, but Kokoris said both are coming soon.
Koko's Mediterranean Grill, 1760 W. Chicago Ave. Hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Ph: 312-988-0088.