LINCOLN PARK — A longtime Middle Eastern restaurant in Albany Park has opened a location in Lincoln Park.
Salam Restaurant started as a hole-in-the-wall storefront with five tables and two cooks in 1989 and has been slowly expanding ever since.
The Lincoln Park location at 1524 W. Fullerton Ave. opened Friday with a mostly traditional and very affordable menu with items such as masabaha, hummus, falafil, kabobs, kalayas and a shawarma plate.
Most of the food has roots in Jordan and Palestine.
Muhammad Shadeh, the manager of both the Lincoln Park and Albany Park restaurants, said the owners liked the new location because the neighborhood lacked similar Middle Eastern options.
"There's a different type of people here," he said. "The college people, businesses people — we are trying to attract some other types of customers."
The new Lincoln Park space is decked out in Middle Eastern decor and has seating for about 50 people on the first floor and another 50 in a private party room in the basement.
The current ownership of the restaurant bought Salam, which translates to "peace," from the original owner about 10 years ago and began the expansion from a small storefront to the Kedzie location.
The owners then bought the shuttered Quiznos next door to double the space four years ago.
"That's how we do everything," Shadeh said. "Expanding a little by a little."
With the addition of the Lincoln Park location, the restaurant will now to able to deliver to most of the North Side all the way to Downtown, Shadeh said.
The owner of Salam had been looking for a spot to house the second location of the restaurant for about a year before finding the storefront on Fullerton.
The expansion might not stop in Lincoln Park, as the restaurant is considering a third store in the suburbs and possibly bringing in franchisees.
"Before we took over no one knew about it; it was a small store," Shadeh said. "Now we have a lot of people asking us, 'Why don't you open [in Lincoln Park]? Why don't you open in the suburbs?'"