UPTOWN — A Middle Eastern restaurant that used to reside in Bucktown will replace Uptown's shuttered Ceres' Table, and its owner hopes former customers won't be scared off by the distance.
Babylon Middle Eastern Kitchen was located at 2023 N. Damen Ave. since 2004, but owner Sunio Das wanted to expand. After spotting the 4882 N. Clark St. space, just south of Andersonville's bustling Clark Street business corridor, Das was sold.
A handful of employees joined Das at the restaurant Sunday evening, taking orders and preparing food. Das said Babylon has been obliging delivery and pickup orders since Saturday with plans to open the joint for dining on Wednesday after a few finishing touches, mostly painting.
"I'm really happy to be a part of the neighborhood, I eat out here all the time," Das said, referring to nearby Andersonville. "It's been very positive in the neighborhood, everything is going really good right now, and I'm very excited."
Das touted reasonable prices and good food at Babylon. The menu features Mediterranean sandwiches, salads, soups and appetizers, with entrees priced between $9-17. While lamb, beef, poultry and seafood dishes are abundant, Babylon's menu is also filled with vegetarian options, including a $7 portabella burger and a vegetarian appetizer sampler for $9.50.
Once his liquor license clears city red tape, Das said Babylon will serve alcohol from its full-service bar.
He also wants his former customers in Bucktown to stick around. Local deliveries (within a three-mile radius) cost $3, but for a $5 delivery charge, Babylon will deliver up to 5 miles away — as far as Bucktown to pacify fans of Babylon there.
"I don't want to deny those customers, they were so good to me for so many years," Das said. "If they're hungry, I want to get the food over to them."
Das said he's also eager to get over to the new Ceres' Table location in Lakeview, where he lives.
"I didn't get a chance to eat here before," he said. "I'm excited to get to [Ceres' chef and co-owner Giuseppe Scurato's] new place and eat over there."