LOGAN SQUARE — Bang Bang Pie Shop is eyeing the space left vacant by the iconic Johnny's Grill — but won't be leaving California Avenue anytime soon, its owner said Monday.
"We have no plans whatsoever to leave [our original location at] 2051 N. California Ave.," owner Michael Ciapciak said, adding that the pie shop and breakfast spot recently re-upped its lease for five years.
But "we are very, very intrigued to do a project in that location," Ciapciak said. "I did call on it."
Johnny's Grill, a Logan Square staple at 2545 N. Kedzie Blvd., closed last week after more than 30 years in the neighborhood. Owner Nicholas Kalliantasis said he was "forced to leave" when the building owner wouldn't renew his lease.
The building's owner, Saul Osacky, could not be reached to comment on Kalliantasis' claims. Osacky did say early Friday that "many, many, many" parties had inquired about renting the restaurant building.
"It won't be empty for long," Osacky said. "Everybody wants it. It's just a matter of negotiating the lease."
Ciapciak posted a photo of Johnny's on the Bang Bang Instagram account Saturday.The caption read: "Hmmmmm .... so sad but the possibilities are endless ... Bang Bang Biscuit Diner anyone? #bangbangloveslogansquare."
Ciapciak said he's reached out to Osacky about renting the Kedzie storefront but knows "that's a very, very desirable location, and I wouldn't be the only one interested in it."
If Ciapciak gets the space, he said he'd like to create an "accessible" breakfast and lunch spot that honors Johnny's legacy and Logan Square history.
"Johnny's Grill is an iconic location, and it served the neighborhood for what it was — everyday breakfast and lunch," Ciapciak said. "Whoever does get it should respect that. Without question."
Bang Bang in March announced it was eyeing a second location in Pilsen. Ciapciak said Monday those plans are no longer on the table. In April, Ciapciak parted ways with Bang Bang co-founders Dave and Megan Miller, who plan to open a pie shop in Lincoln Square.
Ciapciak, who lives down the street from Johnny's, said he's in Logan Square for the long haul and would love a second Bang Bang location in his 'hood.