ROGERS PARK — Philly's Best, a sports bar and restaurant, will open later this summer in the space formerly occupied by two cafes the past two years, owner Michael Markellos said.
Ciao Bella Cafe closed late last year at 6800 N. Sheridan Road. Pillars Social Cafe had opened about a year before.
Philly's Best was founded by Markellos in 1990 in Lakeview on Belmont Avenue. He now operates four locations, but plans to close his Evanston restaurant a couple of weeks before opening in Rogers Park.
"I think Rogers Park is kind of my home when it comes to Chicago," said Markello, whose father opened Eastern Style Pizza in the '70s on Touhy Avenue in West Rogers Park after moving his family to Chicago from Philadelphia. He retired 15 years later, but the restaurant, under new ownership, hasn't closed.
Markello said he would apply for a liquor license to serve beer. The counter-service restaurant would feature the full Philly's Best menu and a fry bar, from which diners can order duck-fat fries topped with anything from ketchup to kimchee.
He said the interior of the space would not change much. The espresso machine would be replaced with beer taps. The longer counter parallel with Sheridan Road would hold the fry bar.
But most of the changes would happen in the kitchen, including the addition of a walk-in freezer and a pizza oven, he said.
Markello also owns Gyro-Mena, which has two locations.
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