WICKER PARK — The Hat, a new fast food eatery from the makers of Hollywood Grill, opened last week inside a former currency exchange and has been attracting a steady stream of folks craving Italian beef, hot dogs and gyros, according to workers.
"It's been very busy, an urban mix of families, construction workers, cab drivers, neighborhood people," said George Liakopoulos, whose family also owns Hollywood Grill, an iconic 24-hour diner that opened in 1995 across Ashland Avenue from The Hat.
Liakopoulos was busy working behind the counter of The Hat on Friday and said the eatery had opened on Wednesday after delays in getting inspectors out to the restaurant.
Jasmine Carrazco, a 21-year-old student, was sitting in a booth eating a gyros sandwich with fries while her sister and a friend were enjoying a chicken sandwich and cheese fries.
Carrazco lives around the corner from The Hat and said she and her friends have been waiting for the restaurant to open.
"It's really good. I'm glad it's open," Carrazco said.
About nine months in the making, the eatery at the northwest corner of North and Ashland avenues, just west of the Kennedy Expressway, offers counter "pick-up and eat" service, with space for around 35 people inside and an additional 30 seats on a back patio.
The Hat offers 38 main dishes, including homemade Italian beef, burgers, Vienna Beef hot dogs, Polish sausages, gyros, rib tips, chicken and more.
Liakopoulos quipped: "There are some healthy dishes here, but not many."
Meatless options range from vegan burgers to falafel, fish filets, grilled tuna and pepper-and-egg sandwiches. Desserts include milk shakes and soft-serve ice cream cones.
The Hat (website coming soon), 1604 W. North Ave. Hours are 10:30 a.m.-3 a.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 10:30 a.m.-6 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 11 a.m.-3 a.m. Sundays. Free parking. Delivery and take-out available. Phone: 773-342-5000.
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