LINCOLN SQUARE — A new unnamed restaurant coming soon to the corner of Wolcott and Montrose has some small shoes to fill.
After failing to thrive as Wolcott's, Troquet or the short-lived Mangal, the storefront at 1834 W. Montrose Ave. has gained something of a reputation for being cursed, and no one is more aware of that than owner Mitch Gundogdu.
Gundogdu holds the business license to the property but had ceded management operations to Troquet and Mangal. He's firmly back at the helm for this latest venture.
"We've taken the last six to eight months to soak in all the negativity," he said.
Complaints about the previous establishments included poor customer service, warm beer and faulty heating and cooling of the restaurant, according to Gundogdu.
He's taken those criticisms to heart, he said, and plans to get the details right when the cafe, the name for which he wasn't prepared to divulge, opens in mid-September.
In considering what the area around the restaurant was lacking, Gundogdu hit upon the idea for a cafe, meaning less like a bar and more like a diner, minus the kitschy connotation.
"We're going back to the basics," he said. "We're keeping it simple."
He envisions patrons hopping off the Brown Line and into the restaurant for "good hearty homemade soups, sandwiches and salads," he said. "So this becomes that corner spot people are craving ... the neighborhood joint."
Gundogdu knows he's running out of second, third and fourth chances to get the restaurant right.
Having missed before in what would appeared to be a can't-miss location, Gundogdu said, "We don't want to miss again."
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