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Barraco's Eager To Open Catering Kitchen As Part of 95th Street Resurgence

By Howard Ludwig | October 31, 2016 5:28am
 Demolition crews clear out a building Friday at 2105 W. 95th St. in Beverly. This building will serve as a catering kitchen for Barraco's Pizza as well as provide food for a banquet hall called
Demolition crews clear out a building Friday at 2105 W. 95th St. in Beverly. This building will serve as a catering kitchen for Barraco's Pizza as well as provide food for a banquet hall called "The Vineyard" immediately to the west.
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DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig

BEVERLY — A demolition crew was busy Friday morning clearing out the inside of a building at 2105 W. 95th St. that will soon become a catering kitchen for Barraco’s Pizza Inc.

The Italian restaurant group wrapped up its deal Thursday for the 2,800-square-foot building and adjacent parking lot, according to Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th).

Barraco's expects to complete its purchase of a 8,200-square-foot building immediately to the west at 2125 W. 95th St. in December, owner Nick Barraco said.

Barraco's Pizza Inc. bought this building at 2105 W. 95th St. with plans to turn it into a catering kitchen for the restaurant chain. [DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig]

Once complete, both buildings will operate as a banquet facility called "The Vineyard." The brick-and-stone structures were last used as the Beverly branch of the Chicago Public Library. The buildings were originally constructed as a funeral home and flower shop.

"We are designing the kitchen right now for the banquet hall," said Barraco, adding that an enclosed hallway will eventually connect the two buildings. Both buildings should be up and running late next year, he said.

Meanwhile, the smaller building that will serve as a kitchen will soon be power washed, and the parking lot will be sealcoated. New landscaping is also be added around the building that will eventually be branded with a Barraco's sign.

The new owner hopes to have the kitchen operational in time to fill holiday catering orders. The quick pace of construction is fueled, in part, by a fire Sept. 24 that wiped out the flagship restaurant in suburban Evergreen Park. Barraco has said he plans to rebuild the restaurant.

"They closed [on the Beverly property] last night, and dumpsters are already there," O'Shea said Friday.

Advance Auto Parts held a grand opening Friday morning at 1808 W. 95th St. in Beverly.  [DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig]

As demolition crews were working at Baracco's, Advance Auto Parts held a grand opening nearby at 1808 W. 95th St. The new building and parking lot replaced seven long-vacant storefronts.

"We are catering to the do-it-yourselfer, and we'd like to partner with neighborhood [auto repair] shops," said Al Gonzalez, district manager for the Roanoke, Va.-based company.

O'Shea helped to cut the ribbon at Advance Auto Parts along with Erin Healy Ross, executive director of the 95th Street Beverly Hills Business Association. She credited the auto parts store with investing heavily to replace a neighborhood eyesore.

Similarly, she pointed to Safeguard Self Storage, which opened Sept. 21 at 1909 W. 95th St. The 768-unit storage facility replaced a former bookstore that had been vacant for nearly a decade. There, too, owners had to invest heavily in demolition before construction could begin, Ross said.

The redevelopment of Evergreen Plaza on the southwest corner of 95th Street and Western Avenue in suburban Evergreen Park is expected to spur similar redevelopment, O'Shea and Ross said.

Both expect that aging Beverly storefronts near the new shopping center will likely need to be torn down to accommodate new retailers and parking lots. This includes a relatively new development on the southeast corner of 95th Street and Western Avenue, anchored — for now — by a Potbelly Sandwich Shop.

Ross said the owner of this shopping center is willing to tear down part or all of the uniquely-designed structure for new users now that so many of the storefronts are vacant. She expects other landlords with similar vacancies to be willing to do the same.

"I think with Evergreen Plaza, as soon as it is fully leased, there will be a natural spillover," she said.

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