HUMBOLDT PARK — Chicago Teachers Lounge and Eatery is less than two weeks away from delivering on its promise to create a hub for local teachers.
The restaurant, 2525 W. Division St., will open to the general public July 7 if all goes according to plan with city inspections, owner/head chef Raul Ramos said.
It's the first restaurant for Ramos, who has 20 years of experience running the kitchen everywhere from Spiaggia Restaurant to Sox Park.
With Chicago Teachers Lounge and Eatery, Ramos is focused on "American food with a Latin flair." A double-decker grilled cheese made with cheese from Wisconsin farms and Puerto Rican cheese, a Piedmontese burger on a brioche bun and a trio of Empanadas are among the offerings.
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Perhaps the most unique component of the restaurant, though, is the theme. Ramos wants to put local teachers first by routinely opening up the restaurant for school fundraisers and other events.
Decor-wise, patrons can expect a wall full of local student art, a mini library with reference books, mail slots similar to those you'd find in a teachers lounge, old typewriters and two blackboards — one for daily specials and the other for teachers to inform the community about upcoming events.
Ramos came up with the idea for a teacher-themed eatery after realizing there aren't many local restaurants that can accommodate large groups of teachers for social gatherings and school-related functions or, at the very least, have teachers in mind.
He was also inspired by a development called "Teachers Village" that is proposed for the former Von Humboldt Elementary, 2620 W. Hirsch St. Under the plan, the school would become a mixed-use community with housing marketed toward teachers. It has not yet received all of the necessary approval.