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Leona's Closes On Western Avenue In Morgan Park

 Leona's has closed its restaurant at 11060 S. Western Ave. in Morgan Park. Calls to the Italian restaurant were directed to the chain's Stony Island location last week, and information about the Morgan Park restaurant has been removed from the chain's website.
Leona's has closed its restaurant at 11060 S. Western Ave. in Morgan Park. Calls to the Italian restaurant were directed to the chain's Stony Island location last week, and information about the Morgan Park restaurant has been removed from the chain's website.
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DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig

MORGAN PARK — Leona's has closed its restaurant at 11060 S. Western Ave. in Morgan Park.

A handwritten sign posted July 1 on the door of the Italian restaurant says, "We are closed for remodeling. Please visit any one of our open locations. Thank you!!"

A call to the restaurant last week was transferred to Leona's at 9156 S. Stony Island Ave. The call taker there said the Western Avenue location had been permanently closed.

Information about the restaurant was also removed from Leona's website Monday morning. And attempts to reach Leona's main office were unsuccessful. The chain's restaurant on Western Avenue opened in 1997, and new ownership took over in 2014.

The owners of Firewater Saloon in Edison Park met April 10 with surrounding businesses and homeowners. They expressed interest in replacing Leona's with a country music-themed bar and restaurant.

A handwritten sign appeared July 1 in the window of Leona's at 11060 S. Western Ave. in Morgan Park. The sign says the restaurant is closed for remodeling, but an official from another restaurant in the chain said it has permanently closed. [DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig]

It would be the second location for Firewater, which operates on the Northwest Side. The Edison Park location serves a clientele that includes police officers, firefighters, teachers and other city workers — similar to what can be found in many parts of the 19th Ward.

A sign signaling a potential zoning change for the restaurant property was posted on a tree outside of the shuttered Leona's last week.

Firewater had previously expressed interest in adding a bar and stage for live music. A special license from the city would be needed for such additions, since the restaurant has capacity for more than 100 people, Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th) said at the time.

He promised then to support such a license, given several conditions, including serving food during all hours, ending any live music at 1 a.m. and restricting the days on which bands can perform largely to Friday and Saturday nights.

Firewater Saloon would be open on Western until 2 a.m. every day except Saturday when the bar would stay open until 3 a.m., O'Shea said.

An aldermanic staffer said Monday the request for a zoning hearing was filed June 28. But a firm commitment to the alderman's demands from Firewater would be required ahead of pursuing any such changes.

When reached Monday, an owner of Firewater Saloon said there's been no decision made on the chain's expansion to the Southwest Side. He expected to have more information next week.

"It's up in the air right now," he said.

Plans by Firewater Saloon to open a location in Streeterville have drawn a less-than-enthusiastic reception from Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) and neighbors, who say the bar attracts a rowdy late-night crowd.

David Matthews and Heather Cherone contributed.