OLD TOWN — A South Side fast-food favorite has invaded the North Side with the opening of Pop's Italian Beef & Sausage.
Pop's opened earlier this week at 157 W. North Ave. in a space formerly occupied by My Fit Foods, an abrupt change the Italian beef restaurant made sport of during remodeling this summer.
Bill Sullivan, who owns the shop along with his wife, Jill, said it's actually a bit of a homecoming for them, as they live in a Old Town high-rise within view of the restaurant.
Sullivan said Friday they consider it a soft opening on the way to a grand-opening celebration set for Oct. 28. They're still hiring and waiting for the outdoor sign to be installed.
But otherwise the space has been renovated and opened up, with rock-star paraphernalia on the walls, including a Jerry Garcia poster and a Chicago flag with the Rolling Stones' lips-and-tongue logo in place of red stars, located just above a fireplace in a corner with comfy lounge chairs.
The food is the same fine fare South Siders have known since the first Pop's was opened in Palos Heights in 1980. Pop's now has more than a dozen outlets across the south suburbs, but only one other one in the city limits, at 10337 S. Kedzie Ave. in Mount Greenwood.
It's been favorably reviewed on foodie websites like LTHForum.com, and its fries have been compared by some to McDonald's. ABC7's "Hungry Hound" food reporter Steve Dolinsky has listed it among the Chicago area's "31 Essential Italian Beef Joints."
The menu also includes chicken, fish and shrimp, and there are catering servings including Italian beef by the pound.
Pop's has a Chicago liquor license to serve beer and wine.