ROGERS PARK — The Le Piano brand is expanding in Rogers Park, as the jazz club is opening a takeout street food business next door to its existing space.
Petite Le Piano is looking to open in May at 6966 N. Glenwood Ave. The business will serve takes on European street food and will seek to complement its neighboring sister business, owner Chad Willetts said.
The restaurant will take over the space previously occupied by Far East Kitchen, which closed six months ago after decades in the neighborhood. Le Piano will be takeout-only.
To accommodate the takeout format, Petite Le Piano will focus on grab-and-go foods, Willetts said. Its main offering will be sweet and savory crepes, and it will have fresh juices, baguette sandwiches, salads, a potato bar, espresso and tea.
“There aren’t many food options on Glenwood,” Willetts said. “We want to provide a healthy alternative instead of a hot dog, pizza or gyro, which you can get anywhere.”
The business will look to fill a food need on a Glenwood Avenue that is filled with bars and entertainment venues. The owners are also seeking to capitalize on the al fresco area coming to the street.
A stretch of Glenwood Avenue near Le Piano is set to become a pedestrian zone under the city’s Chicago Alfresco program. The program seeks to give businesses more outdoor space during the pandemic.
After being announced in May, the pedestrian zone is slated to come to Glenwood Avenue this spring or early summer, Willetts said. Plans call for gazebos, a stage, outdoor seating and beautification efforts on Glenwood.
Petite Le Piano will take advantage of the outdoor seating and hopefully provide a convenient product for users of the pedestrian space, the owner said.
Le Piano and Petite Le Piano will add an outdoor, Frank Sinatra-themed fountain to Glenwood in time for the pedestrian space. The businesses have also refurbished a piano from a closed club to be used for live music outdoors, Willetts said.
“That was part of our decision to open,” Willetts said of the Alfresco program. “We’re super excited about that.”
Le Piano opened in late 2018 at 6970 N. Glenwood Ave., bringing a jazz-focused bar-restaurant and entertainment space to the neighborhood.
It has since become a popular destination in the neighborhood, but the business has no storage space in its storefront. Willetts looked to see if there was storage space available in the Far East Kitchen storefront. But after learning of the business’ plans to close, he decided to open his own venture there.
Petite Le Piano has a one-year lease on the store with an option to buy the property in the future. If things go well, Willetts said he will look to buy the property and further combine the two neighboring businesses.
With Petite Le Piano and the incoming pedestrian space, Willetts hopes the Glenwood Avenue Arts District becomes even more of a citywide destination that shows off the uniqueness of Rogers Park.
“I believe there’s no reason that we can’t retain our incredible and diverse community in Rogers Park while growing in some ways,” he said.
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