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Bayan Ko, the family-owned Cuban-Filipino restaurant in Ravenswood at 1810 W. Montrose Avenue, has temporarily closed for renovations.
Co-owners Raquel Quadreny and Lawrence Letrero opened the restaurant in 2018 and offered the neighborhood a menu filled with lumpia, empanadas, adobo wings, and Pinoy burgers, according to Eater Chicago. The couple survived the pandemic and eventually became a hot spot in Ravenswood. Once the pandemic subsided, the co-owners realized they needed to accommodate the space to allow for more revenue while reinvesting in the community. Now, Bayan Ko has temporarily closed, and owners hope to reopen in Spring 2023.
“We came to a threshold — our lease was coming up, and we were actually planning to leave and find somewhere we could have a bar or liquor license,” Letrero tells Eater Chicago. “But we love Ravenswood, so it’s sentimental, and we wanted to figure out how to stay.”
One way the owners plan to improve the space is by applying for a liquor license. However, this will require the restaurant to renovate the space, including installing a wheelchair-accessible restroom toward the front of the dining room. It’s hard to tell exactly when these renovations will be complete as owners await city inspection. The remodel proves the owners are dedicated to staying in the community that welcomed them with open arms, considering moving the restaurant would have avoided the remodel altogether.
“When the space [in Ravenswood] first became available, we didn’t know how welcoming the community would be,” Letrero says. “They kept us going through the pandemic, so the thought of leaving was tough… I don’t want this to be my only project, but I think this will be our home for good.”
When Bayan Ko reopens in a few weeks, hopefully with a liquor license, ownership plans to unveil a limited beer, wine, and cocktail menu. The food menu plans to change a little as well. While customers can still find the restaurant’s favorites, such as crispy adobo chicken wings and sisig nigiri, ownership plans to add a few new menu items, including the possibility of a dinuguan sausage.