A brand new restaurant called Irene’s Finer Diner is making its debut in North Center, located at 2012 W. Irving Park Rd.
Owner Petros Papatheofanis is more than familiar with this location, considering his father owned and operated a restaurant called Alps East in the very spot from 1986 to his death in 2000. The family continued to run the business until its permanent closure in 2012. Now, his son and co-owners Cristian Mendoza and partner chef Noah Zamler are getting ready to open this new restaurant, named after Papatheofanis’ mother. The owners tell What Now Los Angeles the new Irene’s Finer Diner is expected to open towards the end of next month.
“Greeks name their kids after their parents,” Papatheofanis tells Block Club Chicago. “My firstborn boy is named Dimitri after my father. I figured I had already paid homage to him, so now it’s my turn to pay homage to my mom Irene with the restaurant. It’s always been about family for me.”
Papatheofanis’ father worked at the Original Alps Pancake House at 3637 W. Irving Park Road before opening his own diner. After the family lost the business a decade ago, Papatheofanis kept his eye on the property, constantly pushing to take control and open his own restaurant. A few businesses we able to squeeze their way in between then and now, including Danny’s Egghead Diner and, more recently, Northside Kitchen, which closed in February 2020.
“We had a meeting in March 2020 where we figured out the arrangements, and he agreed I’d be taking over the space,” Papatheofanis continued. “We shook hands and figured we’d give it a couple of weeks to see how this COVID thing pans out. The rest is history, and here we are, almost two years later, trying to get things done.”
When the new restaurant comes to life next month, the restaurant will serve various diner staples made with ingredients sourced from local farms and vendors. For example, Slagel Family Farms will provide all the eggs for the restaurant, while Nichols Farm & Orchard will supply most of the produce. Finally, the diner will carry Jones Soda, a craft beverage made with pure cane sugar instead of typical soda.