Virtual Marina’s Café Sets up Shop in Uptown

The Puerto Rican eatery that started as a ghost kitchen concept will open for in-person dining by April 2022.
Virtual Marina’s Café Sets up Shop in Uptown
Photo: Official
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Taking advantage of mid-pandemic dining habits, Eric Roldan and Hector Laporte started a “virtual kitchen” in spring of this year. Marina’s Café has been serving modern Puerto Rican food with “new Latin fusion flavors” in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood—although that is about to change.

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Eric Roldan, now the sole owner of the café, has found a brick-and-mortar location in the former Uptown Dry Cleaners space at 4554 N. Magnolia Avenue and plans to have Marina’s open for in-person dining by April 2022.

“It’s going to be a sit-down restaurant with a mojito bar,” Roldan shared with What Now Chicago over a phone interview Thursday afternoon. You can expect the menu to expand a bit while maintaining the signature items currently available for catering services. “It’s going to be a little more traditional,” Roldan added. Roldan also plans to bring on a new chef from Puerto Rico every month in order to create varied and changing menus, and the eatery will specialize in Mofongo, a dish made with mashed fried plantains.

Roldan, who was born in Chicago and raised in Puerto Rico, has named the café for his mother to honor her after her passing. Potential designs for the space on Magnolia show an intimate, lush interior with lots of greenery and low-hanging lights.

Find Marina’s Café online to learn more.

Photo: Official
Photo: Official
Eve Payne

Eve Payne

Eve Payne is a freelance writer with an MFA in poetry from Syracuse University. In 2019, she received the Leonard Brown Prize for her poetry, which has appeared or is forthcoming in Colorado Review, The Adroit Journal, Nashville Review, and RHINO.
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