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The owners of Zia’s Trattoria in Edison Park are re-imagining their restaurant concept as Zia’s Social and moving the restaurant to Norwood Park, with an opening slated for this fall. Zia’s Social will launch at 6158 North Northwest Highway in the former location of Iron Horse Ale House, which closed in March 2020.
Zia’s Trattoria spent nearly 25 years serving brunch, lunch and dinner in Edison Park, where it opened in 1997. Co-owners Joe and Mary Kay Calabrese opened a second restaurant under the Zia’s concept, Zia’s Lago Vista, in late 2013. Both restaurants will close this month.
“During the pandemic, we’ve been reinventing ourselves,” Joe Calabrese said. “One thing we’re seeing a lot in our area and Chicago in general is that people are really wanting to get together and socialize. I’m getting the vibe that people want to get together again.”
That will be much easier in Zia’s spacey, 7,500-square-foot Norwood Park home, which boasts a larger dining area and an ample patio. The restaurant plans to take full advantage of the new room, with a stage for live performances and an expansive bar. They’re also adding a wood-fired pizza oven to the dining area, where guests will be able to see their pizzas cooking. To revamp the space, Zia’s has tapped design firm Barker Nestor, clients of which include Bar Siena in River North and Arcadia in the Loop.
“We’re going for an urban feel, like a lot of what you see in the West Loop,” Calabrese explained. Plans include whitewashing the exposed brick, adding large, open windows and putting astroturf on the patio outside.
Zia’s Social also plans to redo roughly 60 percent of the menu from its Norwood Park and Lakeview locations. In keeping with its name, the new restaurant will emphasize community-style dining. Shareable appetizers with Mediterranean flavors will feature prominently, as will Neapolitan-style individual pizzas cooked in its new oven.
“We’ll keep a lot of the old classics people have come to rely on,” Calabrese said. “But we’re moving toward a concept where everyone is eating together and sharing things.”
Yet even with its rebrand and updated menu, the concept will retain its family-friendly focus, Calabrese said.
“We’re trying to reinvent ourselves, but we’ll stay casual and very family friendly,” he explained. “We’ve always kind of catered to everybody.”
This article has been updated to include quotes from an interview with Joe Calabrese.