Plan to reopen shuttered restaurant
by CYRYL JAKUBOWSKI
Former Myron and Phil’s steakhouse owner Mark Freedman plans to open a new bar and restaurant called the Wildwood Tavern by the end of the year at Touhy and Caldwell avenues in Niles.
Myron and Phil’s, which operated for many years at 3900 W. Devon Ave. in Lincolnwood, closed last year after a fire on May 8 caused extensive damage to the building.
The Niles Village Board of Trustees at its meeting June 24 approved a special use and a parking variation for a full-service restaurant at 7201 N. Caldwell Ave. The site is zoned B-2, which requires a special use permit for the restaurant.
The site has 112 parking stalls, and it will share other parking spaces with the Professional Eye Care Center at 7225 N. Caldwell Ave.
The site has been home to many restaurants that went out of business over the years, including most recently Christopher’s Off the Bone BBQ Char House. Previous occupants include the Aegean Islands Restaurant, Caldwell’s Kitchen and Tap, the Melrose Restaurant, the Four Doves and even a Howard Johnson’s Restaurant decades ago, according to Niles officials.
The new restaurant will feature American-style food and craft beer, but items from the menu at the Lincolnwood restaurant such as smoked ribs, chopped liver and skirt steak also will be featured, Freedman said. He said the menu will feature burgers, salads, sandwiches, smoked barbecue and appetizers.
"We are going to do some remodeling at the new place, but really we are trying to create something new for the modern generation, something that has a new atmosphere and hopefully brings in new crowds," Freedman said. "We will have the old Myron and Phil favorites and the spirit of that business will be kept, but we are moving in a new direction."
According to documents presented to the Niles Plan Commission, the bar will be moved and made larger and some booths will be removed and replaced with cafe-height tables. The restaurant will have a seating capacity of 180 people, and it will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, Freedman said.
The restaurant will feature large television screens, and it will employ about 10 to 15 people, Freedman said. He said that the floor will have to be redone because some flooding occurred while the restaurant was closed.
"We know what people want and what kind of people that go to that location," Freedman said. "We will change the perception that this place has had many owners and we will make it our own.
"As for the marketing, people will know that this is coming from the Myron and Phil family," Freedman said. "The essence of Myron and Phil will be there."
Freedman said that the restaurant will be named after the nearby Wildwood neighborhood.
The fire last year started in the ceiling of the restaurant’s storeroom, and the Lincolnwood Fire Department said at the time that the cause of the fire appeared to be ballast in a lamp. Freedman had hoped to reopen the business, but he decided against it due to the cost and problems with an insurance company.
Brothers Myron and Phil Freedman opened the restaurant in 1971.