From farmers’ markets to Jefferson Park storefront; A Taste of the Philippines opening in spring
by BRIAN NADIG
A Taste of the Philippines, a popular eatery at local farmers’ markets last summer, is planning to open a storefront location this spring at 5914 W. Lawrence Ave. in Jefferson Park.
“I wanted to open a shop in Portage Park or Jefferson Park because that’s where I live,” owner Kathy Vega Hardy said. “This has been a long time coming.”
She has had a food business for 12 years. “I actually started out as a food truck (in Denver) … and it turned out to be catering too.”
About six years ago her family moved to Chicago, and for several years she had space at the French Market in Downtown Chicago, but she closed her space last fall due to the long commute, made worse by the Kennedy Expressway construction.
Vega Hardy still operates her catering business and last year she participated in several farmers’ markets in Jefferson Park and Portage Park. “I sold out in an hour,” she said of her first appearance at the “Sunday Market” at Jefferson Memorial Park, 4822 N. Long Ave.
At the market she met Catalina Plant Co. owner Chris Meyer who informed her about a vacant storefront that formerly was home to the Pho No. 1 restaurant and he encouraged her to look into renting the space. She eventually signed a lease and plans to open her Filipino restaurant in April.
Initial plans call for the restaurant to be open only on Fridays and Saturdays so she can focus on her catering business, but “if there is a demand, I’ll open more days,” she said.
Vega Hardy, who was born and raised in the Philippines, has had several appearances on the Food Network, including one in which she made Chicken Adobo, which is simmered in soy sauce and vinegar with garlic and bay leaves.
Other specialties include Ube Donuts, which are baked, and Lumpia, which are Filipino egg rolls. “It’s really light and crispy, and I have my own sweet and sour sauce,” she said.
For more information on her catering options, visit www.atasteofthephilippines.com