Nicky’s Grill and Yogurt, a Beverly favorite for over 20 years, will move to a new location on Western Avenue, and it has big plans for expansion.
Currently located in the Patrick Place plaza at the northeast corner of 103rd Street and Western Avenue, Nicky’s Grill and Yogurt will move south to the site previously occupied by Taqueria Valparaiso at 10500 S. Western Ave.
The owner of Nicky’s, Paul Kostopanagiotou, said the new location is scheduled to open in June 2020, and the current location will remain open during the majority of the construction for the new site, where he will “totally reface the whole building as it is right now.”
The building will remain intact, and the bulk of the new construction will be built with large shipping containers configured with windows. The restaurant will also feature an overhead door that can be raised to allow diners to enjoy outdoor weather. Nicky’s will also offer rooftop dining and outdoor seating.
“Honestly, it’s just something different—something different than traditional construction,” Kostopanagiotou said. “It takes a little bit of vision.”
He said the building at the new site is currently 1,000 square feet, and it will be expanded to 2,000 square feet. Plans call for stacking two containers that will create an 18-foot ceiling, creating an open-air ambiance for a casual dining experience.
The drive-through lane of the Taqueria Valparaiso restaurant will be removed.
Nicky’s Grill and Yogurt opened in 1997 and is popular for a large menu of grilled favorites, homemade entrees and salads as well as yogurt and ice cream treats.
Since opening his business at age 22, Kostopanagiotou has emphasized personal service and a dedication to “keep things fresh” with new menu items. His new location will continue that tradition.
“We’re not changing the whole model,” he said. “Exactly how we’ve been functioning is what we’re going to do there.”
Kostopanagiotou, a Hegewisch native, previously worked for his father, who owned a similar restaurant on the Southwest Side at 87th Street and Kedzie Avenue. Nicky’s Grill and Yogurt is not associated with any other Nicky’s restaurants.
Kostopanagiotou said he became interested in the shipping-container design after visiting Toronto and seeing a food hall constructed with the containers. After he acquired the new space, he began researching Chicago businesses using such a design and found a Starbucks in Edgewater.
A small garage is located on the corner property, a portion of which was the site of a tree-trimming business, and he plans to renovate that space in 2021 or 2022, as he is “interested in redeveloping that whole corner.”
The new site is on the west side of Western Avenue—where the sale of alcohol is permitted—but Kostopanagiotou said currently alcohol sales are not a consideration.
He said Nicky’s is “always trying to evolve,” and he has remodeled his current space in recent years. He praised other businesses around Western Avenue that are new or under new ownership, such as Horse Thief Hollow, Open Outcry Brewing Co. and Swanson’s Deli, for reinvigorating the business corridor.
Although they may be competitors, together their efforts help the local economy and each other.
He believes Nicky’s Grill and Yogurt’s new location will be an asset to the community, and he expects a smooth transition in opening.
“I’m excited,” Kostopanagiotou said. “It’s going to be cool.”