Deleece Restaurant has called it’s hideaway spot just north of Irving Park Road home for 16 years. A self-described “affordable, eclectic neighborhood haunt,” the spot at 4004 N. Southport Ave. is anything but visible. But later this month Deleece owner Lynn Wallack will move her restaurant two blocks south to 3747 N. Southport Ave, right next to Mercury Theater and considerably more foot traffic.
The new location, previously home to StregaNona and Take 5, has been vacant for three years. “We have eyed that location for many years,” says Wallack, who is excited about the move. “We have always loved that location and the space.”
When it was time to renew the lease at the current location, Wallack began to look at other options. “When I walked around, [the new location] had a ‘For Sale’ sign on it and I thought that was so serendipitous…We’re excited to be in a better location. The restaurant business is tough and our current location has always been a challenge. We think finally something really big is happening and things are going our way.”
The Deleece menu will offer some new options such as pre-theater dinners, a new small plate dinner and a healthy kids menu. Lynne says they are still working on the menu, but she is excited about the small plate options. “I like to try different things… having more appetizers gives you the opportunity to try more things.”
Wallack also recently hired a new pastry chef, Britteny Smith, who is planning a new, more extensive desert menu to attract theater-goers as they leave the Mercury Theater and the nearby Music Box Theater.
But among all the excited menu changes, Deleece is keeping favorites. “Our salmon is our signature dish,” says Wallack. “It has been on our menu since we opened our doors 16 years ago. People love it. People tell me all the time that it’s the best salmon they’ve ever had. I think it’s delicious and it’s one of those dishes I can’t see taking off the menu.”
Wallack has gotten both positive and negative responses regarding the move. Both the positive and negative feedback comes from very strong opinions locals have about crossing Irving Park Road. Wallack found that some feedback was from concerned customers that are concerned about Deleece changing. “Deleece is their place. They like the vibe and the coziness and they are worried it will be different/not the same.”
For Yelper Petras D., Deleece is an old favorite. Does the move change his feelings towards Deleece? “Of course I will still go to Deleece for a meal and drinks, assuming they don’t completely change out their staff and menu when they move a few blocks southeast. I enjoy every aspect of dining at Deleece. It’s a classy yet unpretentious establishment which has great service and better food.”
Deleece will begin construction on the façade of their new location shortly, and the move is tentatively scheduled for late September. Follow Deleece Restaurant on Facebook for more updates on the move.
According to Wallack, when Deleece closes at the north of Irving Park Road location, it will be for only a week or two. “A big concern for me is wanting to keep my staff. We have a really great, loyal staff that has been with me for a long time. I don’t want to let any of them down, so the goal is to stay open as long as possible and be closed for a minimal amount of time.”