Le Piano opens a “Healthy Street Food” take-out restaurant next to its Rogers Park Jazz Club

ROGERS PARK — The Le Piano brand is expanding in Rogers Park, as the jazz club opens a take-out street food business next to its existing space.

Petite Le Piano plans to open in May at 6966 N. Glenwood Ave. The business will serve European street food and seek to complement its neighboring sister business, owner Chad Willetts said.

The restaurant will occupy the space previously occupied by Far East Kitchen, which closed six months ago after decades in the neighborhood. The Piano will only be to go.

To accommodate the take-out format, Petite Le Piano will focus on take-out food, Willetts said. Its main offering will be sweet and savory crepes, and there will be fresh juices, baguette sandwiches, salads, a potato bar, espresso and tea.

“There aren’t a lot of dining options on Glenwood,” Willetts said. “We want to offer a healthy alternative to a hot dog, pizza or gyro, which you can get anywhere.”

Credit: Courtesy of Chad Willetts
Renderings of Petite Le Piano at 6966 N. Glenwood Ave.

The company will seek to fill a food need on a Glenwood avenue which is full of bars and entertainment venues. The owners are also looking to capitalize on the al fresco area coming from the street.

A stretch of Glenwood Avenue near Le Piano is set to become a pedestrian zone as part of the city’s Chicago Alfresco program. The program aims to give businesses more outdoor space during the pandemic.

After being announced in May, the pedestrian zone is expected to arrive on Glenwood Avenue this spring or early summer, Willetts said. Plans include gazebos, a stage, outdoor seating and beautification efforts on Glenwood.

Petite Le Piano will take advantage of outdoor seating and hopefully provide a convenient product for pedestrian space users, the owner said.

Le Piano and Petite Le Piano will add a Frank Sinatra-themed outdoor fountain to Glenwood in time for the pedestrian space. The companies also refurbished a piano from a closed club to be used for live music outside, Willetts said.

“It was part of our decision to open,” Willetts said of the Alfresco program. “We’re super excited about it.”

Credit: Jonathan Ballew/Block Club Chicago
Chad Willetts, co-owner of nearby restaurant Le Piano, in front of salvaged earthenware pieces from the Heartland Cafe.

The Piano opened in late 2018 at 6970 N. Glenwood Ave., bringing a jazz-focused restaurant and bar and entertainment space to the neighborhood.

It has since become a popular destination in the neighborhood, but the business does not have storage space in its storefront. Willetts inquired if there was any storage space available in the Far East Kitchen storefront. But after learning about the plan to close the business, he decided to open his own business there.

Petite Le Piano has a one-year lease on the store with an option to purchase the property in the future. If things go well, Willetts said he would look to buy the property and further combine the two neighboring businesses.

With Petite Le Piano and the incoming pedestrian space, Willetts hopes the Glenwood Avenue Arts District will become even more of a city-wide destination that showcases the uniqueness of Rogers Park.

“I believe there’s no reason we can’t retain our amazing and diverse community at Rogers Park while growing in some way,” he said.

Credit: Heather Miller
The piano

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