The Pines Lobster and Steak House and the adjacent Oak Leaf Lounge on Harrison Street were sold last month and are expected to make way for new condominiums or town homes, however, formal plans to convert the property have not yet been submitted to the village.
The property at 7412 Harrison St. was sold for $700,000 to Tony Kaldis, according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds website. The property is directly across from the tennis courts at the Park District, and is a short walk from the now vacant Roos building where construction is expected to begin on 98 new town homes and condominiums.
The seller was identified as R&V Pine Tree Inc., according to the recorder of deeds website. Neither Rich Navratil, the owner of restaurant, nor Kaldis could be reached for comment. Navratil is on vacation and could not be reached for comment, according to a manager at the Pines who refused to give her name. The woman said restaurant employees have not been given notice of an imminent closing and she declined to comment on whether the business would remain in operation.
The deal was executed on June 6, and the new deed was recorded on June 20.
There has long been speculation that the property on which the Pines is located would eventually be turned into condos or townhouses. Village officials said they have not yet received any plans or proposals from Kaldis, but confirmed that such a development would be consistent with the master plan for that neighborhood.
“Nothing formal has been presented to the village for us to react to,” Village Administrator Michael Sturino said. “We’re looking forward to reviewing their plan. We hope it complies with the village’s comprehensive plan that calls for mixed use development along the Harrison Street corridor.”
Village officials have wanted to see further development along Harrison Street and said now that the council has approved plans for the vacant Roos site, other proposals will likely come forward.
“I think that there is a desire to develop the entire block,” Mayor Anthony Calderone said.
The Pines has been around since at least the 1950s, according to realtor and former village commissioner Jerry Jacknow.
“In its heyday it was a very popular restaurant,” Laurie Kokenes, executive director of the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce said. “It was definitely the place to go.”
But more recently the Pines has fallen on hard times. The neon light over the entrance to the restaurant, which proclaims charcoal broiled steaks, has four burnt out letters.