A new restaurant serving Spanish tapas and Cuban food is scheduled to open on Madison Street in the former antique store next door to Skrine Chops at 7232 Madison. Evanston resident John Mark Calahan plans a 61-seat restaurant, with full-service alcohol, featuring live jazz and blues entertainment. The village council on Monday approved a liquor license for the establishment.

According to documents, Calahan and his partners began their quest to open the business in 2009. At the time, the concept was a wine bar, called Forest Park Wine Bar. But the Skrine Chops fire on Sept. 4, 2011, and water damage sustained by the 7232 building delayed their plans.

“A skylight was broken and hundreds of gallons of water flooded into my father’s furniture shop,” said Mike A. Petros, of River Forest. The building is owned by Michael S. Petros, of River Forest. The Petros family has since been repairing the damaged building and leased the space to Calahan.

The new restaurateurs decided they needed a full-service license and that was only available with a restaurant kitchen, said Calahan. “So we’re opening a restaurant. We think we’ll fill a niche.” The owners still have to change the restaurant’s name from “Forest Park Wine Bar.”

Calahan said he enjoyed visiting Madison Street over the years with hockey buddies after practice in Oak Park and that Mayor Anthony Calderone helped him scout a location for his new business.

The name is still up in the air at this point, since the venue will not focus primarily on wine, except as it pairs with the food served.

The space is 2,000 square feet. The interior has been completely gutted and remodeled, said the younger Petros. “We’ve put more than $100,000 into the building,” he said. “The interior is basically a new building. We got a chance to put in ADA-compliant bathrooms.”

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...