Fire extensively damages Andrea's Restaurant

Could be months before Roosevelt Road eatery reopens

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By Bob Uphues

Senior Editor

Andrea's Restaurant, a dining staple for more than 30 years at 7427 Roosevelt Road, likely will be closed for months after a fire gutted the kitchen and roared through a portion of the roof of the building on March 25.

Firefighters were called to the scene at about 9:35 p.m., and when they arrived, flames were already shooting through the roof of the one-story structure, said Fire Chief Bob McDermott.

Working from a pair of ladder trucks that positioned them above the roof, firefighters were able to knock down the fire externally before a crew went inside with a hose to extinguish hot spots.

"I'd say it was under control in a half hour," McDermott said.

The day after the blaze, investigators were working to pinpoint the origin of the fire, though it clearly started and was contained in the kitchen. According to McDermott, there was nothing to indicate the origin of the fire was suspicious.

While flames did not penetrate into the dining room, said McDermott, that area of the restaurant did sustain serious smoke and water damage. The damage to the kitchen was described as extensive.

"The whole place is going to have to be stripped to the bones and built out," said Steve Glinke, the village of Forest Park's director of public health and safety. "The kitchen I'd classify as a complete loss."

Depending on how long it takes for fire officials and the insurance company to complete their investigations into the fire, it could be months before the owners of the restaurant are able to submit building plans for review by the village.

"The wild card is always the insurance company," Glinke said. "Between six months and a year [before the restaurant reopens] is not an outrageous guess."

According to the restaurant's website, Andrea's has been serving diners from Forest Park and neighboring communities 365 days a year since 1981.

The building at 7427 Roosevelt Road has been a local eating and drinking spot since the days when what is now the Forest Park Plaza was a torpedo factory. 

At one time called the Torpedo Tap, the building subsequently was named the Armory Lounge, which served as an unofficial headquarters in the 1950s and 1960s for Chicago Outfit boss Sam Giancana, who lived in neighboring Oak Park.

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