Once a sleepy and relatively unnoticed nook, the Oak Park Arts District along Harrison Street is becoming a restaurant Mecca for village residents.
Paul Gong, 42, who already owns two nail salons in Oak Park, is making his first foray into food here, having spent 14 years in the restaurant industry. The Deerfield resident and Chinese native plans to open Yuan Restaurant at 201 Harrison, hopefully by May.
Located at the southwest corner of Lombard and Harrison, Yuan will deal in sushi, along with upscale Chinese cuisine. Gong believes the latter will fill a need that isn't currently being met in the south Oak Park area.
"There is no upscale Chinese food in this whole neighborhood, and sushi is a thing that is very popular right now and getting more and more welcome in society," he said.
The village board approved a full liquor license last week for the restaurant, which will have a bar and seat 96 customers at 24 tables. It will stay open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. seven days a week.
Gong hoped to have a building permit in hand Tuesday, and has hired a pricey architecture firm to give Yuan an upscale look. He estimates that the build-out will take four to six months.