Jim and Pete's, the Elmwood Park Italian mainstay, 7806 W. North Ave., has a passion for pasta, pizza and patio dining. As shelter-in-place restrictions eased across the state, Jim and Pete's enthusiastically embraced outdoor dining to welcome back their loyal restaurant guests.
Eighty years of experience, longtime staff members and a robust carry out business carried the well-appointed restaurant through their dining room closure, but manager Patty Davis is thrilled to welcome diners back to Jim and Pete's.
"To be honest, we have to stop ourselves from hugging people when they come in because we haven't waited on or seen these people for so long," said Davis. "We've missed everyone. Our customers are like family to us and we know they are grateful to be out."
The kitchen, helmed by a professional chef, has remained consistent and thorough throughout this unusual time. Jim and Pete's continued to offer their full menu, including dinner specials and wines, so everyone could have the Jim and Pete's experience at home.
"Some of our regular guests came in every Friday for carry-out meals," said Davis. "Our customer loyalty never wavered and now we are ready to welcome our guests back in."
Jim and Pete's is constantly evolving and customers look forward to seeing updates to the well-appointed space. The restaurant was extensively remodeled just two years ago, but that did not stop staff and management from giving the restaurant a fresh coat of paint while they were closed.
"Our owner, Michael [Bucchianeri] never settles," said Davis. "He is always striving to bring more to the Jim and Pete's dining experience."
Their state-of-the-art party room, suitable for hosting an array of special occasion events, serves as a flexible indoor/outdoor space under normal circumstances but has become especially valuable since outdoor dining space is at a premium in Chicagoland.
The unique room was designed with customer comfort in mind -- the four-paneled ceiling and walls open to allow for fresh air flow throughout the area. With the walls removed and ceiling fully open the event space meets all guidelines for outdoor dining in Phase three of Gov. J.B. Pritzker's Restore Illinois plan.
Jim and Pete's also offers sidewalk dining in front of the restaurant. On the street side and on the patio, staff have opted to arrange tables approximately eight feet apart to allow for generous social distancing and optimal comfort.
Additionally, the establishment is fortunate to have a large parking lot they have put to creative use. Jim and Pete's erected a tent over the lot in a show of gratitude for their devoted customers. Filled with socially distant high boy tables, they have been bringing live musicians to the tent to give diners a sense of fun and normalcy as Illinois begins easing back into public dining.
"This is a whole new world, but we have adjusted and adapted at Jim and Pete's," said Davis. "We are committed to giving our guests a safe dining experience they can feel confident about."
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