Julias Lithuanian Restaurant (4440 S Western) will be familiar to participants of the Westernathon and maybe a few others. Not long ago Evil Ronnie broke the sad news that Julias closed and reopened as a Mexican restaurant. The restaurant is El Chisme and advertises the best roast chicken in Chicago. Unfortunately I couldnt check out the claim because they have been on vacation for a few weeks now.
A couple blocks north on Western there was a similar restaurant, Likas, that also had an Eastern European/American menu. Not long ago it too closed and was replaced by a Mexican restaurant, La Hacienda Guanajuato.
I recently passed by La Hacianda Guanajuato and noticed a hand-painted sign reading "Likas & Julias food menu sold here [with a painting of a large pointing finger]." The story is that the old cook from Likas and Julias is now working at Hacienda Guanajuato. Some of the old standards like roast pork, liver and onions, and Polish sausage are always on the menu. They have a few daily specials but when I was there didnt notice anything specifically Lithuanian.
I visited for lunch hoping for kugelis but one of the daily specials was chilaquiles which I couldnt resist. There cant be too many restaurants that present problems like this! Unfortunately it wasnt very good at all. I returned for a lunch of roast pork, mashed potatoes, and sauerkraut (plus a bowl of potato soup and some ice cream for dessert, all for $5.75). Im sorry to report this lunch wasnt much better. Pretty much the usual diner fare and definitely not up to Julias standards. They didnt even ask if I wanted horseradish (or salsa). Oh well, things change. Sorry if the title raised false hopes but I think its safe to say Julias as we knew it is gone forever.
Heres some more unfortunate news: Little Miss Muffet Grill (Western & 79th) is now closed, surrounded by a security fence, and awaiting demolition. The interior is pretty much gutted and a few yellow squirt bottles of mustard sit forlornly on the counter. The site will soon be a CVS Pharmacy. The good news is that Little Miss Muffet will move almost diagonally across the street, to 7918 S Western, a building that looks pretty boring. At the moment the old LMM neon sign, one of the citys great ones, still stands. I have no idea if it will make the move too. Probably not Id guess; it looks like it needs a great deal of restoration. If you care, you better get over there very soon to have a look and take some pictures. The two free-standing signs for the now-demolished liquor store next door are notable too but are probably not long for this world.
La Hacienda Guanajuato
4303 S Western Av
Open 7 days, 5am-10pm