SP Kebab offers taste of Europe
SP Kebab offers taste of Europe By Megan Millard
It’s not a gyro place. In fact, it’s not even a place you could compare to the hundreds and hundreds of other restaurants in Chicago. Tucked away in at the intersection of Pratt and Sheridan with vacant lots on either side, SP Kebab offers a taste of Europe that its owners say is unique.
Peter and his wife decided to open the restaurant together. “One of the first things we did was we painted the walls orange,” she said. “We didn’t have any signs or advertisements outside that we were opening soon.”
The orange walls, and word of mouth was all it took for Rogers Park residents to notice that something was changing on the block. But it took a taste for visitors to realize that SP Kebab offers a unique selection of food.
“Especially in Chicago I could not find a place [in which] the grilled kebab is made,” Peter said.
While the dream of owning a restaurant finally came true for Peter in January, the inspiration began at an early age when he was growing up in Poland.
Peter and his wife travelled to the United States three years ago together with the hope of one day opening a restaurant—Peter with the dream, his wife with the support and encouragement.
“He has a niche in the culinary business,” she said.
Perhaps it began for Peter at age 12, when he says he had the ‘best kebab of his life’ in Bulgaria. Such an experience prompted him to recreate the food he remembers so vividly from his childhood.
“I still remember the taste, I still remember the flavor,” he said. “After many years, of course, I came up with the idea to open the restaurant.”
After growing up with the kebab, and trying kebabs in different countries all around Europe, Peter knows Kebabs well. In fact, he has also knows the history: Kebabs started in Turkey, and in the sixties when immigrants travelled between the two countries, the kebab started gaining popularity in Germany, and eventually spread throughout Europe, he explained.
Peter said there are many different cultures that have marketed the kebab each with their own style. He said nowadays it seems almost impossible to identify a country of origin, as the kebab has been so modified.
“These days you get them everywhere,” Peter said.” Everyone is trying to claim kebabs for their own.”
But there is something special about the way they make kebabs at SP Kebab. With fresh, homemade ingredients, and a unique Eastern European style, the couple ensures diners that the food at their restaurant is unlike something people have ever tasted.
“It’s something new, they’ve never had before, never experienced,” said Peter.
SP Kebab opened in January of this year.
“The economy was very tough,” said Peter’s wife. “With our parents support, and our support together, we decided ‘let’s try to open up a restaurant’. We knew it was going to be a huge challenge. [Peter] worked in the restaurant business before, but for me, it was something new.”
The couple came to Rogers Park and decided it would be a perfect location for their restaurant. With Loyola University, the beach, and the 400 movie theater all in close proximity, they felt the location would be ideal for residents out enjoying the neighborhood. After negotiating with the landlord, and making sure the restaurant was up to city codes, rules, and regulations, Peter and his can finally manage their restaurant. It has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride to date.
“We were very disappointed when we got that snow,” said Peter’s wife, regarding the February blizzard that practically shut down the city. “We said ‘Okay, we’re going to close’ but we [eventually decided to stay open.
“It was one of our busiest days,” she said. “Everyone was outside shoveling, and every other place was closed.”
In the future, the owners of SP Kebab hope to possibly expand their restaurant. But first and foremost, they hope to show more people their unique style of kebabs.
“It’s not just about the meat,” Peter said. “It’s also about the bread, and the sauces. People in Chicago, they forgot about those two things.”
“Besides getting this amazing kebab—fresh, everything homemade here, they will get customer service truly from the heart. We truly care about each individual customer,” said Peter’s wife.
SP Kebab is located at 6808 North Sheridan Road and is open seven days a week from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. For patrons dining in, Peter recommends the No. 4: Kebab bread, meat, salad, and homemade sauce. For to-go orders, Peter recommends the No. 1: Lahmacun, meat, salad, and homemade sauce. For more information, call 773-856-3755.
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