BERWYN – When Joel Nickson’s Wishbone Restaurant returned to Berwyn as a “pop-up” restaurant in the historic Depot District in December 2013, the plan was to stay only for three months.
But Nickson, who also owns a Wishbone location in Chicago’s West Loop, didn’t count on one of the worst winters in Chicago area history when he made his plans for a short stay.
The restaurateur announced he will stay at least another month, cohabiting at Marty Mendocino’s Oliver or Twist Martini Bar, 6906 Windsor Ave., as Wishbone’s temporary home in Berwyn.
‘’We’ve enjoyed being here. It’s been fun, but it’s been the worst winter to try to do something like this, “ Nickson said. “Even the restaurant downtown, we had the worst January and February on record, he added.
But Nickson said he wasn’t about to throw in the apron just yet.
“I like the area,” Nickson said of Berwyn. “The parking is great. It’s a little different for us, just doing dinner, but as far as this Depot District, I think it has a lot of potential. We’ve been getting a lot people from Riverside, Oak Park – and MacNeal Hospital has been a plus.”
At the very least, he said the restaurant will continue serving in Berwyn until the end of April.
Nickson concedes that he didn’t do a whole lot of marketing or advertising to promote the pop-up in the Depot District, other than hang a sign on the building. But he added the Berwyn Development Corporation has been very supportive and active in promoting the restaurant.
Nickson said he likes Berwyn’s vibe, and sees the potential for a successful business in the district.
“It’s made me think about having something here,” he said. “I don’t know how breakfast and lunch would do here. It’s tough to make it in two nights a week; Friday and Saturday being the only good nights. But I do think people have been happy with something a little different.”
Nickson said he likes the mix of customers he’s had, both young and old, from all over, which he sees as a good customer base.
“There’s nobody that does what we do out here,” he said. “With Ogden here, we had a lot of Chicagoans from the Midway neighborhood here. A lot of them are people who knew us from Roosevelt Road.”
Marty Mendocino, who owns Olive or Twist, said he would like nothing more than to have Nickson stay.
“He’s got a wonderful product, professional staff; it’s just a wonderful compliment to what we do,” he said. “ People Love it. The food is fabulous and the prices are too good to be true.”
Anthony Griffin, executive director of the Berwyn Development Corporation, said Nickson’s restaurant brings something much needed to the area.
“They’re a real asset within the Depot District,” Griffin said. “The district struggles for a population in the evenings and the weekends, so were hopeful they can stay for the long term.”