Mike and Teresa Ilic have spent the last 22 years serving customers and pursuing a culinary passion they carried with them from Europe.
A in September. The Ilic family is rebuilding the burned portion of the European Deli and are rushing to reopen ahead of the holiday season.
“My parents are European workhorses so they hate not working,” said Becky Ilic, one of the Palos Park couple’s three adult children.
Becky, who lives in Worth, said they’ve started to clean up the mess and have spoken with a restoration company about fixing the restaurant. The Ilics are talking with the insurance company about how to proceed.
Read more: Restaurant Fire Started in the Kitchen: Chief
Chief Daniel Russell of the North Palos Fire Protection District said smoke and fire caused at least $50,000 in damage. They believe the cause of the blaze was accidental. Most of the damage was concentrated in the kitchen.
The fire call came in at about 10:45 p.m. on Sept. 4 when the restaurant was closed and empty. No one was hurt. Units from Chicago Ridge, Palos Heights, Bridgeview and Oak Lawn were called in.
With the restaurant closed, the Ilics biggest concerns remain with the customers, Becky said.
“You’ve got to turn away the regular customers, she said, “which has been really, really hard.”
Establishing the rapport with the community has required decades of work. Both of her parents have culinary backgrounds from when they were still in Europe. When they immigrated to America, they worked menial jobs until they were able to start their own business.
“It was definitely my mom’s baby to renovate everything,” Becky said. “It was definitely her brainchild.”
Becky hopes customers will stay with them as they work to bring to deli back into operation.
"We look forward to serving you again, hopefully sooner than later," she said.
European Deli is located at 6900 W. 111th St. in Worth.
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