Restaurateur offers new dining options
Owner Bobby Dubin (left) and chef Michael Gottleib at the Second Street Bistro. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 17, 2012 8:02AM
What started as a four-stool hot dog shack 44 years ago — where Port Clinton Square was later built — has turned into a Restaurant Row of dining options on Second Street.
Highland Park resident Bobby Dubin, a veteran restaurateur, moved and expanded Stashs Restaurant two years ago, relocating to its current 4,000-square-foot casual space at 1825 Second St. But with the economic downturn lingering and fierce competition in the downtown, Dubin recently announced a three-pronged reinvention of his restaurant prowess.
Stashs classic American menu will remain for lunch, take out, delivery and catering, but at night, the Stashs space will morph into a barrage of unique dining and BYOB drinking options.
The south end of the building already has been renamed Second Street Bistro, offering a locally sourced, farm-to-table upscale menu. A chalkboard also is posted above the dining room, showing off the location of many ingredients.
Dubin reported that the first venture has proved a great success already. Crowds have been seen lingering in the Italian-themed setting well after 10 p.m.
The next step in Dubin’s rebranding is the recent opening of Second Street Enoteca, a trendy Italian dining scene. Dubin and his chefs were busy taste testing the menu items Jan. 26, preparing for the Feb. 9 grand opening.
The new décor features wood fence walls draped with vines, shuttered window bays, Italian-themed art and infused olive oils lining the new space.
“I think that in an economy that has changed the way this has, you have to reinvent yourself,” Dubin explained.
“To take what was a fast food restaurant and to create that Bistro and to see the response; the write-ups have been nothing less than phenomenal, it’s been huge,” he continued. “We wanted to brand Second Street. And that’s what we have accomplished with all of this.”
The final piece of Dubin’s new Restaurant Row is Second Street Organic Market, located in the south end of the building along the existing Stashs entrance. He will sell local, organic produce, which can be ordered online at www.organicproducebox.com. Proceeds benefit area schools or organizations.
That’s three unique menus and a produce stand, all rebranded with the Second Street name.
“As you get older, one of the things you want is to keep things the way they are,” he concluded. “You don’t like change. I’ll be 65, I wasn’t looking for change, but to be successful you have to reinvent yourself.”