Eatery with Korean influence will replace Nikko's in Prospect Heights
An independently owned spinoff of Ttowa Korean Bistro in downtown Arlington Heights -- albeit with a more eclectic culinary identity -- is expected to open in the former Nikko's restaurant in Prospect Heights near Hersey High School early next year.
Prospect Heights aldermen unanimously approved the plan for Park Local Kitchen & Cocktails to occupy the existing 3,800-square-foot building at 1421 N. Rand Road after an anticipated $400,000 investment in its renovation.
Though Mayor Nicholas Helmer didn't join the vote, he did add his endorsement to the approval.
"It's going to be a very nice place," Helmer said "I'm looking forward to it."
The new restaurant will be owned by Jay Brizzolara. Though he doesn't have an ownership stake in Ttowa Korean Bistro, Brizzolara said the two businesses will share a chef, Terry Park, who has worked at the Arlington Heights restaurant for nine years.
Though the new venture will have a Korean influence, its food is also intended to appeal to customers unfamiliar with that style of cuisine. Brizzolara added that the restaurant hopes to attract a wide range of customers, including students from the nearby high school, with affordable lunch specials.
"We just want it to be a good, local hangout," Brizzolara said. "We want it to have innovative food. That's our vision of it."
Among the extensive changes to the building will be the replacement of the current drive-up area with a covered area for seasonal outdoor dining.
Once building permits are obtained from the city, the renovation is expected to take four or five months, Brizzolara said.
Nikko's was a staple of the southeast corner of Rand Road and Thomas Street for more than 30 years before it closed in mid-June after its third owner sold the building to the party behind Park Local.
Young Song, who ran Nikko's for the past 15 years, cited the reasons for his moving on as both the economic impact he felt from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as -- at age 62 -- his desire to retire from the restaurant industry.