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Fast Food Wasteland No More: New Restaurants Flock to Ella Boulevard

Oak Forest is rapidly changing for the better.

Ella Plaza may almost be deserted for now, but that will change in 2015.
Ella Plaza may almost be deserted for now, but that will change in 2015.
Jakeisha Wilmore

A few weeks ago, Gatlin's Barbecue confirmed their upcoming move into the unnamed shopping center under construction on West 34th and Ella Boulevard next year, but what else does the future have in store for the Ella Corridor? According to retail leasing and brokerage firm NewQuest Properties, less fast food restaurants moving in and more homegrown eateries. Earlier this month, NewQuest Properties published a blog on the morphing of Ella Boulevard into restaurant row, citing Gatlin's Barbecue's anticipated move and more to come in 2015.

Park Blair
, franchise owner of the Heights Berryhill Baja Grill on East 11th street reveals his long overdue second location at 1201 W. 43rd St. will open in Mid-January. Blair divulges to NewQuest that "unresolved lawsuits about the property that pre-dated his purchase of the building, as well as easement issues and environmental hurdles" played a part in the delay.

Next to the new shopping center where Gatlin's relocating to is Ella Plaza, which will undergo major renovations soon courtesy of Braun Enterprises (who's also remodeling the North Main plaza Foreign Correspondents is moving into). As with Braun's North Main center, current tenants will likely be displaced, with the exception of Golden Wok that will rebrand itself and offer sushi. A bagel shop and breakfast spot called Toasted will move in too.