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Beef restaurant: It’s a ‘Shack’ now

Published: Saturday, May 7, 2011 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Sunday, May 8, 2011 11:17 p.m. CDT

ST. CHARLES – Italian beef sandwiches, gyros and hot dogs will again be served at an iconic restaurant on the city’s west side.

The sandwiches, however, now will be served under a different name.

Early next month, the Beef Shack restaurant will open on West Main Street, near Randall Road, in St. Charles, in the space that had been home to Mr. Beef & Gyros for more than two decades.

Spiro Douvris, owner of the Beef Shack, said he has leased the restaurant building from the Zannis family, which formerly operated Mr. Beef and continues to own the building.

The Zannis family closed their business in January after owner and operator Menelaos Zannis had to leave the business for medical reasons.

Douvris’ family is no stranger to the restaurant business, having owned and operated the Zippy’s restaurants in Schaumburg and Hoffman Estates for 25 years.

Douvris said the Beef Shack restaurant in St. Charles will be separate from Zippy’s but will incorporate many of the most popular items on the Zippy’s menu, including hot dogs topped with fresh cut fries, chopped salad, gyros, sausages and the “Cheezy Beef,” an Italian beef sandwich topped with melted mozzarella cheese.

“This one is going to be my restaurant,” Douvris said. “But people familiar with my family’s place will recognize the great food.”

Douvris said he had explored a number of locations in which to open the Beef Shack, looking in Chicago, Schaumburg and elsewhere in the Chicago area.

But when he was introduced to the former Mr. Beef location, Douvris said he knew St. Charles was where he wanted to open his business.

“Being right here by Randall Road, this is just a great, great location,” Douvris said.

Those who remember Mr. Beef, however, will likely not recognize the restaurant when it reopens as the Beef Shack.

Douvris said he has “gutted the place” and is renovating it to include what he calls a “modern shack look,” as the interior will be clad with 140-year-old recovered barn wood from Sycamore, warm lighting and several TVs.

Douvris said he intends to open his restaurant June 2.

“My dad opened Zippy’s 25 years ago on that very date,” Douvris said. “So that’s what I’m aiming for, hoping that maybe it can give me some luck.”

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