Now admittedly, this new name, which exists only on the menu, tells you more about what to expect there than the other, superceded name, which carried the symbolic baggage of an air terminal redolent of jet fuel in the fields south of Paris, unless you happen to be more familiar with one of the great names of Israeli tennis.
All fine and good, but didn't this place put out a similar promotional menu a year or so ago, when it was converting itself into an old-schul delicatessin? There were the bagels, pomoted on this blog until they were outclassed by the competition from Zaleski and Horvath, and there was the overhauled menu with home-made corned-beef, matzo-ball soup, kreplach, and knishes.
It turns out The Restaurant Formerly Known as "Orly's" has gone through multiple mutations over the 28 years of its existence. Even the name of the restaurant's owner changes spelling as one voyages back in time and through the Herald archives (David ShOpiro, SApiro, or ShApiro).
Mutability may be a source of inspiration among romantic poets, but is it good for restaurants? Let's review the history of Orly's, starting at The Beginning, when the Herald proudly reviewed the new establishment in 1981.
Walk into Orly's and you feel that Hyde Park is a place where exciting things are happening, that you don't have to go to the North Side to find out what is current in dining. A complete redecorating job on the first floor of the Mayfair Apartments has produced an elegant Art Deco interior with heavy black mahogany tables, brass railings and hurricane lamps, lots of palms and fresh flowers and inset tanks of tropical fish. White Naugahyde upholstered booths, roomy tables, light rock recordings and a bright, active ambience spell comfort plus fun. From servers wearing Izod shirts and introducing themselves by first name through cutesy menu terminology ("One Helluva Burger") and "health" ingredients to elaborate fruit-ice cream cocktails, everything is almost slavishly obedient to current trends. Owner David Shopiro designed both the interior and the menu himself, and currently supervises both dining room an kitchen at lunch and dinner— a superhuman task.That was Concept #1, which was greeted by a rave review from the Chicago Maroon. Then came concept #2: in 1991 , Orly's completely "revamped its menu," "providing Hyde Park's only gourmet, low-calorie, low-cholesterol meals," focusing on "Mexican, Japanese, Italian, Polynesian and Israeli dinners."
Concept #3 came in 1995, when Orly's diversified a bit by adding "the most spectacular salad bar Hyde Park has ever seen," and a complementary Asian vegetable stir fry bar.
Concept #4 followed shortly thereupon in 1996, when Orly's ditched the tightly focused Japanese, Italian, Polynesian, and Israeli menu with attached Asian vegetable stir fry bar to concentrate on Southwest cuisine. This is most likely when the Sonoran murals went up (the Sponge Bob fish tanks set into the walls date to Concept #1, and blend nicely with the arid, desert wall paintings). Orly's began sprinkling its print ads with lots of words like "huge" and "massive".
Two years into Concept #4 (1998), Orly's became "Jalapeño's" until a revolt of "old Orly's" regulars resulted in Concept #5, a return to Orly's from Concept #3 in 2002.
So bearing in mind that Concept #5 is really Concept #3, Concept #6, a "Corner Bakery style cafe in Hyde Park," arrived in 2006, when Orly's owner realized that opening a bakery and selling "focaccia and bagels" "was a no-brainer," and Orly's cooks were sent for one month to train at the California branch of a New York bagel-eria and started making the bagels that we reviewed on HPP in 2008. (There was also talk of an "oatmeal bar").
Which makes the Hyde Park Barbeque and Bakery Concept #7
So there you have it. A little bit of something for everybody.
In other news, we see from a Treasure Island ad in the Chicago Tribune that a soda fountain is coming.
It's things like this that will help make the onset of the Great Recession bearable.