Ugo’s Kitchen and Bar, an Italian neighborhood gem of Logan Square, is set to close its doors to the public this Sunday, March 18. Ugo’s (2833 W. Armitage Ave.) is a cozy, casual Italian spot serving delicious, yet affordable Italian fare.
Executive Chef and Owner, Stephen Hasson described Ugo’s as a place where “one can pay the same attention to detail and care to ingredients and food, but it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.” He has had plenty of experience in “ultra-fine” dining and wanted to offer carefully curated food to a wider audience. Ugo’s has an assortment of mouth-watering fried appetizers, meat and cheese charcuterie, Antipasti, Neapolitan pizza and comforting pasta with a diverse selection of beer, wine, and cocktails.
Chef Hasson is getting married in May and said he is closing his restaurant for a combination of “personal and financial” reasons, which require his full focus since running a restaurant is time-consuming.
“The most difficult thing about closing aside from my own personal feelings is not having an outlet for my staff to make money. I will miss all of these amazing relationships we have developed in the Logan Square and Humboldt Park neighborhoods.”
Chef Hasson has worked in restaurants throughout his entire career and it has always been a dream of his to open and operate one. While this is the end for Ugo’s, it certainly isn’t the end for Chef Hasson.
“I have an entrepreneurial spirit. I’m always looking for the next thing…My big focus for the next couple of months is to dine around, get some inspiration and hop back into it. You kind of have to be a little bit crazy to open up a restaurant.”
Looking back on Ugo’s
The decision to have his restaurant in the Logan Square area when they originally opened two and a half years ago was due to the right combination of factors.
“I bought the property a little over three years ago and rents were still low and there’s been a lot of change since. Logan Square has changing demographics from “hipsters” to more of a “family” feel. We learned about these changing demographics really quickly being in business [and] having to buy high chairs and sippy cups and having to accommodate that kind of clientele. Logan Square in general is a destination for dining and nightlife—there’s awesome bars and things to do here and that always brings hungry people.”
Having enjoyed the last two years here, Chef Hasson said he would be interested in opening up another restaurant in Logan Square down the road.
“I really like the neighborhood; there’s still quite a bit of potential. I see it turning hopefully not too much into Wicker Park; I like every neighborhood having its own identity. I see that level of growth here as well…Nothing is out of the question at this point. This is something we all put our heart and soul into…I’m always going to be making pizzas.”
Chef Hasson of course feels bittersweet about the closing. He will miss his customers and the community-feel of Ugo’s since it has been a space for neighborhood meet-ups, birthdays, and other celebrations.
“We’ve been welcomed with open arms. It has been a lot of fun being here and we look forward to the next chapter.”
The Signature Eats to Taste One Last Time
If you are able to stop by Ugo’s before they close, here are some recommendations. Start your meal with a lovely glass of Italian red wine to complement the sweet and savory flavors of the small plates and entrees. The fried eggplant fries are long, crispy, and well-salted. The breading has an excellent crunch to it and tastes perfectly with the zesty tomato jam on the side providing a nice complement to the savory eggplant. Another small plate to try is their house-made focaccia, a must-have. It is soft, warm, moist with a potent, yet delicate rosemary flavor. It is served with a mouth-watering sea-salt butter.
If you want to order the house-made pasta but are a vegetarian, you can get the Carbonara with oyster and maitake mushrooms instead of pancetta. They substitute the pancetta with delicious, high-quality, gourmet mushrooms, which provides an excellent texture to the soft noodles and sauce. The sauce was creamy but not too overly creamy with a light thyme and pepper seasoning.
Ugo’s is also known for their Neapolitan style pizza. Their squash pizza is quite intriguing with butternut squash, goat cheese and brussels sprouts. The brussels sprouts are generously sprinkled all over the pizza. They are crispy and drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette, which pairs seamlessly with the soft goat cheese.
Of course, there are a plethora of other items to try, but these are definitely some highlights. If you are able to go there, you will leave extremely satiated while needing to perhaps dance off all food you ate at a local Logan Square bar. But if you aren’t able to go before they close, stay tuned for Chef Hasson’s next culinary adventure!