After 10 years of making offers on a South Side property, Jimmy Dragich was surprised – and delighted – when the owner finally said yes.
It sat vacant almost 10 more years until Dec. 10, Dragich opened Jimmyluka's Bar-Deli at 701 Parsons Ave., a few blocks south of East Livingston Avenue.
"I knew sooner or later it was going to happen here," Dragich said of the South Side neighborhood, now the focus of developer interest and the continued expansion of Nationwide Children's Hospital.
Jimmyluka's, named after Dragich's son, is a casual eatery with seven signature sandwiches, two salads, a soup of the week and pasta and potato salads.
"Simple, man," Dragich said.
Sandwiches are $8.50, and all are served with potato chips.
The full bar has three beers on tap, with another five to be added, he said.
The restaurant, which seats 65, experienced several delays in opening, the most recent holdup the result of a liquor-license transfer, Dragich said.
When he purchased the building in 2010, Dragich knew he had his hands full. The interior of the two-story, 3,100-square-foot building was dilapidated to the point it would require a complete rehab, he said.
Yet, the building was structurally sound, said Dragich, the owner of Affordable Flooring.
"Everything's new," he said, including the electrical work, plumbing, flooring, HVAC and drywall.
He bought the property for $20,000 and spent another $100,000 in renovations. He said he filled 40 dumpsters full of construction debris.
Dragich added windows and reconfigured the space.
The plaster was ripped out to expose the brick walls, which add to the rustic coziness, he said.
Dragich created two spaces upstairs, one as his office and the other an apartment which likely will be rented as an Airbnb.
"I did a tremendous amount of work," he said. "I had a vision for my building."
Brian Higgins, executive director of the Parsons Avenue Redeveloper Corp., said the Jimmluka's opening "is further confirmation of the positive growth that's occurring along Parsons Avenue."
"I'm thrilled to see they're finally opening," Higgins said. "I knew there were some delays."