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West Ridge’s VPT Grill, known for its deep-fried burgers, closes after more than 50 years in business

By on October 26, 2022 0

WEST RIDGE — The House of the Fried Burger has closed permanently, ending more than 50 years of operation for a local restaurant on the Far North Side.

VPT Grill closed Thursday. The restaurant at 5754 N. Western Ave. opened in 1968 and enjoyed a resurgence after finding new owners 10 years ago.

The business began as Vince’s Pizzeria and Taqueria at 1527 W. Devon Ave. at Rogers Park. Husband and wife duo Ivan and Veronica Resendiz bought the restaurant in 2012, shortened the name to VPT and moved to Western Avenue in 2015, wanting to offer more parking and a larger dining room.

One of the couple’s creations led VPT to garner a larger audience and more success: the fried burger.

Known as the Blackhawk Burger, the menu included two Angus beef patties sandwiched with jalapeños and a Merkts cheddar cheese spread. The concoction was beer-battered and fried before being served with fried pickles and a bun bearing the VPT logo.

The creation dates back to the Blackhawks’ championship run in 2013 and was intended as a “burger of the month” special. His popularity made him a VPT signing.

VPT’s more traditional burgers have won awardsbut the fried one “helped put us on the map,” said Ivan Resendiz.

Credit: Janet Rausa Fuller/DNAinfo Chicago
Ivan Resendiz is pictured with VPT’s signature fried burger in 2016.

DNAinfo Chicago: Can you fry a burger? At this West Ridge restaurant they do

The owners have gone into debt to help steer VPT through the pandemic, which has devastated restaurants and other businesses. But business never rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, Ivan Resendiz said.

This, coupled with issues such as inflation, forced the company to close.

“After the pandemic, we got help, loans,” he said. “That kind of catches up to you.

“Now…the price of everything has gone up. People don’t have as much money to spend anymore. It was very difficult to stay afloat.

Neighbors lamented the loss of VPT on social media, calling the business a quintessential and reliable neighborhood spot.

“It’s overwhelming!” a neighbor wrote. “The whole family loved your tacos; you’ve seen us through the pandemic.

The decision to close was not easy for Ivan Resendiz, who grew up in Edgewater and whose first job was at Vince’s Pizzeria and Taqueria. Some regulars said they were ready to start a fundraiser to help the business reopen, an option Resendiz said he would consider if enough was raised.

“I am heartbroken because of our customers,” Resendiz said. “I love serving the community. It’s hard to give up everything. »

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