VALPARAISO | If he ever gets tired of being mayor, Jon Costas will have a restaurant empire to oversee as he gets ready to open his second in Valparaiso and third overall.
The Burgerhaus restaurant will open to the public Monday at 3304 North Calumet Ave. offering gourmet burgers with an international flair. Costas said the menu will include items like the opa burger from Greece, the Cozumel burger with South American seasoning and the Tuscan Italian burger.
"We thought of a number of different concepts and decided there was a need for a gourmet burger place," Costas said. "They are pretty popular. You can see them all over Chicago, and we thought it would be a nice fit for Valparaiso. We put a lot of thought into it over the last three or four months, and I'm pleased with how it turned out."
Costas said he is a part owner of the building, and his son Evan, who manages the other Valparaiso restaurant in the Costas chain, Le Peep, will also manage the Burgerhaus. The new restaurant has been remodeled to resemble an English pub with seating for 80. The Burgerhaus will serve beer and wine.
The location helped spawn Pestos and El Salto's restaurants, and was most recently occupied by Big Daddy's Barbecue. Although it will open Monday, Costas said the grand opening will wait until the staff has had time to get the procedures fine-tuned. About 15 people will be employed by the Burgerhaus, most of them full-time.
Costas said he will be helping out occasionally in the kitchen - washing dishes, not cooking - and his wife Sharon will help Evan out front. Costas also is a partner in the Silver Beach Pizza in St. Joseph, Mich., but said he doesn't plan to start many more restaurants.
"You can't dabble in it for fun. You have to have someone who is making a living at it. Evan is the one who runs Le Peep, and he's doing a good job. If not for him, I would not be doing this. It's kind of a family oriented business. It's fast-paced, and I like the people who work in the business. They are hardworking and usually very upbeat."