Another Successful Ritaman

By: Howard Ludwig,

MORGAN PARK — Chef A.J. Castillo wants to replace Leona's in Morgan Park with a Mexican restaurant called Americanos.

Castillo, 27, hopes to open in mid-November at 11060 S. Western Ave. and attended a hearing Monday of the the city's Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building. Americanos needs permission to add a bar to the restaurant that closed July 1.

"This will be my first restaurant. I am just excited to bring the neighborhood something I am putting a lot of effort in," Castillo said Monday.

Castillo was raised in Garfield Ridge and graduated from St. Rita High School in 2008. He learned to cook from his American parents and his grandparents, who arrived from Mexico. It's this combination of styles that influenced Castillo's cooking and led to the naming of the restaurant.