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Patrick’s morphing into Papi’s Place

PBurke left owner  Patrick's Fine Food Spirits Aurortalks regulars his pub Wednesday March 13 2013. After opening bar 1969

Pat Burke, left, owner of Patrick's Fine Food and Spirits in Aurora, talks to regulars at his pub on Wednesday, March 13, 2013. After opening the bar in 1969 and then selling it in the '80s, Burke bought the place again in 1997 and is now selling it again for the last time. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: April 18, 2013 6:09AM

In Aurora, “world-famous” corned beef and cabbage will soon be served at Papi’s Place.

On April 1, Patrick’s Fine Food & Spirits will re-open as Papi’s Place at 1941 W. Galena Blvd., a spot at West Plaza that has been filled with Irish fare for the last 44 years.

“It’s time for me to hang it up,” said Patrick Burke, 75, who owns Patrick’s Fine Food & Spirits.

In 1969, Burke opened the doors to the Irish pub. He then sold it in 1981 and it spent many years as Harrigan’s Pub under three different owners, until Burke bought it back in 1997, turned it into a full-service restaurant, and re-opened as Patrick’s Fine Food & Spirits.

Patrick’s Fine Food & Spirits will officially close on March 23, and Burke said he will spend his retirement helping his friend Jane Alabastro at Calamity Jane’s in Sugar Grove.

Burke has already been assisting Alabastro with the behind-the-scenes, day-to-day running of a restaurant. “I take care of the back,” he said, explaining that he does the payroll and other business paperwork.

This weekend is the last St. Patrick’s Day for Patrick’s, said a Facebook post from the restaurant.

Burke will re-open the restaurant for one day only from noon to 8 p.m. on March 24 to celebrate with old friends, employees, and customers.

“Let’s make these last few days some fun ones,” the Facebook post continued.

Burke sold the restaurant to Lazaro Negro and his wife, Hilda, of Aurora, who will re-open it as Papi’s Place after taking a few days to update code issues.

Negro, a corporate buyer at Navistar Defense, said he bought the restaurant for his four children, and that they plan on keeping it very similar to what Burke created.

Negro said he hopes to build on to what Burke built at the location. He added that the only changes will be to add some more ethnic offerings to the menu.

“I am Cuban and my wife is Mexican,” said Negro about some of the added ethnic fare they might bring to the existing menu at Patrick’s Fine Food & Spirits.

“I’ve been trying to sell it for years,” Burke said of the sale.

He added that he will also be spending lots of time at two other places: the health club and church.

To make reservations, call Patrick’s Fine Food & Spirits at 630-892-6650.

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