• Ted Cox
  • The longhouse-like new interior

“What used to be here, do you know?” we asked a courtly waiter at Edgewater’s new Mexican restaurant, Mas Alla del Sol. “I don’t, but it was”—and here he shuddered, “filled with trash, a dump.”

And so it goes: one man’s heap of junk really is another man’s treasure. The space in question, at 5848 N. Broadway, was in fact formerly known as Paradise, an automobile garage turned Middle Eastern restaurant that doubled as a showcase for then-owner Samad Ahmadi, a self-taught artist. As the Reader‘s Peter Margasak described it back in 2006: