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Thursday, February 29

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« The Art of Food: CAC's Starving Artist Dinner Free Cookies! »

Closings Wed Aug 10 2011

Earwax Cafe Closed Again -- Permanently This Time

earwax_cafe_grave.jpgEarwax Cafe has closed again, and this time it's for good.

According to Metromix, the Wicker Park institution, which closed temporarily in February before getting a last-minute reprieve from former Landmark Grill chef Kurt Gutowski, did not open this weekend. A source tells the Wicker Park-Bucktown Insider's Guide that employees were informed of the closure last Wednesday. The cafe's published phone number has been disconnected; a sign on the door simply says "closed" and directs inquiries to the cafe's email address.

I stopped by this afternoon to check on the cafe, and spoke briefly with a real estate agent who was showing the property. She did not want to speak on the record, but confirmed that the cafe is closed and that the owner, Cindy Murray, is seeking tenants to take over the space. An email to the agent and Murray for more information has not yet received a reply. The Wicker Park/Bucktown RedEye blog reports that emplyee paychecks allegedly started bouncing back in June.

It's sad to see Earwax Cafe fade away. One of the few remaining vestiges of "Old" Wicker Park, it was key to lending the neighborhood its artsy feel. Vegetarian diners will no doubt find Native Foods Cafe, which opened last weekend just down the block, a suitable if more corporate substitute for Earwax's tasty veggie and vegan options -- but it feels a little like saying that fans of a favorite indie boutique will find Urban Outfitters an acceptable alternative.

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UnlovedAndUnmourned / August 10, 2011 4:30 PM

I'm sure that another restaurant will come along with employees trained to make insufficiently hip customers feel like unwanted assholes.

g / August 10, 2011 6:39 PM

430: u r an obsessive hipster hater , which is way worse than being a hipster with questionable taste. Grow up and vote republican already.

Frau Blucher / August 10, 2011 7:23 PM

This restaurant was vastly overrated, and I say that as a vegetarian. I suspect they called it Earwax because that was the general flavor they went for in their food. In three words: overpriced and bad. Good riddance.

rodney c / August 10, 2011 8:52 PM

well said: "a little like saying that fans of a favorite indie boutique will find Urban Outfitters an acceptable

Anyone who thinks that corporate (native foods) easily replaces local (earwax), doesn't have the slightest idea about how communities are built and sustained. The local is by definition "quality" (regardless of whether it is "fine", "clean", "good", etc.); the corporate is by definition "quantity". Parasitic and ignorant capitalism, sadly, always chooses "quantity".

mishka menina / August 11, 2011 4:34 AM

the busy bee & club dreamerz were old wicker park ... earwax, which came along in the early days of gentrification, was a record store first and foremost, hence the name ... in any event, RIP ... always sad to see a local small business fail

Joe / August 11, 2011 1:43 PM

Not a surprise. The "new" menu after they reopened cut out tons of old favorite dishes and replaced them with some pretty crummy substitutes.
Sad to see them go, but they just weren't the same after their first brush with death.

Alison / August 11, 2011 3:05 PM

Earwax had a great vibe, but I was always disappointed eating there. The food was always mediocre and took forever to come out. Native Foods, though yes, much more "corporate" has a 100% vegan menu, and the dishes are actually DELICIOUS.

Ha! / August 11, 2011 5:09 PM

Their old rat problem came back. I ate there shortly before they closed in February. After seeing a huge rat run from the dining area into the kitchen area I reported them to Department of Public Health. Oh well!

spiv / August 12, 2011 11:39 PM

G: I'm gonna do better than voting republican, i'm going to move into your neighborhood, raise the property taxes so you can't afford to live there anymore and ruin the reason why to move in the first place.

K / August 23, 2011 3:14 AM

If local is by definition quality...why is it that earwax was disgusting, behind the times and filthy with bad service while Native Foods is delicious, innovative, friendly and clean? That's really more like comparing food from a dumpster served by Oscar the Grouch to really fresh cuisine served by a smiling waiter.

Melissa Rubio / April 13, 2012 8:37 PM

I Just came back from overseas and was disappointed to see no Ear Wax on Milwaukee :(. They had a really nice black bean burger that I enjoyed, but my lament is for the failure of a long-time local business. Native foods is delicious, but Earwax had that somethin'-somethin' in it's vintage look and artistic flare. RIP Earwax.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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