Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Sunday, April 14

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Closings Thu Oct 29 2015

The End of a Reservations-Only Era: Burt's Place

I had heard to be patient. Call and hope they answer the phone, and make sure you have your reservation date and pizza order ready, even though there was no website to use (I found a menu that a member of LTH Forum had uploaded years back). Don't be late, pay in cash, and don't even think about adding on anything to your order once you get there. In an era of super sizes and selling anything and everything off a menu, Burt's Place went against the grain. Overseen by the heavily bearded and heavily introverted Burt Katz, whose pizza pedigree was responsible for the distinctive, caramelized cheese crust that put Pequod's on the map, Burt's Place was full of wild rules and wild characters; Burt's wife Sharon boasted repeatedly during my one (and only) visit that "people tell me I'm on TV all the time" (Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" made a visit a few years back) as she served pizza on an IHOP-branded plate, and RC Cola that I was positive came from a two-liter bottle. The room was dimly lit, nearly silent except for a small radio, dusty and full of yellowed newspaper clippings and old advertisements pinned to the walls. I felt like I was in a basement of a beloved, quirky grandfather, but instead we were in a small storefront in Morton Grove. As pizzas baked in the oven, Burt and Sharon sat in a booth in the back, quietly staring at the two occupied tables in the room. It was a busy night for them.

Their pizza was good--similar to Pequod's, but you could tell the ingredient quality was far better than his former business, which held court only a few blocks away. After closing abruptly several months ago (with the notion that it would be temporary), it was announced today that Burt's will close permanently. It's a shame for pizza lovers everywhere, who clearly knew that a trip to Burt's was well worth the effort. If you got a table, or even a takeout reservation, it wasn't because you happened upon this place; it's because you researched, planned, and spent several afternoons on the phone at work, hoping someone answered your call. I'm glad to say I was one of the lucky ones.

Robyn Nisi

Closings Tue Jun 30 2015

No More Commuter Bar: Metro Deli Closes

Metro Deli, billed as "Union Station's official commuter bar," closed on June 19.

"I'm not sure if it was a Chicago institution, but it sure felt like one," says reader Larry Dahlke. "The food was actually pretty good, and the fact that they had live music was impressive. It definitely had a Boulevard of Broken Dreams vibe, but it was my favorite place to go for lunch, and I'm going to miss it."

Metro Deli was owned by Schaumburg-based Ala Carte Entertainment, which last year sold Castle -- the nightclub you may know better as Excalibur -- to Four Corners Management. This closure leaves Ala Carte with a total of 20 restaurants and bars, but takes its Chicago locations down to three: Lion Head Pub and The Apartment in Lincoln Park and Moretti's in Edison Park.

Andrew Huff

Closings Fri Jun 26 2015

Nightwood Closing

The Pilsen eatery is closing July 11 after six years in business. Owners Jason Hammel, Matt Eisler and Kevin Heisner made the announcement on the restaurant's Facebook page this morning, and ended with the following:

Nightwood was named after a mysterious and bizarre changeling of a novel, with the thinking that this space could develop and evolve as it grew. While we announce the last chapter today, we anticipate the possibility of a new plot line in the future.

As for us? We look forward to spending more time with our families and children and focusing on upcoming projects. Stay tuned.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (1)

Closings Tue Oct 21 2014

SmallBar Division to Close

small bar division

The owners of SmallBar Division, one of the bars that helped revitalize Division Street in Wicker Park, announced today that they are closing and selling the bar. The last day is Thursday, Nov. 13. Smallbar Logan Square, which is owned by a different group, is unaffected by the closure and will remain open.

Despite its legacy on Division, in an interview with Good Beer Hunting, owner Phil McFarland said that the bar has been fighting against the current of the area's nightlife trends in recent years. "I wanted to prove that what Division St. has become could co-exist with what we wanted to do," McFarland said. "So we've been fighting hard to maintain a hold, and relevancy on the street. And we have, but I'm looking to have a business that's growing, not fighting to survive."

Before it closes, Smallbar will host two more events. One will be a "pop-up taproom" Nov. 3 with Firestone Walker, with eight beers from the California brewery on tap, including four rarities only available that night. Then on Nov. 13, the bar will throw a Festival of Barrel-Aged Beers pre-party as its final sendoff, with rare barrel-aged beers, brewers from several local breweries on hand, and a general celebratory vibe.

Andrew Huff

Closings Tue May 06 2014

The End of an Encased Meat Era at Hot Doug's

hotdougs_1.jpgIt doesn't make sense. Restaurants close for sad reasons: a lease cannot be renewed, a pivotal chef jumps ship, or quite simply, the place loses its spark. But for a restaurant to close when it has long lines of customers waiting patiently outside each day, industry notoriety, and (most importantly) no real competitors seems downright bizarre. But Doug Sohn still plans to close Hot Doug's forever on Friday, Oct. 3.

What started out in a small storefront in Roscoe Village turned into a testament to the versatility of hot dogs, from your standard ballpark frank to the more exotic fare -- yak, boar, venison and kangaroo are among the current specials. Hot Doug's had a lot to admire: duck fat fries, hot dogs named after Britney Spears, the kitschy interior. Many celebrities have visited -- from actress Anna Kendrick (who ate her namesake hotdog) to Anthony Bourdain, who waited in line like a commoner for his food. You've been there. I've been there.

Continue reading this entry »

Robyn Nisi

Closings Tue Feb 11 2014

Kabocha to Close Saturday

Shin Thompson cannot get a break. After briefly turning over operations of his beloved (now closed) Logan Square restaurant Bonsoiree to Aria alum Beverly Kim and husband Johnny Clark in 2012 (who in turn left a few months into the gig), his next chapter has also shut it doors; Kabocha, the "Japanese brasserie" concept that opened less than a year ago, will close permanently after this Saturday's dinner service. Thompson continues as a partner on Bonsoiree successor Table, Donkey and Stick.

Robyn Nisi

Closings Thu Jan 02 2014

End of Crepes in Andersonville; South Shore Tries to Replace Dominick's

"I'm done with crepes," read the handwritten note posted on the door of Andersonville's Icosium Kafe, which has closed after eight years. Icosium's closing is another hit for dining in the neighborhood, as the Ann Sather location up the street closes Sunday after 25+ years in business (the Belmont, Broadway and Granville locations remain open). On the topic of closings, residents in South Shore have banded together to find a new tenant for the now-empty Dominick's at 71st and Jeffrey.

Robyn Nisi

Closings Wed Dec 11 2013

CroissantGate Reaches a Final Chapter

Logan Square's La Boulangerie, which kicked up dirt over a noncompete clause with its neighbor New Wave Coffee when it opened in 2010, will be closing at the end of the year. Management isn't disclosing the reason, but alluded to a "settlement" with New Wave. La Boulangerie's Lakeview location will remain open.

Robyn Nisi

Closings Fri Aug 23 2013

Restaurant Closure Roundup: La Creperie, Marquette Inn, Frida's

closedHere's a quick round-up of restaurant closures this week, some expected, some not.

La Creperie closed its doors for good on Thursday. The French restaurant, which opened in 1974 at 2845 N. Clark St., announced last month that it would close, as owner Germain Roignant retired back to his native Normandy and son Jeremy and his family moved to California. The loss became even more tragic when Jeremy died of a heart attack Aug. 7.

Today was the last day for Marquette Inn, 60 W. Adams St. One of the last diners in the Loop, the Marquette served breakfast all day, and provided many Loop workers with a filling meal for cheap.

Frida's, 3755 N. Southport Ave., abruptly closed this week, apparently due to high rent. This comes less than two years after the restaurant's original Andersonville location shuttered for the same reason. [via]

Andrew Huff

Closings Thu Aug 15 2013

Andersonville Gets a Little Less Swedish

Everyone, calm down: the three other Ann Sathers will remain open, but the cinnamon roll and Swedish meatball kingpin will shut down operations at its Clark and Foster location and close at the end of this year.

Robyn Nisi

Closings Tue Aug 06 2013

Grahamwich '86d

grahamwich656er645.jpgGrahamwich, the Graham Elliot-helmed River North sandwich spot, has closed after nearly three years in business (sometimes to my surprise, given the lackluster output). The other kids in the family, Graham Elliot and Graham Elliot bistro, remain open.

Robyn Nisi

Closings Mon Jul 22 2013

West Town Tavern Closes Up Shop

West Town Tavern has closed after 11 years in the biz, owners Drew and Susan Goss announced today in an email. They also hinted that a new outfit has already made plans to take over their Chicago Avenue space.

Robyn Nisi

Closings Mon Jan 28 2013

City Provisions Abruptly Closes

City Provisions Logo.gifOn Monday at 6:30pm, chef-owner Cleetus Friedman sent out an email to subscribers announcing that City Provisions, his locavore deli at 1818 W. Wilson, was closed effective immediately.

While I gave everything I had every day of the week to all of my staff, vendors, and guests, in the end I found that sustainability - an undying commitment to what that means - wasn't sustainable. While it looked great from the outside, on the inside we faced many challenges. The praise that hangs on my wall and the Internet speaks to my passion, and that will never change.

I could have bought different milk. Different eggs. I could have used non eco-friendly parchment paper. I could sent everything to landfill. I could have used an inferior product. I could have had a Sysco truck deliver my food and have one person work a deep fryer and microwave. I consciously chose to do things one way. Maybe I was stubborn. I was committed to doing what I believed to be the right thing.

Real food takes not just passion, but labor. And these numbers add up. The fact is, I put the same level of ingredients and labor into a sandwich, chips and pickle that my colleagues are putting into a $25 entree. Perhaps we, as a community, are not prepared to take on the challenge of a $15 - $20 lunch ticket, but I know I tried to do it the best way, true to my ideals and focused on creating the best product possible.

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff / Comments (4)

Closings Mon Jan 07 2013

Great Lake Moving, Brand BBQ Closed for Repairs, R.I.P. Knew

3284532559_4ee6aefd5a_n.jpgCrain's reports that Great Lake (1477 W. Balmoral) is closing its Andersonville location at the end of this month, reportedly due to repair-related gripes with their landlord. Their new location is unknown at this point, but I'm sure it doesn't mean the wait will improve. Additionally, Logan Square's Knew (2556 W. Fullerton), the second act of the former Think, has closed. Elsewhere in the neighborhood, Brand BBQ (2824 W. Armitage) has closed--although the sign in the window says it's just for renovations, I have a feeling that it's for good.

Picture by Sandy Weisz.

Robyn Nisi

Business Fri Nov 09 2012

Rats. Cellar Rat is Going Out of Business.

Cellar Rat, the fantastic, independently owned wine shop in Wicker Park, is going out of business. Help owner Dean Schlabowske (who's also in the Waco Brothers) deal with the financial blow by stopping by the store one last time to stock up for the holidays.

Sunny McDaniel

Closings Wed Aug 29 2012

Andersonville's Premise Closes, Sold to LM

After only four months in business and a trail of mixed reviews, Andersonville's Premise abruptly closed Sunday night to the surprise of its staff; chef Brian Runge told the Reader that Premise had record sales Saturday evening, and less than a week later, the Graham Elliot alum is out of work. LM Bistro has purchased Premise and plans to change the space and menu into a French concept called Brasserie 54 by mid-September. Given the bland meal I had at LM-helmed Troquet a few weeks ago, I imagine Premise's successor should be called The Revolving Door. Le sigh.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (1)

Closings Fri Jul 13 2012

Hello, and Now Goodbye

Logan Square's Ciao Napoli Pizzeria will be closing their doors after tomorrow night's service.

Robyn Nisi

Closings Mon Jan 16 2012

Peeking Behind Paper: Bagel on Damen Ravenswood Closes, Asado Coffee Remodels

papersigns_bagelondamen_asadocoffee.jpgTwo storefronts with paper signs on the door, two very different outcomes.

Last week the Ravenswood outpost of Bagel on Damen, which opened at 4639 N. Damen in late 2010, had a handwritten note stating that the shop would be closed until Jan. 10 for remodeling. When I stopped by on the 11th, the sign was still up and the restaurant looked deserted -- and there was little sign of a remodel. The next day the sign was gone and the space has been dark ever since. A call to the Bucktown location confirmed that it is permanently closed.

Meanwhile, a handwritten sign also appeared on the door at Asado Coffee, 1432 W. Irving Park Rd., in the last couple weeks. It read, "Asado Coffee is currently reworking the space and experimenting with new roasts. Look for our reopening in the next few weeks." While the note sounded more promising, the paper over the door and windows could have been hiding anything from the specified remodeling to a full tear-out and closure. It wouldn't have been the first time a business closed for good under the guise of a remodel -- see above for a handy example.

Fortunately, updates on Asado's Facebook page show that the remodeling is real, and it's almost complete. They're looking toward a February grand re-opening. Hopefully the changes include more seating for customers. Stay tuned for that.

Andrew Huff

Closings Mon Nov 21 2011

Moving East... on West Belmont Ave

images-2bhb.jpegDid you hear the news? Announced a few days ago in their client newsletter, the beloved Roscoe Village location of The Bleeding Heart Bakery will be moving. You only have a few weeks left to get your fix of the Belmont and Damen Ave store (at 1955 W Belmont), however don't fret too much. They're not moving far. With a new location set to open sometime "this year" at 1351 W. Belmont (what used to be the Paper Boy store location), this new space will be dubbed "The Original Bleeding Heart Bakery". The naming is meant to illustrate the goal of the new space to function as a sort of test kitchen, concocting new and exciting products for the other locations. Clientele will be able to watch pastry construction unfold before their eyes with a completely glassed in kitchen. Can't wait? Well sign up for the newsletter already so you can be the first to hear the news on the official opening (see site for details). That's not enough? Well, hopefully one of their other locations will be sufficient to tide you over while you wait. Find them in West Town (1916 W Chicago Ave Chicago, IL 60622), Oak Park (1010 North Blvd Oak Park, IL 60301), and Elmhurst (116 S York St Elmhurst, IL 60126).

Katie Johnson

Food Trucks Wed Oct 26 2011

Two Trucks Enter, One Truck Leaves

Chicago's food truck fleet grows by two this week, just as news broke that one truck was closing up shop.

Wow Bao, Lettuce Entertain You's popular Asian bun concept, launches its food truck (or van) today at 11:30am at 600 W. Chicago Ave., aka Groupon headquarters. The truck will sell two-bao boxes for $5 -- which seems a little steep since they're $1.49 each in the restaurant. Delivery charge, I suppose. The truck will also sell housemade ginger ale for $3 and bottled water for $1. In a nice twist, it'll take cash or credit. Follow @baomouth for further details.

ducknroll.jpgOn Thursday, Oct. 27, the new DucknRoll truck makes its debut with a party from 6 to 8pm in front of Calumet Photo, 1111 N. Cherry St. on Goose Island. The truck starts official lunch service on Monday the 31st, offering up a range of Vietnamese-inspired bánh mí, adzuki bean-cinnamon donuts and mango-lychee salsa. Keep up with it at @ducknrolltruck.

Meanwhile, Darius Williams, owner of the Cupcake Gallery, Uptown Pie Co. and the Pie Machine food truck, announced via a PDF on his site that he's closing up shop. The truck has been sold, and the stores' last day will be Nov. 27. Williams' cupcakes and pies will be available on the Mama Green's Goodies truck starting today through Nov. 27.

Andrew Huff / Comments (1)

Closings Wed Sep 07 2011

Flourish, While You Still Can...

Flourish Bakery will be closing its doors for good at 5pm on Sunday (9/11). The Edgewater bakery cafe will be open during normal business hours the remainder of the week (Monday-Saturday 7:30am-8pm; Sunday 8am-5pm). Unfortunately, due to growing food costs and economic realities, the bakery is no longer able to keep its doors open, despite introducing a direct-to-home fresh bread delivery service and family night dinner events for the neighborhood in the past year. Flourish, you will be sorely missed.

Katie Johnson

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.

Andrew Huff / Comments (11)

Closings Wed Jun 29 2011

Old Town Deathwatch: 33 Club

Owning a restaurant is tough. Really, really tough, in fact. And apparently it isn't necessarily any easier for a wealthy restaurateur like Jerry Kleiner, either. If you're not familiar, Kleiner is the man behind Carnivale, Gioco and the now-defunct 33 Club, which very quietly closed its doors this month. A note on its website reads: "It is with regret that The 33 Club announces it has closed for business. We thank all of our patrons for their loyalty and support. We enjoyed serving you and wish you all the best. We hope to see you again down the road."

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Carlin / Comments (3)

Closings Tue May 24 2011

Kith and Kin Closes Its Doors

kith-n-kin-chicago.jpgFrom their Facebook page: "We have to start by saying Thank You. We have had the most incredible fans during our run with Kith and Kin and closing the doors was not an easy thing to do. As of May 24th, 2011 we have officially closed Kith and Kin. We appreciate all of your loyal patronage and it truly was an amazing experience to serve you." You can read the whole sad, sordid tale on Eater.

Andrew Carlin / Comments (3)

Openings Thu May 12 2011

Vegan Thai Coming Soon

Sushi and Thai restaurant Umaiya Cafe, 1605 W. Montrose, has closed, and signs in the windows indicate it will soon reopen as Urban Vegan, a vegan Thai restaurant.

Only time will tell if Urban Vegan will espouse the black metal method of vegan Thai cooking.

Andrew Huff / Comments (1)

Closings Thu Mar 24 2011

Re: Treat

It seems Treat Restaurant will not be closing after all, but taking a vacation and then reopening in a larger as-yet-determined location later this year (second item).

Jen Bacher

Closings Fri Mar 18 2011

Closings: Treat Restaurant

Humboldt Park's Indian-ish and veggie-friendly BYOB spot, Treat Restaurant, will be closing on April 3rd. I'll admit to being a bit sad about this - I've always enjoyed their Daal, Poori & Eggs for brunch, as I'm still unable to master making daal at home.

Jen Bacher

Closings Wed Feb 02 2011

Palermo Bakery Closes Its Doors

palermo sign-thumb-500x299-4301.jpgBarely six months after opening its Old Town location, Palermo Bakery currently has a "For Lease" sign hanging sadly in its window. It sits next to the similarly short-lived tapas restaurant Eivissa, also vacant. Rather than becoming the next success story on North Wells Street, Palermo instead serves as a cautionary tale, speaking to the inherent challenge of opening a business in the heart of Old Town. While the warm summer months team with tourists and locals alike, the winter doldrums can be long and stagnant. If these businesses don't have a plan to, well, weather the weather, then failure isn't just likely, it's assured. Two-month old Kilwins, take heed, or you'll be the next to add to the growing inventory of Old Town real estate.

Andrew Carlin

Closings Fri Oct 29 2010

Adieu May Street Market

May Street Market, one of my favorite local, seasonal spots in West Town, is bidding us farewell this Saturday. All our best to Chef Alex Cheswick. Personally, I'll never forget that mini lavender cupcake. Any other good memories, folks?

Joanna Kanakis / Comments (2)

Closings Thu Sep 30 2010

Boston Says Goodbye to Chicago

Well, maybe. According to Chicago's Breaking Business, Boston Blackie's has begun to close some of its locations in the Chicagoland area.

After a tumultuous year of bankruptcy and political scandals, the Blackie's chain seems to be nothing short of in the red.

Leah Sallen / Comments (1)

Closings Tue Sep 28 2010

Peace Out, Hoagie Hut.

Hoagie Hut (2580 N. Lincoln Ave.), a well known Lincoln Park establishment, will be shutting its doors after Thursday.

No word yet on the Hut's future or what may take its place, but one thing's for sure: the drunks will be going to bed hungry.

Leah Sallen

Closings Mon Jul 26 2010

Rustico Grill Shuts Down

The space at 2515 North California is unlucky these days. Rustico Grill, which opened last summer in the wake of the short-lived Rustik, has closed its doors as abruptly as its predecessor. A small, handwritten sign on the window spotted over the weekend included instructions for employees to pick up their last paycheck. Yikes.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (1)

Closings Wed Dec 30 2009

Another Last Hurrah. Sort of.

I moved to the Edgewater neighborhood in 2007 and have had fun exploring and discovering all sorts of gems like Gino's North, Moody's Pub, Ras Dashen, The Sovereign, the Holzkopf Meat Market, and Standee's.

Regardless of what the sign states, Standee's isn't a restaurant. It's not a diner. It's a greasy spoon, and in the neighborhood, it's one hell of an establishment. With the faux wood paneling, old skool Coco-Cola light fixtures, the faded inkjet printed specials above the back counter, and the brick patterned linoleum, the place exudes a feeling of shabby good-naturedness.

It's the kind of place that your dad would take you. It's the kind of place that terrifies suburbanites. You can see it all here: Loyola students nursing cups of coffee while studying. Folks staggering in from the Granville Anvil and The Sovereign sauced to the gills. Last Halloween I saw one flamboyant young man mince in wearing a mesh top and angel's wings seeking change for a $10 bill, then try to con the waitress by claiming she shortchanged him.

And it's all in our neighborhood. At least until the end of the year.

Continue reading this entry »

Cliff Etters

Closings Tue Nov 10 2009

Pause Cafe Closes

Pause Café has apparently been sold. The venerable coffee shop on Berwyn closed over the weekend and will reopen as Kitchen Sink Café (1107 w. Berwyn) in early December. The new owners, Jeff and Ally, are former Pause Cafe baristas and plan on keeping many of the things that made Pause a great spot, they will continue to serve Metropolis Coffee and offer free wifi for customers. Jeff and Ally plan on stepping up the food menu with gourmet sandwiches and panini, some breakfast items, fresh salads, hot soups and fruit smoothies. The shop its self will be getting a makeover, most of the décor was being sold off during a weekend garage sale, yet some items remain such as the old phone booth, e-mail if interested.

Christian Scheuer

Closings Mon Aug 03 2009

Aigre Doux Closing

After a successful two-and-a-half years, River North restaurant Aigre Doux will be closing effective today. According to a press release, owners and chefs Mohammad Islam and Malika Ameen decided to close Aigre Doux in order to spend more time with their children; however, Ameen will run a custom-order pastries, cakes and catering business (if you need more of her signature Sticky Toffee Pudding). You can follow them through Twitter .

Robyn Nisi

Closings Tue Jul 28 2009

What's in a Name? Rustik Closes, Rustico Grill Opens

IMG_0893Logan Square's Rustik was kind of a crapshoot of a restaurant. The dimly lit and cozy space was out of an Aspen ski lodge, but the "upscale comfort" food (I hate that concept) they served fluctuated in its quality (although they had a German butter cake on their dessert menu that was worth the visit alone). The place never seemed to be truly busy.

In late May, Rustik abruptly closed, with a sign posted on its door promising a reopening in mid-June; that date was scratched out on the sign and moved up to July 15. That date came and went, too. Now there's a sign on the window stating that Rustik will reopen as Rustico Grill in late August, and reportedly the new space will be serving Spanish fare, with involvement from a partner of Mixteco Grill.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (1)

Closings Wed Jul 22 2009

Vella Cafe Closing Aug. 23

vellacafelogo.jpgVella Cafe, the popular brunch and lunch place under the Western Blue Line stop, is closing on Sunday, August 23. The restaurant's lease is up at the end of August, and Sara Voden said she and co-owner Melissa Yen have decided to move on. Voden wouldn't go into details about their future plans, other than to say that each will be going her separate way.

There will be no special event to mark Vella's closing, although Voden said, "we will do one last pizza supper on August 14. We'll be sending out an announcement to people on our email list."

Andrew Huff / Comments (4)

Closings Thu May 21 2009

The Opposite "Check, Please!" Effect

Longtime Hyde Park restaurant Dixie Kitchen will be closing June 7. Dixie Kitchen's Lansing and Evanston locations will remain open, but all is not lost for Hyde Park residents in search of Dixie Kitchen's food: owner Carol Andresen will be transferring some DK recipes to neighboring Calypso Kitchen, which she also owns. President Obama appeared on a 2001 episode of "Check, Please!" to sing its praises, although the footage was shelved because producers thought Obama "was too polished and professional and dominated the show." Well, he moved on to better media opportunities.

Robyn Nisi

Closings Tue May 12 2009

Le Lan Closed

Le Lan and Soul, its sister restaurant in Clarendon Hills, have closed, effective immediately. In a statement, owner Howard Davis said, "We had to close due to a downturn in business that we attribute to the current economic situation. We appreciate all of the great effort our staff made over the years in creating very high quality restaurants and we are grateful to all of our customers who supported us over the years."

According to the press announcement, Le Lan's chef, Chad Starling, has not yet announced his plans. The restaurant opened in 2004 under the helm of Bill Kim, now chef/owner of Urban Belly.

Andrew Huff / Comments (2)

Closings Mon Mar 09 2009

Mambo Grill to Close Temporarily

Mambo Grill, a River North restaurant of Pan-Latin cuisine, will apparently be closing temporarily. You might think that it's the economy, but in this case, it isn't. The owner, Susan Fresca, says that they were forced to close the door of this 14-year-old restaurant, currently at 421 N. Clark, because they couldn't get a 90-day lease extension from the owner of the building while the restaurant prepares to relocate to 410 N. Wells in summer. Frustrated Frasca says, "Restaurants are closing right and left and Mambo's sales are up 5% from last year. We are rocking and now we have to temporally close until the new space at 410 N. Wells is complete and operational."

While the restaurant will reopen in a larger space in summer, about three quarters of its employees will be temporarily laid off on March 31, when the restaurant close. (The rest will be absorbed by Kinzie Chophouse, which is owned by the same company as the Mambo Grill.) If you are a dedicated fan, make reservation for your last-before-the-move dinner at 312-467-9797 through March 31.

Yu Kizawa / Comments (1)

Closings Mon Mar 02 2009

Two Trotter's Projects Down, Hopefully No More to Go

Last week, it was announced that Charlie Trotter's Elysian Hotel restaurant project had been cancelled. Then on Saturday, the Loop location of Trotter's To Go (in the Equinox Fitness at 200 W. Monroe Street) changed hands. The new café is still serving a few Trotter's To Go dishes right now, but not for long; the location is going to become another outpost of the Toronto-based rice bowl and soup emporium Freshii in a few months, according to café staff. You can still go to the original Lincoln Park location, but it's sad that such a delicious Loop lunch option is now gone.

Leah Williams / Comments (1)

Drink Wed Jan 28 2009

Bad Coffee News

Starbucks announced today that it's closing 300 more stores and laying off 6,000 workers. No word yet on which Chicago stores are closing, if any, but we'll keep you posted. Follow local blog Starbucks Gossip for employee reactions and more news.

We've also learned that local chain Intelligentsia has changed the type of chocolate it's using in its mochas and hot chocolate, and the new stuff is not vegan. There has been no official announcement, but baristas have been telling customers as they order as a precaution. Vegans, consider yourself warned!

Andrew Huff / Comments (2)

News Fri Jan 16 2009

Cru Cafe & Wine Bar Closing

Cru Cafe & Wine Bar is closing its doors next Saturday, Jan. 24, due to the "economic climate," according to owner Debbie Sharpe. If you're in the market for higher-end wines, the cafe will be selling off some of their better bottles this week.

The space will be closed for three weeks for renovations and re-open as a Feast Restaurant + Bar, to complement The Goddess and Grocer next door. A new chef will be announced on Monday.

In related news, Feast Restaurant + Bar and The Goddess and Grocer are expanding to Lincoln Square at 4743 N. Lincoln Ave., right near the fountain at Giddings Plaza. Both are expected to open sometime around June. Feast will seat 120 people indoors, with sidewalk seating for 80 in good weather.

Mandy Burrell Booth

Restaurant Tue Jan 06 2009

Orange on Harrison Really Closing This Time

An inside source tells us that Orange on Harrison, which announced it was closing back in September and then never did, really will be closing after Sunday's brunch service. The owners plan to open a new Orange outpost near Fullerton and Clark in March.

Andrew Huff

GB store

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...
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Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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