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Brandon Baltzley and Team Leaving Mado Over Money Issues

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Photo: Zagat

Just a month after Brandon Baltzley took over Mado when Rob and Allie Levitt abruptly quit, the former New York chef is taking his team and leaving the restaurant effective today.

Baltzley said he returned to the restaurant today after being out sick the last couple of days to get a phone call from owner David Richards telling Baltzley to fire the entire kitchen staff, even the dishwasher, and to run Mado with a bare bones staff of himself and the sous chef. Baltzley also claims that none of his purveyors will deliver food because they haven't been paid and that some members of the front-of-house staff said their checks have bounced. The kitchen staff, however, has been paid up through last week, he said.

Baltzley claims that Richards told him the payroll was too high for their sales numbers. However, Baltzley said he and the manager ran the numbers last week and "that we've profited a little bit and have been self sustaining. We haven't been in the negative since we opened," Baltzley said.

So what's going on? Baltzley feels Richards is neglecting his two other restaurants, including Sweets & Savories, to focus on his new restaurant, Bluette in Wilmette, which just opened on Dec. 1 (interesting though that Groupon ran an offer on Nov. 17 for the yet-to-open North Shore spot).

"It's a bummer. We're really super depressed about it," Baltzley said. "It's a big blow that we can't produce what we want to produce." So until they land at another restaurant, Baltzley said he and his crew will do some underground dinners and is talking to Delicious, which rents out their kitchen on monday nights to different chefs to do pop-up restaurants.

As for reservations, Baltzley said he's calling guests (as well as the servers) this afternoon to let them know the restaurant won't be open tonight. And unless Richards can find someone quickly to step in, Baltzley thinks Mado will shut its doors for good. "I was trying to figure out how I could buy out this place, but I think it's going to close when we leave today," he said.

We were unable to reach Richards for comment at press time.

· New York Chef Brandon Baltzley Takes Over Kitchen at Mado [~EChi~]
· Rob & Allie Levitt Depart Mado; Set to Open a Butcher Shop [~EChi~]
· Bluette Opens on the North Shore [Dish]

UPDATE: Baltzley and his team will take over the kitchen at Delicious on Friday Dec. 17. They'll prepare a five-course meal (with possible extras) for $50. To reserve your spot, call Delicious at 312-787-8200 starting Dec. 10 after 4 p.m.


1647 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL