A few weeks ago, the state closed Gioco after the owners of the popular South Loop Italian restaurant failed to pay certain taxes to the state. Right around the same time, Red Light closed and we subsequently spoke with KDK Restaurant group partner, Jerry Kleiner, who said Red Light would not re-open, but that he and his partners were meeting to sort out what would happen with Gioco.
Word now comes that the restaurant may get a second chance. Yesterday, Penny Pollack tweeted that the restaurant will re-open April 27 and that Kleiner told her they "spruced it up." Sloopin also notes that a sign went up in the window confirming the date and that the restaurant would remodel. However, that site links to an article on the Chicago Journal, which has an entirely different story.
Chicago Journal spoke with Susan Hofer of the Illinois Department of Revenue on April 20 who said that Gioco's tax issues have not yet been settled and that the restaurant group also needs to pay back taxes from Red Light before the state will allow Gioco to re-open.
"All I can tell you is that when it comes to a point where that a license is revoked, the revenue department feels it’s moved as far as it can with talking,” Hofer told the Journal. "If they want to reopen, it would have to be check-writing actions. That’s kind of where we are."
So where are we? We called Kleiner to hear it from the horse's mouth ourselves. "We're opening," he said. "When the state gives you the go, they give you the go. We're not going to say we're opening if we're not." Regarding the comment about Red Light, Kleiner said the two restaurants operate as separate corporations with different partners; we always thought KDK was one company. That's a bit of a head scratcher. "KDK was just an old name," Kleiner said.
The team has been doing construction for the last two weeks to refresh the space—with new paint, new art work, new banquettes, light fixtures and menu items—but keeping with the "integrity of the old speakeasy. After 11 or 12 years, it needed a little attention, but we're not taking away from the look." So there you go.
· Gioco Shuttered by State [~EChi~]
· Red Light Shutters, Possibly For Good [~EChi~]
· Penny Pollack [Twitter]
· Gioco to Open Next Week? Or Not? Who Knows... [Sloopin]
· South Loop Restaurant Pioneer Still Shuttered [Chicago Journal]