After nearly one year in business, owner Jason Prah is putting Bascule out to pasture. Prah, the award-winning sommelier who opened the Taylor Street wine bar and restaurant with partner Scott Harney in January 2015, says the restaurant started strong but business eventually dwindled in the "challenging" UIC-driven neighborhood. Bascule's last day in business will be New Year's Eve.
"We were crazy busy when we opened but after a few months the breaks went on," Prah says. "Our chef changed but the product didn't change. I anticipated that the fall would have an uptick in business but it just didn't happen."
The slow summer and fall business led to depleted capital for Bascule, and Prah decided to pull the plug and cut his losses this week. "I had taken it as far as I could go and just didn't see the end of the tunnel," he says.
Bascule garnered critical and customer praise in its one year in business, but the wine-focused spot didn't draw the important student and neighborhood clientele, according to Prah. He remains confident in the concept and product, and don't be surprised to see him open another concept in the near future. "The only thing I'd change about the whole process is the location," he says.
Prah believes that the landlord already has plans for a new tenant in space at 1421 W. Taylor, which was previously home to another short-lived restaurant: Jason Chan's Urban Union. Before the next tenant is revealed, Prah is opening Bascule three more times: Tuesday, Wednesday, and New Year's Eve—which will feature live music, no food or beverage package, and an "everything must go" blowout.