Old Town's about to lose "a touch of Paris," as Bistrot Margot will close at year's end on Wells Street, bringing a 16-year run to an end. The old-school French spot, owned by the wife-and-husband team of Ann and chef Joseph Doppes, will host its final service on Dec. 31. Management informed staff of the decision about a month ago.
"We've just been super grateful to have been there and to be such a big part of the community, to be such a big part of the family," said restaurant general manager Morgan Garbrielson.
Developers continue to feast on Wells Street, and Garbrielson said he didn't know what the drag would look like in coming years, as demographics shift. Developers have approached the Doppes to purchase the building and have plans that don't include the continued operation of a French restaurant. There's no word on who approached the Doppes.
New projects in the area include Brendan Sodikoff's steak-centric collaboration with Four Corners Tavern Group at 1500 N. Wells St., the sports bar addition to The Fireplace Inn at 1448 N. Wells St., The Happy Camper, Buzz Bait, The Vig and Pomp & Circumstance. Gabrielson also mentioned news that O'Brien's Restaurant & Bar could soon close, thanks to plans for a boutique hotel. There's no timetable for a shutter for the iconic Irish spot, but it further demonstrates the changing face of Old Town.
Back in 2009, the restaurant faced closure due to a foreclosure suit, but battled back and continued operation when loyal customers showed an outpour of appreciation. Bistrot Margot continues to take reservations for their final service. The Doppes, who briefly ran a location in Naperville until it closed in 2006, could reopen Bistrot Margot at a future date, but for now, au revoir seems appropriate.
"People have such a strong connection to Bistrot Margot, we have so many lovely, wonderful regulars," Gabrielson said. "We didn't want to go without having a chance to let everyone say goodbye."