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Jimmy Bannos Sr. Regrets Heaven On Seven Expansions

Chef writes that upon reflection, he would never open in Wrigleyville and Rush Street.

Jimmy Bannos Sr.
Jimmy Bannos Sr.
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Heaven on Seven's Jimmy Bannos Sr. shared a few thoughts on expansion in a wide-ranging first-person piece that appears in Serious Eats. While it seemed like a good idea at the time, Bannos wrote that he regrets opening Heaven on Seven's Rush Street and Wrigleyville locations.

The piece spans Heaven on Seven's 35 years of serving Creole-style food in Chicago, and the interview took place after Heaven on Seven's Rush Street location closed. Bannos didn't touch upon the reasons for the shutter. He also didn't mention the legal battles surrounding The Purple Pig.

But the piece still covers much, especially regarding expansion, and Bannos felt he spread himself and the brand too thin. Upon reflection, Bannos wishes he never partnered with Rich Melman in 1997 to open Heaven on Rush—the new place was too big and flashy, and " it wasn't a joint like the first." He also talked about operating a restaurant near Wrigley Field, where baseball leads to traffic delays and a crowd mostly hungry for sports bar food like hot dogs and chicken wings, and writes "I wish we'd just done po' boys and gumbo...I probably just wouldn't have opened there to begin with."

Heaven On Seven

111 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60602 (312) 263-6443 Visit Website

Heaven On Seven on Rush

600 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 280-7774 Visit Website

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