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Restaurant Experts Name Chicago's Saddest Closures of 2016

As 2016 fades into 2017, Eater surveyed a group of critics, writers, and all around experts for their take on the past year. We asked them eight questions: from Top Standbys to Top Newcomers, from Best Meals to Saddest Closures. All answers will be revealed—cut, pasted, unedited and unadulterated—by the time we pop the cork on 2017.

Many, many people were sad about Bunny the Micro Bakery closing
Many, many people were sad about Bunny the Micro Bakery closing
Marc Much

What was the saddest restaurant closure of 2016?

Anthony Todd, Chicagoist: The Parthenonhands down. I have been going there since I was a baby, my parents had their first date there, and to see it destroyed because of family infighting, greed and bad management makes me sad every time I think of it.

Lisa Shames, CS: It's a toss up between Bom Bolla, Tete Charcuterie and Bunny the Micro Bakery, all of them were doing something different than any other restaurant in Chicago and doing it really well. They all broke my heart when they closed. Someone really needs to get some vermouth on tap STAT.

Chris LaMorte, UrbanDaddy: Ugh. So many. So let's say it's a tie: Cape Cod Room, Belly Shack, and Perennial Virant, which closes at the end of the year. And let me add, that while I haven't eaten there in ages, Parthenon was probably my first introduction to Greek food beyond the gyro.

Penny Pollack, Chicago magazine: Bunny: Closed after three months. Positively tragic. Cape Cod Room: It was probably time, but we are losing a piece of history. Fortunately Gibsons and Hugo's have picked up the Bookbinder soup mantle. Perennial Virant: Wasn't this the darling of the organic, local, sustainable set? Hang in there, North Pond.

Elizabeth Atkinson, Time Out Chicago: Bunny.

Michael Nagrant, RedEye: Parthenon. Parthenon invented flaming saganaki and popularized gyros. Instead of serving frozen and pre-made gyros, they still created the cones in from scratch. The orange zest-infused sausage made in house was the finest in encased meats. Owner Chris Liakouras was a Chicago character of the finest vintage. I mean, the Parthenon put out a vinyl LP back in the day. I can see Paul Kahan doing that someday, but I don’t think any other existing Chicago restaurant pressed vinyl.

Michael Gebert, Fooditor: The best almost-unknown Thai restaurant in town, In-On Thai, closed when its Lakeview building was torn down. It may be coming back, I hope so, because it had some regional specialities we've never seen anywhere else and was just super-tasty all around.

Morgan Olsen, RedEye: Losing Belly Shack is the biggest bummer. On a personal note, I was sad to see Oak + Char bite the dust (I really, really liked those MSG chicken wings).

Chandra Ram, Plate: Tied between the announced closures of Perennial Virant and Trenchermen. Paul Virant and Pat Sheerin are both super-nice guys who happen to be extremely talented chefs, and Chicago is going to be a little less great without their food.

Matt Kirouac, Zagat: Cantina 1910 was sad. It closed the week after I finally went there for the first time and fell in love with it. Not entirely surprising though, considering how enormously ambitious (and literally enormous) the concept was.

Oak + Char

217 W Huron St, Chicago, IL 60654 (312) 643-2427 Visit Website

The Parthenon

314 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60661 (312) 726-2407 Visit Website

Cape Cod Room

140 E Walton Pl, Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 787-2200 Visit Website

Perennial Virant

1800 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614 312 981 7070 Visit Website

Bom Bolla

1501 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (773) 698-6601 Visit Website

Bunny The Micro Bakery

2928 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60657 (617) 936-3464 Visit Website


2039 W North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622 Visit Website

Belly Shack

1912 N Western Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 773 252 1414