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Filter Cafe Closes After More Than Two Decades in Wicker Park

But something new is stirring along Milwaukee Avenue

Filter is closed.
Ashok Selvam
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

The windows are closed up in Wicker Park, as Filter — a neighborhood caffeine fixture for more than two decades — has closed for a second time. However, this shutter may be a short lived one as a paper sign taped to the entrance teases “exciting things coming your way.” This prompts speculation that DMK Restaurants, which began managing the space earlier this year, will concept the coffeeshop. Filter relocated 10 years ago after Bank of America took over the original location at Wicker Park’s six corners intersection at 1585 N. Milwaukee Avenue. Three years later in 2010, Filter reopened at its most-recent location, a few blocks southwest at 1373 N. Milwaukee Avenue.

The sign on Filter’s door.
Ashok Selvam

Filter helped shaped the Wicker Park neighborhood long before bike lanes were painted on Milwaukee Avenue and before Starbucks arrived. The coffeeshop assumed a high-profile location at the high-trafficked intersection of Milwaukee/North/Damen acted as Wicker Park’s gateway. Increased rents pushed ownership out of that location, sending them scrambling in a search of a new home. While the new location eventually found its niche, Filter never fully recaptured the magic of the old shop which provided a prime perch for people watching in what was once one of Chicago’s quirkiest neighborhoods.

Earlier this year, DMK — a restaurant group that runs the DMK Burger Bar chain and Ada Street — opened its first coffeeshop along Elston Avenue near Lincoln Park. Werewolf Coffee Bar primarily serves workers during weekdays inside the office building where it resides. DMK hasn’t commented on if they have plans for the former Filter space. This post will be updated if DMK shares any updates.


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