LINCOLN PARK— A longtime Chicago barbecue restaurant, one that launched after the owners won a barbecue competition started by legendary Chicago newspaperman Mike Royko, has closed its Lincoln Park location. Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs quietly closed last month at 655 W. Armitage Ave. It was the first location for Robinson’s, which grew out of winning Ribfest, the event Royko organized in 1982.
Robinson’s just opened a new location in Oak Park, so it’s not goodbye altogether. There’s also a Robinson’s food truck. However, barbecue in Chicago has changed through the years, both in quality and popularity. Robinson’s quality took a dip in Lincoln Park. As more pitmasters populated the city’s North Side—not to say anything about the continued excellence of aquarium-smoking barbecuers on the South Side—Robinson’s was no longer as special.
There’s no word what’s going to happen to the building. There’s a “for lease” sign and the phone number’s been disconnected. A worker at the Oak Park location confirmed that the restaurant is closed for good. A message on their website says it’s only a temporary measure. There’s also a mini location inside Union Station.
NOBLE SQUARE— Sushi lovers are mourning the closure of Usagi Ya, the pan-Asian spot on Milwaukee Avenue, near Division and Ashland. The cute sushi spot opened before Wicker Park’s gentrification. The space had been for sale for months. The restaurant featured an unusual amount of vegan sushi as well.
There’s already plans for the space with new ownership. A liquor license application is on record for Flying Dragon, as it appears the replacement restaurant will in some way continue the pan-Asian theme. They’d be doing business under the name Jieyi Sushi.
NORWOOD PARK— Quietly, at the end of 2016, Sally’s Pancake and Waffle House closed, just west of the Harlem Avenue exit on the Kennedy Expressway in Norwood Park. The popular breakfast house at 5454 N. Harlem Ave. will be replaced by the chain Cozy Corner Restaurant and Pancake House, according to DNAinfo. Sally’s had been around for more than 40 years.
OAK PARK— After seven years in, The Kinderhook Tap in Oak Park is closing. The last day is Sunday, Feb. 3. The owners posted a Facebook goodbye explaining that they’re concentrating on operating Starved Rock Brewing in LaSalle.