Ownership of Paramount Room, the Michelin Bib Gourmand-winning gastropub pioneer, said it would close September 30 after 10 years at 415 N. Milwaukee Ave. in River West. Co-owner Jon Young told the Tribune that rising costs and a need to focus on his two Roscoe Village operations, Kitsch’n on Roscoe and Volo Restaurant Wine Bar are the reasons for the closure.
Opened in a former speakeasy in what was then sort of no-man’s land stretch of Milwaukee Avenue, the bi-level space offered chef/partner Stephen Dunne’s refined take on hearty gastropub fare and accompanied it with a hard-edge rock-and-roll soundtrack and outstanding beer list.
The current menu includes ale-steamed mussels, a wagyu burger, pulled pork-smothered poutine, steak tartare, and tempura-fried green beans. The elevated fare received numerous accolades over the years, including the Michelin Guide's coveted Bib Gourmand rating, which recognizes "quality restaurants that have menu items that offer two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less (excluding tax and gratuity)."
But as Young told Eater this morning, achieving that level of cuisine was part of its problem. “It’s trickier being a chef-driven concept. It does make it a little bit harder keeping that price point in the middle ground.”
Another problem, according to Young: “getting press as a 10-year-old restaurant.” Though Paramount Room was well-regarded for the bar program -- which included a “No Crap on Tap” rotating beer program and emphasis on seasonal craft beers – people often put in the category of a “hidden treasure.” It made Eater Chicago’s map of Most Overlooked Cocktail Bars in 2014.
So while rising labor costs, along with a changing neighborhood has made the calculus too difficult to remain in business, Young says the final months will be busy ones for Paramount. Look for its regular $1 oyster happy hour specials to continue as well as a 10-year anniversary barbecue on August 27. “Our plan is to go out with some events and get friends and industry people to come and raise a glass and celebrate,” he says.
Eaters and drinkers have a little more than two months to visit before its gone.