Here’s another shake up on Randolph Restaurant Row in the West Loop: chef Bill Kim and Cornerstone Restaurant Group are closing the popular BellyQ today after more than six years. Urbanbelly, the more casual noodle and dumpling restaurant inside BellyQ, will also close on New Year’s Eve at 1400 W. Randolph Street. Prior to BellyQ, the same ownership — aided by basketball legend Michael Jordan — ran OneSixtyBlue in the building.
Cornerstone Restaurant Group plans to sell and redevelop the building, according to a news release. The Wicker Park location of Urbanbelly will continue to operate. Urbanbelly originated at a still-vacant strip mall space in Avondale before moving operations in 2013 to the West Loop. Kim closed sister restaurant Belly Shack in Bucktown in 2016. It was a casual spot underneath the CTA’s Western Blue Line stop that crossed the flavors of his Korean heritage with those from his wife’s — Yvonne Cadiz-Kim’s — roots.
BellyQ featured a large dining area, lounge, and a few grill tables to dig into Kim’s version of Korean barbecue. Kim told the Tribune that he wants to expand the Belly brand outside of Chicago, working with retail and wholesale spaces. There might be airport and stadium locations, too. Cornerstone is also working with Crate & Barrel on a restaurant at its suburban Oak Brook location. Kim will be in charge of that project.
Cornerstone had a 21-year run at the building. The company continues to partner with Jordan on his steakhouses. Regardless of Sir Airness’ feelings, today is BellyQ fans’ last day to visit and Urbanbelly fans have two months before another Randolph Street stalwart vanishes.