After about three years, a name change, and the source for one of the most memorable restaurant reviews in recent Chicago history, Ocean Cut has closed. The shutter has been rumored for more than a month, but ownership finally notified staff this morning, according to a restaurant employee. Formerly known as C Chicago, the restaurant was the upscale seafood restaurant from the ownership of Chicago Cut Steakhouse.
The swanky restaurant struggled with finding an identity inside a pricey piece of River North real estate at 20 W. Kinzie Street. Owners David Flom and Matt Moore owned Ocean Cut.
“Yes it’s true. Another restaurant group approached us with an incredible offer to take this space in a different direction,” Flom wrote in an email. “The opportunity also provided us with the ability to transition our talented staff to our other successful venues, Chicago Cut and Southern Cut. As we continue to grow our locations and our talent, we do so wishing the new owners great success.”
The name of the restaurant group hasn’t been revealed, although an industry source did suggest one in particular. There hasn’t been any confirmation. The Chicago Cut team took over the space’s lease in 2014 from Keefer’s, the restaurant that previously occupied the space.
Ocean Cut has gone through several chefs including Bill Montagne (Nico Osteria), Dean Zanella (Southern Cut), Amanda Downing (Bistronomic), Jason Paskewitz (Pearl Brasserie), and Dirk Flanigan (Il Coniglio). Ownership changed names from C Chicago to Ocean Cut in May 2016 to coincide with Flanigan’s arrival. That star power wasn’t enough the sustain the restaurant.
The restaurant also became great fodder for critics. Chicago’s Jeff Ruby wrote an infamous review in 2015 where he disliked all aspects of the restaurant. New York-based critic John Mariani apparently didn’t dine at the same restaurant. He gratuitously lauded the restaurant formerly known as C Chicago that same year.
Whoever takes over the space will have plenty to mold with a ton of foot traffic at Kinzie and Dearborn. Check back later for any new developments regarding the new tenant.