The Boarding House, the restaurant that Alpana Singh opened more than five years ago, abruptly closed on Tuesday night in River North. The swanky multi-level restaurant at 720 N. Wells Street was known for its wine list, vegetarian menus, and Singh’s involvement. The shutter comes a day after a Cook County judge issued a citation against the restaurant’s owners to pay $117,723 in back rent to the building’s landlords who had filed a lawsuit against the restaurant in March.
The ongoing lawsuit seeks back rent extending back to December, according to court records. The restaurant owners in October 2015 had agreed to a five-year extension to bring the current lease to January 2021. The courts on Monday issued a judgement in favor of the landlord, in this case a trust formed by Eugene Chesrow, a well-known commodities trader. The next court date is August 6.
Singh is the master sommelier whose popularity rose after 10 seasons as host of PBS Chicago’s Check, Please! She texted on Wednesday afternoon writing that she sold her stake in Boarding House in October. That’s the same time she sold her stake in Seven Lions, a downtown Chicago restaurant. Singh still owns Terra & Vine in suburban Evanston. She also texted the same statement she shared with the Tribune thanking staff and customers: “We will definitely miss everyone but leave with incredible, truly unforgettable and loving memories in our hearts,” part of her statement read.
Singh added that she wasn’t “able to answer questions pertaining to the restaurant’s legal matters.” She directed inquiries to co-owner John Ward. Ward wrote, via email, that he also couldn’t discuss the legal proceedings. He expressed shock in the shutter, writing that The Boarding House “was a great place and I feel for my employees and my investors.” An email to the plaintiff’s attorneys wasn’t returned.
Singh is returning as host of Check, Please!, but her first restaurant will not return.