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Budlong Chicken Lincoln Square Closes as Evanston Location Opens Monday

A lack of foot traffic doomed the chain’s Western Avenue location

The Budlong in Lincoln Square.
Nick Fochtman/Eater Chicago

After 15 months, the Budlong Hot Chicken has shuttered its Lincoln Square location. Chain owner Jared Leonard confirmed the closure and said they pulled the plug due “to a lack of foot traffic.” The Budlong’s other locations remain unaffected.

Lincoln Square was supposed to be where Leonard would launch the Budlong brand. But after a much scrutinized business partnership, he instead opened briefly in Lakeview. That restaurant closed and he brought the Budlong to the Loop at Revival Food Hall. Another location opened in Lincoln Park in December 2016. He spent three years developing his ideas in Lincoln Square and looked at another neighborhood location before opening at 4619 N. Western Avenue. He’s also opened inside Merchandise Mart.

“All of the locations are fine, there was a lack of foot traffic in that area and we’re focusing our resources on the opening of Budlong at Northwestern,” Leonard texted on Thursday morning.

The suburban location at Northwestern University’s Norris University Canter, 1999 Campus Drive in Evanston, should open on Monday, Leonard said. Leonard also owns BBQ Supply Co. locations in West Rogers Park and Evanston. He’s moved to Denver where he’s opened restaurants including a Montreal-style smoked meat spot called Au Feu. Leonard brought Au Feu to Soldier Field for Bears season.

Block Club Chicago first noticed the shutter.

The Budlong Hot Chicken

81 South Pennsylvania Street, , CO 80209 (720) 399-2770 Visit Website

The Budlong

1008 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60614 (773) 270-9005

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