As corporate restaurants and offices continue to flood Fulton Market, one of the historic street’s pioneering independent restaurants will soon say goodbye. La Sirena Clandestina, the beloved Brazilian restaurant that was a mainstay on the Eater Chicago 38 for years, will close at the end of December, chef/owner John Manion says. It originally opened in October 2012 and recently celebrated its seventh birthday.
“[La Sirena Clandestina] is a snapshot of a Chicago that doesn’t exist anymore — at least around here,” Manion says. “The wheels of progress keep turning.”
Manion says the 40-seat independent restaurant’s lease is coming to an end and that renewing it isn’t in the cards. Fulton Market’s corporate development boom, notably including the 1K Fulton building that houses Google’s Midwest headquarters across the street from La Sirena Clandestina, has contributed to higher rents in the area.
“We’ve always known there was an end to this [restaurant],” Manion says. “[Real estate in] the neighborhood [costs] $80 a foot. The space needs to be redone to maximize seats and efficiency. It didn’t make a lot of sense for us.”
It was one of the restaurant pioneers on Fulton Market when it opened in 2012. It garnered countless accolades, including being a mainstay on the Eater Chicago 38 for years, for acclaimed Brazilian and South American food, a top-notch beverage program, and a room that Manion describes as “magic.” He says that the current food and beverage programs there are “the best we’ve ever done” and that the restaurant is still busy.
Manion’s second restaurant — El Che Steakhouse and Bar — will remain open nearby on Washington Street, and he also has a stall opening soon at the forthcoming Time Out Market in the neighborhood. La Sirena Clandestina still has two months in business and Manion and his team plan to host pop-ups, musical performances, and more special events before it closes.
“It’s sad, it’s bittersweet, but it’s a positive thing too,” Manion says.