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Chicago’s Restaurant Experts Share Their Biggest Dining Grievances of 2019

Frustrations include “bro-tastic” bars and Popeyes-mania

A white bowl filled with prawns, mussels, and broth.
La Sirena Clandestina’s announced closure saddened some.
La Sirena Clandestina [Official Photo]

Not all that glitters is gold. We asked Chicago’s industry writers to tell us their biggest dining grievances of 2019. Here’s what’s on the chopping block for the year.

Ariel Cheung, Plate, Chicago, Time Out Chicago, Block Club: It was really hard to see Quiote go, and it served as an important reminder that we need to patronize the established places just as much as the newcomers. I don’t want to see other favorites go the same way.

Michael Nagrant, Too many great chefs leaving behind or closing their spots, Bruce Sherman, Tony Mantuano, and La Sirena Clandestina closing for example.

Jeff Ruby, Chicago: The usual lack of graciousness. Most restaurants get this right, but the ones that don’t always stand out. I was at a new place in the West Loop that will go unnamed, and I was waiting for my table at the bar, and I moved a bar stool a few feet to sit near a friend, and the bartender absolutely lost his mind. “We don’t allow that here,” he said. Then he made me move it back. Nothing says hospitality like “We don’t allow that here.”

Titus Ruscitti, ChiBBQKing: The amount of free press that food media gave a simple fried chicken sandwich from a fast food company worth billions.

Chandra Ram, Plate: It got a little too bro-tastic for my taste. Maybe people don’t need to throw axes while drinking? Just a thought.

Morgan Olsen, Time Out Chicago: I’m disheartened by the fact that this industry is riddled with abuses of power — whether it’s something tangible, like harassment or violence, or it’s more abstract, like a toxic workplace. Bottom line: Restaurant workers deserve better.

Ji Suk Yi, WGN Radio, Sun-Times: Charcoal-infused items

La Sirena Clandestina

954 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 226-5300 Visit Website


2456 North California Avenue, , IL 60647 (312) 878-8571 Visit Website


980 North Michigan Avenue, , IL 60611 (312) 280-2750 Visit Website

North Pond

2610 North Cannon Drive, , IL 60614 (773) 477-5845 Visit Website