Maddon’s Post couldn’t muster a full nine, as the restaurant from former Cubs manager Joe Maddon closed on Sunday, seven months after it debuted outside of Wrigley Field. The ownership group pulled the plug on the collaboration between Maddon and James Beard Award-winning chef Tony Mantuano. Maddon is no longer with the Cubs; he’s now the manager of the Los Angeles Angels. Mantuano has also left the city and moved to Italy.
A news release cited Maddon and Mantuano’s departures as the reasons behind the closure. Mantuano has cooked for luminaries including President Obama and announced in early December that he was leaving Chicago and Spiaggia. His camp was mum about Maddon’s Post’s future. After a season where the team failed to qualify for the postseason, the Cubs announced in September that Maddon would not return as manager. Maddon’s Post’s closure comes after the dreaded vote of confidence in October from management, when it said the restaurant wouldn’t drop Maddon’s name. Levy Restaurants, which worked with Mantuano on Spiaggia, operated Maddon’s Post.
This was a personal project from Maddon. He told media that he thought up the concept while talking to friends in his hometown of Hazleton, Pennsylvania. It still was a risky move to name the restaurant after Maddon. Of the many restaurants named after Chicago sports personalities, entries from Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan, former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, and baseball announcer Harry Caray have endured. But Levy and the Ricketts family, who own the Cubs, were confident Maddon would stick around. The manager in 2016 brought the Cubs its first World Series title in 108 years.
Maddon also has restaurant experience with a restaurant in Florida. For the Wrigleyville restaurant, Maddon and Mantuano combined on a menu features Polish and Italian-American favorites like pierogi and pizza. Critics reacted warmly.
When Maddon and Mantuano announced their restaurant in February 2018, North Side baseball fans saw potential for a Cubs dynasty full of championships. Bar and restaurant owners rooted for more playoff baseball; deep runs mean more hungry and thirsty customers in Wrigleyville in the fall bleeding into winter. Alas, the Cubs have only made a one-game playoff cameo since 2018. That’s had a detrimental impact on surrounding businesses. It’s not unlike what bars near the United Center felt when the NHL had a work stoppage in 2013 that kept Chicago Blackhawks hockey fans away from the neighborhood.
The Ricketts family also own Hickory Street Capital, the real estate development firm that owns the restaurant’s property and Hotel Zachary across the street from Wrigley Field. They’ve pushed to reinvent Wrigleyville by opening upscale bars and restaurants in recent years. Maddon’s Post is the third high-profile restaurant closure since the development boom around Wrigleyville. Union Full Board closed in October. Beerhead Bar & Eatery Wrigley closed in September.
Hotel Zachary opened in April 2018 with One Off Hospitality’s Big Star, Matthias Merges’s Mordecai, 4 Star Restaurant’s Smoke Daddy, Fifty/50 Restaurants’s West Town Bakery, and Boka’s Dutch & Doc’s. Hickory Street also lined up big names across the street inside a new building shared by Maddon’s Post. Tenants like Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Budweiser Brickhouse Tavern, Starbucks, and Lucky Dorr fill that space. The building neighbors the Friendly Confines’s famous marquee to the north and includes an outdoor plaza. In recent months, there’s been consideration to start outdoor alcohol sales. Maddon’s Post was owned by 1119 West Waveland Avenue LLC, a holding company
Hickory Street is looking for a new tenant for the Maddon’s Post space. A rep said they’d prefer an upscale restaurant, but would also be open to retail. Hickory Street reps believe the property holds value. Regardless of where the Cubs finish in the standings, Wrigley Field, the second-oldest Major League Baseball stadium, is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the Midwest. A rep added there’s no pressing deadline to get a new tenant in before Cubs’s Opening Day. That’s March 30 versus the Pittsburgh Pirates.