Artists Cafe, the Michigan Avenue restaurant inside the historic Fine Arts Building, announced today it is closed, bringing down the curtain on nearly six decades of memories in Downtown Chicago. The owners broke the news via Twitter. The restaurant at 412 S. Michigan Avenue opened in 1961.
Passers-by were hooked by the familiar green lighted sign that once hung outside. It had since been moved indoor, visible through the window. Countless celebrities, tourists, downtown workers, and locals dined at the casual restaurant, sipping on milkshakes, eating sandwiches, and finding a respite near the Art Institute of Chicago, Buckingham Fountain, and Grant Park. A Tribune profile written last year details visits from Tonight Show host Johnny Carson and a young future actress and Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow. Customers also included Rolling Stones’ frontman Mick Jagger, actress/singer Bette Midler, Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, and even Vice President Nelson Rockefeller.
“After close to six decades, it’s time for us to take a bow, as the curtain comes down on the Artists for our final performance,” a tweet read. “No encore, no rewrites, just a stoic, proud and heartfelt thank you for a great run of show.”
A second South Loop location of Artists Cafe closed in 2016. George Mitchell, a Greek immigrant, founded the cafe. He also owned Greek Village, a shuttered Greektown restaurant. Mitchell died in 2011. His wife, Angela, also helped run Artists Cafe. They passed it along the George Mitchell’s sister-in-law Irene Makris and son Aristidis Mitchell and daughter Maria Mitchell Tsourapas.
The reason behind the closing isn’t clear as the owners weren’t immediately reached. Read the full announcement below.
#Chicago ... you will never leave our hearts!@chicagotribune @Suntimes @redeyechicago @chicagonews @chicagoreader @newcity @chicagogrammers @chicagomagazine @eaterchicago @WindyCityTimes @TimeOutChicago @ChicagoMedia @WGNTV @nbcchicago @abcchicago @wttw @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/Ft0isg88I1— Artist's Cafe (@artistscafechi) February 1, 2019