After 25 years in Lincoln Park, the owner of White Oak Tavern & Inn is closing his restaurant to pursue other interests. John Manilow will shutter the restaurant, which was named John’s Place until 2014, following Sunday brunch on February 17 at 1200 W. Webster Avenue. Another location of John’s Place in Roscoe Village remains open.
“Our goal there was to create a comfortable neighborhood environment serving quality food for a great value,” Manilow said. “I think we accomplished that.”
John’s Place opened in 1994 on the same block as Floriole Bakery and Sweet Mandy B’s near DePaul University’s Lincoln Park campus. Manilow expanded the space in 2000 and in 2014 crews extensively renovated the space for a more rustic feel. Manilow also added a chef-driven menu and changed the name to White Oak.
Manilow, brother of Check, Please! creator David Manilow, owns the space and said there are parties already interested in leasing. He wouldn’t identify any prospective tenants and said he felt it was just the right time to close. The neighborhood has seen massive changes in 25 years, none more stark than the nearby Amazon pickup store.
“When you have an unmanned corner location that doesn’t have a cash register on Sheffield and Webster, it’s a sign that times are changing,” Manilow said.
The Roscoe Village location of John’s Place opened in 2008. Manilow will now have more time to concentrate on that restaurant and talked about adding pop-ups. Back in 2016, White Oak hosted Milwaukee’s Red Light Ramen, so there’s pop-up precedent.
Before closing, White Oak will host Valentine’s Day dinners and also hold a special farewell weekend starting on February 16. It’s bittersweet for Manilow. He met his wife, Lynn, at John’s Place and the space hold sentimental value.
“I’m grateful for the 25 years we had there,” he said.