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Brunch Stalwart the Bongo Room Closes in the South Loop

Plus, a Rick Bayless favorite starts brunch and more morning news

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Bongo Room’s South Loop location is no more
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Say goodbye to the Bongo Room South Loop

The Bongo Room, one of the most popular brunch and breakfast spots in Chicago, is down a location. The South Loop restaurant, at 1152 S. Wabash Avenue, is closed for good, an employee at the Andersonville outpost confirms. Ownership hasn’t responded to multiple requests for comment but the location has been removed from its website, its phone number is disconnected, and Yelp reports it closed in addition to the employee confirmation. The Andersonville and Wicker Park siblings remain in business.

Lena Brava, Rick Bayless’ popular West Loop restaurant, starts brunch

Rick Bayless’ Randolph Row seafood and mezcal stalwart Lena Brava launches brunch service this Sunday, Easter. The menu, available in full below, offers Oaxacan bloody Maria cocktails, crab and shrimp enchiladas, seafood cocktails, and more.

A selection of Lena Brava’s new brunch dishes
Lena Brava [Official Photo]

Hyde Park hotspot Virtue starts brunch too

In more brunch news, one of the city’s hottest new restaurants is also in the Sunday brunch business now. Virtue, chef Erick Williams’ southern stalwart in Hyde Park, has cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing, brioche and ham with pig ears, bloody Marys with Louisiana hot sauce, and more on the menu.

A longtime Wicker Park ‘slashie’ bar is for sale

A longtime “slashie” (bar/liquor store combo) is for sale in Wicker Park. Rite Liquors, at 1649 W. Division Street, is on the market for $3.5 million, according to a real estate listing that notes “the unique license will be included in the sale of the building so the notorious slashie bar can continue.” Stay tuned to see if new ownership takes it over and if any changes come to the business that was first established in the 1920s.

Barbecue favorite Smoke Daddy is launching a food truck

And finally, one of Chicago’s most popular barbecue restaurants, Smoke Daddy, will soon have a food truck as it reaches its 25th anniversary on Monday. A news release states the truck will primarily live at Gallagher Way next to Wrigley Field — Smoke Daddy has a Wrigleyville location in the Hotel Zachary in addition to Division Street in Wicker Park — yet will also make appearances at street fairs, festivals, and other neighborhoods this summer.

Smoke Daddy

1804 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622 (773) 772-6656 Visit Website

Hotel Zachary, Chicago, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel

3630 North Clark Street, , IL 60613 (773) 302-2300 Visit Website

Hotel Zachary at Gallagher Way

3630 North Clark Street, , IL 60613 (773) 302-2300 Visit Website


1462 E. 53rd Street, Chicago, IL

Smoke Daddy BBQ - Wicker Park

1804 West Division Street, , IL 60622 (773) 772-6656 Visit Website

Smoke Daddy BBQ

1804 West Division Street, , IL 60622 (773) 772-6656 Visit Website

The Bongo Room

5022 North Clark Street, , IL 60640 (773) 728-7900 Visit Website

Lena Brava

900 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 733-1975