Jeff Mauro, the celebrity chef known as “the Sandwich King,” has closed the original Bucktown location of his barbecue-focused sandwich shop. A spokesperson confirmed that Pork & Mindy’s has closed at 1623 N. Milwaukee Avenue. Mauro’s team will convert the space, keeping the kitchen intact for a delivery-only restaurant that will also serve as a private event space and training center called QU.
The new space’s name represents a kind of barbecue university, where Pork & Mindy’s workers can learn how to properly pull and smoke pork. Bucktown was Mauro’s first location for Pork & Mindy’s, opening in January 2016. Earlier this year, he signed a deal with Mariano’s. He’s opened Pork & Mindy’s stalls in a few grocery stores, and the plan is to open in 20 Mariano’s by the end of 2019. The Mariano’s locations feature the same full menu as the Bucktown restaurant did.
QU won’t be open to the public. Mauro is a native Chicagoan and appears on the Food Network. He texted and wrote that his company needed commissary space. His team has also watched Mariano’s expand and feel concentrating on opening locations with the grocer chain is the right move. Pork & Mindy’s fans near Bucktown and Wicker Park will still be able to order delivery via GrubHub, according to a news release.
While Pork & Mindy’s is closed, the team is unsure when QU will debut. They’re still finalizing details on the transition, according to the spokesperson.