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Beloved North Side Baobab Barbecue Closes

And four more Chicago area restaurant and bar closures

A slab of pork ribs with corn bread and sides on a metal tray.
Baobab BBQ’s baby back ribs.
Baobab/Facebook

May 6

BOWMANVILLE— After two years, Baobab BBQ is closed. The barbecue spot, which served ribs, rib tips, and brisket, added a South African touch to American barbecue, borrowing from several regions. Chef Andrew Dunlop made the announcement via Facebook.

LINCOLN PARK— Specialty chocolate company Vosges Haut Chocolat has closed its retail location at 951 W. Armitage Avenue and a “for lease” sign is posted in the window. Prior to the pandemic, the company operated another store on Michigan Avenue and two shops inside O’Hare International Airport. The Armitage shop served coffee and hot chocolate.

ROGERS PARK— Beloved family-owned Mexican spot Restaurante Cuetzala Gro is permanently closed after owner Saul Moreno died of coronavirus in April at age 58, Block Club Chicago reported. Family members told reporters that the restaurant at 7360 N. Clark Street would never be the same without him and they felt it was best to shut down completely. Supports raised more than $20,000 for the Moreno family on GoFundMe.

STREETERVILLE/LOMBARD— Chicago hospitality company 4 Star Restaurant Group has permanently closed two of its venues — the Windsor in Streeterville and D.O.C. Wine Bar in suburban Lombard — because of the coronavirus-related dine-in closures, according to social media posts. “With a heavy heart, we are sad to announce that we are closing our doors for good due to the challenges surrounding the coronavirus shutdown,” one post reads. The original D.O.C. Wine Bar closed in summer 2018.

WEST LOOP— New Orleans-style cocktail lounge the Front Room is for sale, according to a Facebook post from early March. The spot opened in 2018 with jambalaya and upscale drinks in the space that formerly housed Grange Hall Burger Bar at 844 W. Randolph Street.

March 4

AROUND TOWN — Boston-based healthy counter-service chain B. Good has closed all of its its Illinois locations, according to a sign posted at its now-shuttered suburban Naperville location. The chain also had a suburban locations in Vernon Hills and Schaumburg, along with a delivery-only kitchen in River North. The company has also wiped any mention of Illinois from its website.

LOGAN SQUARE— Arbor, the quirky coffee shop, cafe, and restaurant inside the Green Exchange that Chicago in 2018 deemed one of the best restaurants in the city, is closed, according to a note posted to the restaurant door and matching Facebook post. “After more than six years of hot coffee, fresh breakfasts, healthy lunches, and exciting and ever-changing dinner experiences (not to mention more than 10,000 tonka-bean lattes), Arbor’s management has reluctantly decided to cease operations, effective immediately,” the post reads. Arbor opened in 2015 at 2545 W. Diversey Avenue, and was celebrated for its unique atmosphere and offerings. The year it opened, Fooditor called it “the most important restaurant in 2015 that you’ve never heard of.”

Dear Friends and Supporters, After more than six years of hot coffee, fresh breakfasts, healthy lunches, and exciting...

Posted by Arbor on Friday, February 21, 2020

RAVENSWOOD — Japanese neighborhood spot Nami Sushi closed Sunday after five years at 1828 W. Montrose Avenue, Block Club Chicago reported. Service stopped in February for “maintenance,” according to a sign on the door that said the restaurant would reopen on February 28. Now, ownership announced on a new door sign and online that Nami is permanently closed.

February 25

BOYSTOWN — Neighborhood institution Little Jim’s, one of the oldest gay bars in Chicago, is slated to close after 45 years, though an official end date is not yet available, Block Club Chicago reported. LGBTQ nonprofit Howard Brown Health hopes to buy the Little Jim’s building at 3501 N. Halsted Street and create a new health clinic, doubling the capacity of its current facility.

BUCKTOWN — Neighborhood restaurant Gigi’s Kitchen is closed after a year at 1954 W. Armitage Avenue, according to Block Club Chicago. Ownership hopes to create an organization dedicated helping women experiencing trauma with support services, hospitality training, and job placement. The Bucktown space formerly housed AMK Kitchen Bar.

PULLMAN — Laine’s Bake Shop will close inside the South Side’s One Eleven Food Hall as of March 1, according to a Facebook post. Ownership is shifting its focus to wholesale business rather than retail. Stay tuned for an announcement from One Eleven reps on the new vendor, slated to open April 1. Block Club Chicago first reported the closure.

WEST TOWN — A “for lease” sign now hangs outside WHISK at 2018 W. Chicago Avenue, indicating the popular brunch spot, “temporarily closed” last month, is no more. Ownership initially hoped to reopen in April after plumbing problems they say forced a closure.

WICKER PARK — Essential Cajun restaurant Fifolet is closed, with partly papered-over windows and tables stacked inside the space at 1942 W. Division Street. Popular for classics such as étouffée and po’boys, it first opened in 2016. Owner Baris Yuksel ran Division Ale House in the space before opening Fifolet.

February 11

BUCKTOWN — Chef and YouTuber Darius Williams has closed the Chicago outpost of his Southern seafood spot Soul Crab, as well as the Atlanta original restaurant and his other business, Greens and Gravy, according to Eater Atlanta. Williams announced the closures in now-deleted Facebook and Instagram posts. The restaurants’s demise coincides with allegations from Georgia’s Department of Law Consumer Protection Division, which states that Williams’s LLC operated as “an illegal credit repair business” and is no longer allowed to operate in Georgia. In a now-deleted live-stream video posted to Facebook, Williams said there’s no relationship between the closures and legal judgement, and that the restaurants are not linked to his LLC. Williams has not returned a request for comment.

IRVING PARK — Breakfast and brunch spot Northside Kitchen is closed and its phone number is disconnected. The restaurant opened less than a year ago at 2012 W. Irving Park Road offering hearty sweet and savory options.

LAKEVIEW — Turkish and Mediterranean restaurant Anatolia Kitchen and Bakery is marked closed on Yelp and its phone number is disconnected. It first opened in 2017 at 3151 N. Broadway Street. It’s now an office for a political candidate.

WASHINGTON PARK — South Side institution Miss Lee’s Good Food ended counter service in September and now owner Lee Hogan is selling the restaurant (without the name) at 203 E. Garfield Boulevard, according to the Tribune. Hogan wants to retire after more than two decades running the Southern soul food destination. Read more about Hogan’s journey from the cotton fields of rural Mississippi to running her own successful Washington Park eatery here.

WICKER PARK — Smoothie bar and bubble tea shop Hot Shots Cafe is closed. The space is has been emptied out. It offered a lengthy menu of tea, coffee, and juice drinks, as well as sandwiches, burgers, and pastries. It first opened in 2017 at 1242 N. Milwaukee Avenue.

January 28

BEVERLY — South Side pie shop Jimmy Jams Sweet Potato Pies closed this month after 12 years, according to a sign posted at the cafe. “It is with our deepest regret to inform you that we will be closing all our operations,” the sign reads. The shop at 1844 W. 95th Street was known for transforming sweet potatoes into a variety of baked goods, including cake and, of course, pie.

LINCOLN PARK — Italian American restaurant and steak spot Bobby’s Lincoln Park is closed, according to eyewitness accounts of the space at 2518 N. Lincoln Avenue. It first debuted in the city in 2018. Ownership company Bobby’s Restaurants also operates suburban restaurants Bobby’s Deerfield and Cafe Lucci in Glenview.

LINCOLN PARK — Nine-year-old cafe CityGrounds coffee bar closed last week, according to a Facebook post. “We have appreciated the opportunity to share our vision for specialty coffee with you,” ownership wrote. “Your support has been instrumental in revitalizing this once sleepy corner of Lincoln and Dickens Avenue.” The cafe first opened in 2011 at 507 W. Dickens Avenue.

LINCOLN PARK — California-based craft beer bar chain Yard House has closed its sole city location, according to a banner hanging in a window at NEWCITY Lincoln Park, 1500 N. Clybourn Avenue. It’s also been pulled from the company’s website. Yard House runs locations in 28 states, including remaining Chicago-area bars in suburban Glenview and Lombard.

LOGAN SQUARE — Casual Greek-style neighborhood restaurant Logan Eats has disconnected its phone number and is listed as closed on Yelp. It featured a variety of familiar menu options, including burgers, flame-broiled chicken, and gyros at 3129 W. Armitage Avenue.

WEST LOOP — Buona Beef, one of Chicago’s most popular spots to grab Italian beef, has closed a location at 804 W. Washington Boulevard a little more than a year after it opened, Block Club reported. A sign posted outside the restaurant, which was previously a Harold’s Chicken, says the space will be “redeveloped.” Buona Beef locations in Streeterville, Berwyn, and suburban Oak Park remain open, according to the chain’s website.

WRIGLEYVILLE — The last remaining outpost from former Chicago bar institution John Barleycorn is no more, according to an official Facebook post. The company closed the Lincoln Park stalwart in 2014, and rebranded a River North location in 2015, turning it into an Old Crow Smokehouse. The Wrigleyville bar at 3524 N. Clark Street operated for 20 years. The space is slated to become a Cresco Labs marijuana dispensary, the Tribune reported.

January 14

EAST LAKEVIEW — Owners of Italian-style mini-chain Cafe L’Appetito announced the closure of their location at 3332 N. Broadway in a Facebook post. “Please know that we have loved every minute of being in this neighborhood,” they wrote. The family-owned business will move into a new home in the West Loop this winter.

RIVER NORTH — International chain California Pizza Kitchen has closed its only city of Chicago restaurant inside the Shops at North Bridge, according to a recorded phone message, and wiped any mention of the 52 E. Ohio Street location from its website. The pizza company still operates a handful of suburban Chicago restaurants including Oak Brook, Skokie, Schaumburg.

WEST LOOP — Bang Chop Thai Kitchen closed its dining room in November, according to owner Mary Aregoni, who also co-operates essential Vietnamese restaurant Saigon Sisters. Aregoni is still offering delivery, and will also use the space at 567 W. Lake Street for private events. She’s moved her cooks to Saigon Sisters, where they’ll serve Bang Chop’s menu of Thai and Vietnamese dishes. Bang Chop first opened in 2015 in the former Zenba Mexican Grill space.

WICKER PARK — All signage is removed at Polish Triangle’s Burger King at 1215 N. Milwaukee Avenue and the empty space is visible through storefront windows. The fast food spot first opened in 2015, according to a DNA Info story published at the time.

OAK BROOK — The only Chicago-area location of Cheesecake Factory spin-off RockSugar Southeast Asian Kitchen closed at the end of December in Oakbrook Center after just over two years in business, according to the Tribune. The only other RockSugar location, in Los Angeles, remains open.


For a list of 2019’s shutters, go here.

One Eleven Food Hall

756 East 111th Street, , IL 60628 Visit Website

John Barleycorn

149 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60654 (773) 348-8899 Visit Website

Yard House

1500 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60610 (312) 951-7317

Ms. Lee's Good Food

203 E. 55th, Chicago, IL (773) 752-5253

D.O.C Wine Bar

2602 North Clark Street, , IL 60614 (773) 883-5101 Visit Website

Buona

10633 South Western Avenue, , IL 60643 (773) 941-6980 Visit Website

Fifolet Cajun & Cocktails

1942 West Division Street, , IL 60622 (773) 384-6886 Visit Website

Bang Chop Thai Kitchen

567 W. Lake, Chicago, IL

WHISK

2018 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (773) 252-9060 Visit Website

Soul Crab

1904 N. Western Avenue, Chicago, IL Visit Website

The Windsor

160 E Huron St, Chicago, IL 60611

Fifolet

1942 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622 (773) 384-6886 Visit Website

Bobby's Lincoln Park

2518 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL Visit Website

Arbor

384 Hayes Street, , CA 94102 (415) 626-1211 Visit Website

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