Steakhouses are still making money during the pandemic. Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse in Gold Coast hung onto its title as the top-grossing independent restaurant in Chicago with $25.4 million in sales, this time climbing to No. 6. on the latest Restaurant Business Online top 100 list.
The numbers won’t show COVID-19’s impact until next year’s survey. Restaurant Business reported that Gibsons made $25.2 million in 2019, ranking as the No. 7 highest-grossing restaurant in America.
The popular downtown spot has claimed the top Chicago slot for many years. The restaurant group also made the list at Gibsons locations in suburban Oak Brook (No. 26, $19.8 million) and Rosemont (No. 36, $18.4 million), Gibsons Italia (No. 18, $22.7 million), Hugo’s Frog Bar and Fish House in Gold Coast (No. 70, $14.7 million), and Quartino Ristorante and Wine Bar in River North (No. 78, $13.8 million).
Eighteen Chicago and suburban restaurants made the 2020 list — just one more than last year. Swanky steakhouses like Maple & Ash in Gold Coast and RPM Steak in River North dominate the rankings. Top Chef and Iron Chef champion Stephanie Izard’s original Randolph Street restaurant, Girl & the Goat, also remained on the list for the second year running. Siena Tavern in River North was a new addition to the 2020 list.
The numbers continue to be staggering, especially as the public health crisis continues to ravage the industry. As the pandemic continues, Gibsons has started an online retail shop to deliver steaks to home cooks. Restaurants are looking to diversify revenue streams as health experts discourage indoor dining.
The Chicago-area restaurants that made the list, along with the national rankings and sales numbers, are listed below.
- Gibsons Gold Coast (No. 6, $25.4 million)
- Maple & Ash (No. 8, $24.8 million)
- Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab (No. 16, $22.9 million)
- Gibsons Italia (No. 18, $22.7 million)
- RPM Steak (No. 24, $20.8 million)
- Gibsons Oak Brook (No. 26, $19.8 million)
- Bob Chinn’s Crab House (No. 30, $18.6)
- Gibsons Rosemont (No. 36, $18.4 million)
- Shaw’s Crab House (No. 41, $17.9 million)
- Chicago Cut Steakhouse (No. 45, $17.7 million)
- Swift & Sons (No. 46, $17.6 million)
- Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse (No. 60, $15.6 million)
- Prime & Provisions (No. 64, $15.1 million)
- Hugo’s Frog Bar and Fish House (No. 70, $14.7 million)
- Quartino Ristorante and Wine Bar (No. 78, $13.8 million)
- Siena Tavern (No. 83, $13.1)
- Girl & the Goat (No. 84, $12.8)
- Tavern on Rush (No. 85, $12.8)
And in other news...
— FoxFire restaurant, a Geneva steakhouse that filed a lawsuit to halt Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s recent ban on indoor service at bars and restaurants in several suburban counties was on Monday awarded a temporary court order that allows it to continue indoor service, according to the Tribune. Pritzker announced Tuesday that the same ban would extend to Chicago as of Friday, October 30.
Owner and chef K.C. Gulbro told reporters that FoxFire’s next closure would be a permanent one and a Kane County Judge agreed, ruling that the restaurant would be harmed irreparably by another mandatory shutdown. The judge has reportedly scheduled an upcoming hearing for a permanent ruling. In the meantime, FoxFire staff will continue following other COVID-19 protocols including taking temperatures and requiring masks for patrons and workers. Nearly 300 new coronavirus cases were reported in Kane County on Monday, the Kane County Chronicle reports.
— The city’s Zoning Committee will vote on December 1 on a controversial proposal to designate the Pilsen neighborhood as a city historic landmark district, according to the Sun-Times. Alderman Tom Tunney (44th Ward), a former chair of the Illinois Restaurant Association and current chair of the Zoning Committee, announced the upcoming vote after protesters showed up on Sunday during brunch at his Lakeview restaurant Ann Sather with signs and a honking caravan of cars to express opposition to the plan.
More than 300 Pilsen business and property owners, including Carnitas Uruapan owner Marcos Carbajal, are against the ordinance. They are concerned about increased expenses and red tape, saying the costs of highly regulated building maintenance could further gentrification and force longtime residents and owners out of the neighborhood. Originally proposed in May 2019, the ordinance has been granted numerous extensions, including city council approval in July an additional six months to allow planners to get reactions from residents.
— Chicagoans should hang onto their “I Voted” stickers, as the team at Santa Masa Tamaleria in Avondale is offering free tamales on Tuesday for those with proof of voting, according to a Facebook post. Owner and chef Daniel Espinoza features four varieties of tamales: rojos, verdes, rajas, and vegan.
— Virtual golf and dining chain Topgolf, which operates a handful of downtown and suburban Chicago locations, will merge with golf equipment manufacturer Callaway in a $2.5 billion all-stock transaction, Restaurant Business Online reports. The sports products maker already owns 14 percent of the chain, and will reportedly assume its debt of about $555 million. Only two of Topgolf’s five Chicago-area locations are currently open in suburban Naperville and Schaumburg, according to its website.