UPDATE: The headline and story have been updated reflecting comments from High Dive and Dante’s owner Georg Simos.
The pandemic has forced a shuffle of popular Chicago restaurants in West Town and Humboldt Park, as Dante’s Tavern has left its location at 2759 W. Augusta Boulevard. The N.Y.-style pizza slinger will be replaced by Cat-Su Sando, a Japanese-inspired virtual restaurant that opened earlier this year with takeout and delivery. Meanwhile, Dante’s is moving to West Town and taking over the High Dive space at 1938 W. Chicago Avenue.
Dante’s will be open in January in West Town, says Georg Simos (he owns High Dive and Dante’s). Ownership made the announcement via Facebook, writing that “the truth” was that they needed to move so they “can continue serving you pizza in the future.” The post describes the move as an “extended pop up.” High Dive fans shouldn’t fret, says Simos. The move doesn’t mean High Dive’s 14-year run is over, the bar will return in either April or May, Simos says.
“Tater tots and wings will be back,” he adds.
High Dive hasn’t reopened since Gov. J.B. Pritzker's mandate that barred dine-in service in March due to the emergence of the novel coronavirus. They decided to move Dante’s closer to downtown to expand delivery into River West and West Loop. The Humboldt Park location would compete with Logan Square, so the move made sense.
Simos has listed the Augusta Boulevard building for sale. While he searches for a buyer, Cat-Su will have a short-term storefront. Cat-Su has been a bright spot during the pandemic for a pair of fine-dining chefs who yearned to try something new. The temporary operation is up and running in the space on Augusta, moving from a Grand Avenue pickup point. It’s still exclusively offering delivery and carryout with the same hours. Cat-Su has earned critical acclaim after opening in September. The restaurant specializes in Japanese fried cutlet sandwiches, skewers, and other playful snacks.
Dante took over the Augusta location in November 2018. In contrast to its other locations, this space was a bar instead of a takeout-focused business. It specialized in pizza by the slice. This isn’t the pizzeria’s first pop-up — two years ago in Ravenswood, Dante’s operated an extended pop-up at 1964 W. Lawrence Avenue. The pizzeria has closed that pop-up but as an Avondale location.
Simos says he hopes to have more updates in 2021. Fans will have the opportunity in the post-pandemic world to grab an order of wings and hang out with friends. There’s no need to worry about a scenario where customers didn’t get say goodbye to a beloved venue, something that’s becoming more and more familiar as COVID-19 has ravaged the service industry.