Some indoor dining has resumed in Chicago as the city continues to progress with its plan for economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. For many establishments, however, the allowances aren’t enough to keep their doors open, and many are concerned that a resurgence of the virus will force restaurants and bars to shut down again. Closures continue to mount as restaurant owners face ongoing rent and utility payments, and are confronted with the realities of indoor capacity restrictions in spaces with cramped dining rooms and kitchens.
Among the losses are beloved neighborhood institutions like Jeri’s Grill, as well as more recent establishments like Luella’s Gospel Bird in Bucktown.
Below, Eater is cataloging permanent restaurant closures in Chicago. If you know of a restaurant, bar, or other food establishment that has permanently closed since the start of the pandemic, please email email@example.com. We will continue to update this post.
Bucktown: Thai steamed bun and snack spot the Sala Pao Shop (from the owners of Sticky Rice) closes Wednesday “until further notice,” according to an official Instagram post. It opened in October 2018 at the CTA’s Western Blue Line Station.
Lincoln Square: Family-owned hot dog, burger, and cheese fries business Chubby Weiners is permanently closed after 15 years, according to a July 2 Facebook post. “We want thank our committed staff, our loyal customers and extend more thanks to everyone who has supported Chubby Wieners, Chubby Wieners Food Trucks, and our Festival Family over the years,” ownership writes. “Thank you Lincoln Square for being Home, WE WILL MISS YOU!”
River North: Longtime French favorite Kiki’s Bistro is listed as permanently closed on OpenTable and has disconnected its phone number. Owner George “Kiki” Cuisance fostered a loyal following among Chicago francophiles for more than 50 years.
South Loop: Popular upscale sports bar the Scout held a “last dance” on July 8 before it permanently closed, announced in a Facebook post. The venue first opened in 2011, according to Sloopin, and hosted the Blackhawks Stanley Cup party in 2013.
West Loop: Globally-influenced new American restaurant Eden will permanently close after dinner service Saturday, according to rep. “While we recently reopened our doors to an immensely positive response, the larger economic impact resulting from the coronavirus pandemic has made it impossible for us to sustain operations,” the announcement reads. The restaurant opened on Lake Street in 2017.
Mount Prospect: Mediterranean restaurant Greek Feast has permanently closed one its suburban restaurant on Kensington Road, ownership wrote on the business’s website. The restaurant’s Northbrook location is open for dine in, carryout, and catering.
Andersonville: Modern Mexican spot Octavio Cantina & Kitchen is shedding its old identity and remerging as the Bird Cage, an inclusive bar, restaurant, and performance space for queer communities, according to owner Martin Cournane (Lady Gregory’s, Wilde). A video posted to Facebook on June 28 introduced the new name and approach, promising food, cocktails, burlesque, drag stars, show tunes, and more.
We are excited to announce our big news... #happypridePosted by Octavio Cantina & Kitchen on Sunday, June 28, 2020
Boystown: Little Jim’s Tavern, the oldest gay bar in Boystown and second-oldest in all of Chicago, served its last drink on July 2, Block Club Chicago reported. First opened in 1975, the bar was known as a space where all were welcome: local LGBTQ activist Rick Garcia told reporters that the tavern was “the first and only bar on Halsted Street to be fully integrated.” Ownership is in negotiations to sell Little Jim’s to nearby LGBTQ center Howard Brown Health for a new clinic. LGBTQ bars are on the decline nationwide, according to a 2019 study — a trend that will likely be exacerbated by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bucktown: Vienna Beef closed its factory store and cafe on Sunday after nearly 50 years at the corner of Damen and Fullerton. The company is moving its headquarters from the North Side to the Near West Side’s Kinzie Industrial Corridor. Fans of the cafe, which was considered by many to be a local landmark, can still snag a sausage (or several) at its Morgan Street location on the South Side.
Lincoln Park: Rickshaw Republic, Chicago’s only Indonesian restaurant, is permanently closed after eight years, according to owner Oscar Setiawan. In a video posted to Facebook on Friday, Setiawan expressed appreciation for local support over the years. “We decided to end on a high note where we’re all happy to move on in spite of this pandemic,” he says. “We love you guys and we thank you for everything.”
Heart of Chicago: Longtime neighborhood Italian restaurant La Fontanella is closed and its owners are retiring after 34 years in business, according to Block Club Chicago. Husband-and-wife team Gianfranco “Franco” and Maria Gamberale purchased the restaurant after closing their first establishment, Gianfranco, in 1986. They’ve now sold the building that housed the restaurant on the corner of Oakley Avenue and 24th Street.
South Loop: South Coast Sushi, an outpost of the popular Bucktown sushi spot, is permanently closed after 13 years, ownership wrote on the restaurant’s website. The Damen Avenue restaurant and suburban Evanston branch are both still open for carryout and delivery.
Ukrainian Village: Contemporary neighborhood diner Bite Cafe is permanently closed after 25 years, according to the Tribune. It was the first project from 16” On Center hospitality group’s Bruce Finkelman (Dusek’s, Longman & Eagle), who plans to reconcieve the space as Pizza Friendly Pizza, a carryout-focused operation. He’s partnered with Noah Sandoval, owner of Michelin-starred Oriole and Kumiko/Kikko.
Pilsen: Two-year-old neighborhood coffee shop and gathering place Step Down Cafe is permanently closed, according to Block Club Chicago. Owner Leonel Rodriguez detailed the decision in a social media post, writing that the combination of the pandemic and a difficult financial position ultimately made it impossible to reopen. Step Down was also the employer of barista Kenneth “Kenny” Paterimos, a 23-year-old Chicago man fatally stabbed in February outside West Down dive Richard’s Bar. Thomas Tansey, Paterimos’s alleged killer, has been charged with second-degree murder.
South Loop: Chinese-inspired Cajun restaurant Asian Cajun PLUS is permanently closed and has vacated its former State Street space. A photo of new signage posted to the Hello South Loop Facebook page indicates it’ll be shortly taken over by the Bureau Bar, a University Village bar and restaurant.
Uptown: Raucous late-night bar Nick’s Uptown is permanently closed, according to an employee. Originally called Nick’s on Wilson, the bar closed in 2011, but was resurrected under a newish name six years later. Fans adored it for its casual atmosphere and affable staff. It first opened in 2001, according to the Chicago Bar Project.
West Loop: Bad Hunter, the acclaimed vegetable-friendly restaurant downtown restaurant from Heisler Hospitality, will not reopen, according to its owners. The popular spot bounced back after a devastating fire in 2018 shuttered the Randolph Restaurant Row space for seven months, but the group didn’t think it could survive on limited indoor dining alone. It first opened in 2016.
West Loop: Michelin-starred downtown landmark Blackbird is permanently closed after more than 20 years as one of the city’s most influential and treasured restaurants. Saddled with a tiny kitchen and cramped dining room, the restaurant was not designed for social distancing. Beloved by many in and outside the hospitality industry, the pioneering restaurant helmed by decorated chef Paul Kahan (One Off Hospitality Group) featured contemporary American cuisine with French influences in an upscale yet modern space. It was a Michelin-starred restaurant since 2011.
Wicker Park: World-famous pizzeria Bonci has closed one of its Chicago locations. The specialty pizzeria, which sells pizza al taglio, closed its Wicker Park location in April, says Rick Tasman, who’s in charge of Bonci’s American operations. Tasman says they needed to consolidate operations to one location during the pandemic. They couldn’t survive. Bonci’s West Loop location continues to be open for takeout, delivery, and patio seating. From chef Gabriele Bonci, the pizza originated in Rome with unique topping combos not seen anywhere else in America.
Wicker Park: French Riviera-inspired bistro Cafe Cancale, also from Kahan and One Off Hospitality, will not reopen at Wicker Park’s six-corner intersection. The restaurant opened in May 2019 in the space formerly occupied by Publican Anker, another One Off establishment that closed months earlier.
Norridge: Family-owned suburban Italian restaurant Basilico is permanently closed after 50 years, owners wrote in a Facebook post on May 7. In the comments, fans mourned, posted photos, and recounted memories of engagement dinners, birthday celebrations, wedding parties, and other momentous occasions.
Irving Park: Neighborhood sports bar and grill Pitchfork Food and Saloon have permanently closed the restaurant, according to a Facebook post on June 9. “We are so honored to have had the pleasure of serving this neighborhood for 10+ years,” the post reads. “In light of recent events, we have come to the difficult decision of closing our doors as Pitchfork Food and Saloon.” It first opened in 2009.
River North: Breakfast and brunch chain Yolk has permanently closed its Wells Street location in River North, reps wrote in a Facebook post on June 5. “After 10 years at this location, the impact of COVID19 was too much to overcome,” it reads. The chain, originally founded in South Loop in 2006, now operates eight Chicago locations, as well as restaurants in Indiana, Florida, and Texas.
The Loop: South Side coffee shop Bridgeport Coffee Company will not reopen its Jackson Boulevard outpost in the Loop, according to a June 12 news release. “The economics of the location were simply unsustainable going forward, due to circumstances beyond our or anyone’s control...” the release reads. The closure will not affect the three remaining locations in Bridgeport, Hyde Park, and South Loop.
Wicker Park: Vegetarian-friendly restaurant Clever Rabbit is permanently closed and its website, phone number, and social media are no longer active. The restaurant opened on Division Street in 2017 with upscale vegetable-focused dishes and creative cocktails.
Highland Park: Suburban French restaurant Chez Benoit Bistro is permanently closed, ownership wrote in a Facebook post on May 30. “It’s with great sadness that we announce that Chez Benoit will not reopen,” the post reads. The restaurant opened in early 2019.
Andersonville: Beloved hot dog destination Hot G Dog is closed at least for the duration of 2020, ownership wrote in a Facebook post on June 9. “We are deciding on our next move due to our lease ending and not being able to renew,” the post reads. It also explains that the pandemic had a significant impact on sales to the point that the business was no longer sustainable. Brothers Octavio and Juan Carlos Garcia, former line cooks at now-shuttered hot dog sensation Hot Doug’s, opened Hot G Dog in 2015.
Lakeview: Peruvian BYOB restaurant Machu Picchu has permanently closed, according to a now-deleted Facebook post and Yelp listing. Brothers Javier and Marco Alday took over the establishment in 2008 and was known as a local destination for large groups.
Little Italy: Popular local Italian chain Davanti Enoteca has permanently closed its Taylor Street restaurant, according to a rep. The restaurant first opened in 2010 and the Little Italy location in particular accrued a devoted fanbase. The chain still operates a suburban Western Springs restaurant, as well as a California location.
Little Italy: Francesca’s On Taylor, another Italian spot from the owner behind Davanti, is also permanently closed and has been removed from the company’s website. Between Illinois and North Carolina, the Mia Francesca chain operates seventeen locations.
Old Town: New England-style restaurant Two Lights Seafood & Oyster will not reopen, ownership wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday. They also promise “a fresh, new concept” in the foreseeable future. Two lights first opened in 2018 and was considered a seafood destination in the city.
River North: Nine-year-old burger and drinking spot 25 Degrees is permanently closed, according to a June 9 Facebook post. “Due to the current situations, it is with a heavy heart that we announce the closing of 25 Degrees,” it reads. “It has been nothing but a pleasure to serve you all over the past nine years.” Owners closed a Wicker Park outpost after 10 months in 2016.
River North: Irish pub the Pepper Canister announced in a Facebook post Monday that it won’t reopen. Legions of fans have poured into the comments section to share memories, photos, and well-wishes with owners and staff. It was first opened in 2003, according to the Sun-Times.
Streeterville: Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises announced on June 5 that Mity Nice Bar & Grill and Foodlife will not reopen after 27 years in busines. LEYE president R.J. Melman says the leases were about to expire, and the restaurants’s locations aren’t well-suited to social distancing.
Oak Park: Suburban Italian sister spots La Bella Pasteria and La Bella the Bar are permanently closed after eight years, ownership wrote in a sign posted to the restaurant doors. “At this time there are no plans to reopen,” it reads.
Gold Coast: Neighborhood pub Pippin’s Tavern is permanently closed, and is stripped of its signage and fixtures at its Rush Street location. The bar first opened in the early 1970s, according to its website. A popular dive for the after-work crowd, downtown Chicago has one fewer bar that doesn’t specialize in fancy cocktails.
Lakeview: Seafood haven Fahlstrom’s Fresh Fish Market is permanently closed, owner Glenn Fahlstrom announced last week in a Facebook post. “The new restaurant model is asking owners to put employees in harms way so that their business can possibly survive,” the post reads. “That is an ‘acceptable risk’ I cannot take... It was hard enough when the playing field was supposedly level, now it is tilted beyond recognition.” The combination restaurant and retail spot first opened in 2014.
Noble Square: Fast-casual neighborhood cafe Nini’s Deli is permanently closed after crowds gathered over the weekend to protest a series of racist, Islamophobic, and homophobic social media posts made by its owners that equated BLM to a terrorist group. Former partners including Nike, Intelligentsia Coffee, Bang Bang Pies, and Cash Drop all severed ties with owners and brothers Juan “Juany” and José Riesco.
North Center: Vegan pizzeria Chicago House Of ‘Za will permanently close on June 20, owners wrote in an Instagram post in late May. “With the current pandemic, as well as the enormous cost of operating a business in Chicago we are unable to stay open for business any longer,” the post reads. In the meantime, restaurant is selling slices, as well as wine and beer. It first opened in March 2019.
Norwood Park: Latin American restaurant Congas will not reopen after the pandemic after five years in business, ownership wrote in an Facebook post late last week. “COVID-19 made me realize the most important things in life,” the post reads. “Having this time off from the restaurant made me appreciate more my time with my family.”
Norwood Park: Nine-year-old neighborhood spot Mo Dailey’s Pub & Grille is permanently closed, owners wrote in a Facebook post on June 7. The space is now under new ownership. “We do believe the new owners will be a great fit in this space an I look forward to assisting them in their launch in the near future,” the post reads.
Humboldt Park: Brendan Sodikoff of Hogsalt Hospitality (Au Cheval, Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf) announced that he will not reopen 21-year-old bar California Clipper or its neighboring coffee shop, C.C. Ferns on May 28. Hogsalt took over the bar in 2014, brought in a cocktail menu and made minor changes to the former speakeasy, which has history dating back to 1937. However, as Block Club Chicago reports, the Clipper’s landlord, Gino Battaglia, disagrees with Sodikoff’s assessment. Battaglia tells Eater Chicago that he’s had a lot of interest in the space and that he was willing to provide relief to Hogsalt, but its attorneys didn’t furnish financial information that was requested.
Pilsen: Family-owned Taqueria Sabor y Sazon closed in late May after seven years in business, Block Club Chicago reported. Husband-and-wife team Jesus Quiroz and Mercedes Cruz told reporters that school closures, event cancelations, and accumulating expenses from rent, bills and business taxes ultimately forced the closure. Supporters have raised more than $4,000 for the family on GoFundMe.
River North: Monty’s Tap, the bar from Four Corners hospitality group formerly known as the Motel Bar, is permanently closed and has been removed from the company’s website. Its own site has also been taken down. The group took over the original Motel Bar and remodeled the space in 2018 before renaming the business.
The Loop: Downtown Italian stalwart Trattoria No. 10 is permanently closed after 30 years, according to a listing on OpenTable. Ownership has not responded to a request for more information. The restaurant, known for classical Italian dishes, was especially popular among theater-goers. Supporters raised more than $17,000 in a GoFundMe to help staff.
Glenview: Mesa Urbana Mexican Fusion’s suburban location is permanently closed after four years, ownership wrote in a Facebook post Monday. Owners and brothers Baligh and Moe Abu-Taleb also own a new Mesa Urbana in Portage Park, as well as Latin American-influenced Lincoln Park restaurant Mundano.
Schaumburg: Denver-based dining and entertainment chain Punch Bowl Social has permanently closed a suburban outpost, a rep confirmed in an email. In a statement, founder and CEO Robert Thompson writes that Punch Bowl was “unable to reach satisfactory new terms to move forward” with its Schaumburg landlord. Thompson also writes that the company plans to reopen the West Loop location, which debuted in 2018. Majority investor Cracker Barrel announced in March that it would not continue to invest in Punch Bowl Social, according to Restaurant Business Online, and lenders said they planned to foreclose on the chain’s assets.
Bucktown: Friendly all-day restaurant Mable’s Table permanently closed on May 17, according to an official Facebook post. “This uncertain time and the Covid-19 pandemic we are all living through has decimated many a friend’s small business and has hurt ours as well,” ownership writes. The spot, inspired by the owner’s mother’s cooking, first opened in 2017.
Gold Coast: Former Bears coach and player Mike Ditka’s longtime downtown Chicago restaurant is permanently closed, reps announced in a Facebook post on May 18. “We have made the extremely difficult decision to close our Chicago restaurant due to the economic impact of COVID-19 and the short term left on our lease,” it reads. The restaurant served steaks and was packed with football memorabilia. The Chestnut Street location has teetered on the edge for some time — last year, Ditka told reporters that the restaurant’s run was “over.” Meanwhile, the company’s vice president of operations said that they were continuing to negotiate with the building’s owners on a lease extension and renovations while also looking for a new location. Other Ditka’s restaurant group locations in suburban Oakbrook Terrace, Westmont, and Pittsburgh will remain open.
Lakeview: Milwaukee-based chain Stone Creek Coffee won’t reopen its sole Chicago cafe, ownership wrote in a newsletter May 6. “In light of the current landscape, and the focus on digging out of the red while planning for survival into the future, we have decided not to continue on with this cafe,” it reads. The company plans to keep all of its Wisconsin cafes.
Lincoln Park: Vietnamese restaurant Simply It closed on April 30 after 14 years as a community anchor, Block Club Chicago reported. Profit margins were slim before the pandemic, owner Tuan Nguyen told reporters, so COVID-19’s economic ramifications made reopening impossible.
Logan Square/Avondale: Crown Liquors Taproom, a well-known Chicago packaged goods store, won’t reopen after the pandemic, Block Club Chicago reported on April 24. It is unclear whether or not the closure is related to COVID-19. Crown Liquors’s precise age is also unknown, though a previous owner told reporters in 2015 that it dates back to the end of prohibition.
Noble Square: BYOB Cuban restaurant Habana Libre is permanently closed, ownership told Eater Chicago. First opened in 2007, the spot gained popularity for its pan lechón, served with rice, beans, and sweet plantains, and a laid-back atmosphere.
River North: Katana, the pricey Japanese restaurant that arrived in Chicago three years ago, will not reopen its doors, a spokesperson confirmed to Eater Chicago in May. It was owned by Innovative Dining Group, a LA-based company that continues to offers delivery and takeout at its West Hollywood location. The restaurant’s opening came with much fanfare in 2017, as Hollywood celebrities frequented the West Coast location, and Chicago’s star chasers hoped to see that translate in the Midwest. Local athletes and actors would hang out at the restaurant, which specialized in grilled meats and veggies cooked on robatayaki. There was also a special sushi counter. This leaves a vacancy at a pricey piece of River North real estate next to the House of Blues and in the shadows of the iconic Marina City Towers.
River North: Nacional 27, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’s spot for Latin food, drinks, and dancing, permanently closed on March 1 after more than two decades, reps wrote on its website. The hospitality group opened up a Tallboy Taco spot inside the restaurant in 2014.
The Loop/West Loop: 33-year-old chain Specialty’s Cafe & Bakery is closing all 55 plus locations, including three in Chicago as of May 19. “Current market conditions attributed to COVID-19 and shelter-in-place policies have decimated company revenues,” a statement on the company’s website reads. The California-based company also had shops in Washington.
Wicker Park: Beer bar Links Taproom won’t reopen after the pandemic in the Milwaukee Avenue location where its operated for six years, according to a Facebook post on April 23. Ownership wrote that the business will still pop up occasionally around Chicago: “This is not the end for us, it is simply a new beginning,” the post reads. “Unfortunately, with the current situation, we cannot say for certain when or where we will see you again, but, rest assured, we WILL see you all again.”
Wicker Park: Popular Southern restaurant the Delta, which served unusual hits like Mississippi red hot and gym shoe tamales, is permanently closed, owner Eldridge Williams told Eater Chicago on May 15. Williams filed a lawsuit with the Cook County circuit court on May 8 accusing one of his two investors of stealing $154,000 from the Paycheck Protection Program loan and Economic Injury Disaster loan awarded to the restaurant. The Delta opened in 2017 as one of the few Black-owned bars on Chicago’s North Side.
Bowmanville: Barbecue spot Baobab BBQ, which served ribs, rib tips, and brisket, is closed after two years. The restaurant added a South African touch to American barbecue, borrowing from several regions. Chef Andrew Dunlop made the announcement via Facebook on May 4.
Bucktown: Luella’s Gospel Bird, chef Darnell Reed’s fried chicken restaurant in Bucktown, is closed permanently. The restaurant relied in large part on catering orders, but the pandemic lead to mass cancelations and Reed decided to close his second restaurant. His first, Luella’s Southern Kitchen in Lincoln Square, continues to offer carryout and is open.
Bucktown: Lauded chef Mindy Segal told Eater Chicago on April 29 that she’d permanently closed her popular restaurant Mindy’s Hot Chocolate after 15 years. Segal already had plans to close the restaurant by the end of May before the COVID-19 pandemic, but mandated dining room closures expedited the process. She’s transitioning toward converting the space into Mindy’s Bakery selling bagels, coffee, hot chocolate, and pantry items.
Bucktown/Lincoln Park: Toast, a much-loved 24-year-old breakfast and brunch restaurant with two Chicago locations, is permanently closed due to the impact of the coronavirus, according to owner Jeanne Roeser. She announced the closures on April 22.
Edgewater: The owners of Income Tax, a popular neighborhood restaurant and wine bar, announced it would not reopen in a Facebook post on May 9. The North Side restaurant managed to deliver an adventurous menu without alienating residents. Owners say they’ll continue to sell alcohol to go while thinning inventory.
Hyde Park: Local dessert mini-chain Vanille Patisserie closed its Hyde Park storefront permanently on March 17. In a Facebook post, ownership pointed to the “devastating economic situation caused by COVID-19.” The business also has locations in Lincoln Park and in Chicago’s French Market.
Lincoln Park: Specialty chocolate company Vosges Haut Chocolat has closed its retail location in Lincoln Park. 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.
Lincoln Square: Iconic North Side 24-hour diner Jeri’s Grill is permanently closed after nearly 60 years. “Jeri’s Grill was a part of the past living in a modern world,” owner Di Piero writes in the closing announcement, posted May 9. “Unfortunately the past can no longer survive in this post pandemic world...if these walls could talk they would tell beautiful and sad stories of many lives.”
North Center: Gastropub and sports bar Monty Gael’s Tavern and Grill is permanently closed after seven years. A for-sale sign hangs in the window.
Logan Square: Pioneering Macanese restaurant Fat Rice is closed “for the foreseeable future” after eight years. Adrienne Lo and James Beard Award-winner Abe Conlon also operated a neighboring bakery and a cocktail bar, and last year debuted a stall inside Fulton Market’s Time Out Market Chicago. The pair have since transitioned the Fat Rice space into Super Fat Rice Mart, a general store sells $99 meal kits, groceries, and more.
Streeterville/Lombard: Chicago-based 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 from May 4. “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.