For the second time this week, Internal Revenue Service special agents and Chicago police teamed up to shut down a popular restaurant. The second incident happened around noon on Thursday when a raid forced I-57 Smoke House and I-57 Rib House, two barbecue joints in South Side Morgan Park, to close.
Agents provided the same response they did Wednesday when raids shut down all three Parlor Pizza Bars in West Loop, Wicker Park, and River North: the state’s revenue department told Fox 32 Chicago that agents were looking for evidence that would support violations of the tax code. I-57’s owners told Fox that they planned to reopen Friday.
I-57 is known for its baby-back ribs and Chicago-style rib tips and has two sibling restaurants that have become destinations for barbecue fans, including celebrity pitmaster Meathead Goldwyn.
The state revenue department didn’t say whether the I-57 closures, coupled with the Parlor raids, means that agents are cracking down on Chicago restaurants. A rep emailed Eater Chicago the same statement it sent to other media outlets, reiterating “it cannot comment on the status of ongoing investigations, however, or even acknowledge their existence due to confidentiality provisions in the tax laws.”
Check, Please! creator returns with weekly podcast segment
Check, Please! creator David Manilow returned this week a segment covering food on Crain’s Daily Gist podcast. New episodes will drop every Wednesday, where Manilow and podcast host Amy Guth will interview people in the restaurant industry. The first episode featured an interview with Larry Tucker, the owner of Crazy Bird in West Town, and advice about how to avoid corkage fees at Bavette’s. Check, Please! was not renewed for a 19th season on WTTW Chicago, and Manilow says he’s still working to find a new home for the show. “I’m committed to making this weekly series terrific with Crain’s and, of course, would be excited if it leads to new opportunities as well,” he tells Eater.
Northwest Suburb won’t enforce indoor mask mandate
As Chicago restaurants, which have seen business drop during the transition from summer to fall, wait for Gov. J.B. Pritzker to drop this indoor mask mandate, a northwest suburb is making face coverings optional. Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson went on a media tour Thursday to say he won’t enforce the governor’s order. He says COVID-19 numbers from Amita Health St. Alexius Hospital in Elk Grove Village support his decision. The suburb is home to Mikerphone Brewing and Tensuke Market and Food Court, among other bars and restaurants.
Vandals attack the Hideout
The Hideout, the beloved bar and music venue near Bucktown, has been vandalized twice in the past month, the owners reported on Instagram. The first incident was on October 4 when someone cut the electrical cables, stole the ComEd meter, and left an unsigned note with what the post describes as “anti-vaccination rhetoric” taped to the empty meter box. The second incident was on October 17: “white-supremacist symbols and graffiti were spray painted on our glass block windows, front door, and our neighbor’s building behind our patio.” Police are investigating, and owners say the Hideout has increased safety measures, including security and perimeter cameras. Block Club first reported this story.
Mom’s at Marz Brewery to close Saturday
Saturday is the last day fans of Mom’s Japanese-American snacks will be able to get their katsu sandwiches at Marz Community Brewing’s McKinley Park brewery. Brewery co-owner Ed Marszewski tells Eater that change is because of the departure of Mom’s chef Kelly Ijichi, who has bigger plans to help her community outside of the restaurant world. In November, look for Have a Good Sandwich to pop up for two weeks in the brewery space. A bigger announcement on a permanent tenant is coming.
Bernice’s fundraiser successful
Bernice’s Tavern, the longtime Bridgeport dive bar, was successful in its GoFundMe campaign to raise $4,400 to cover the cost of its upcoming liquor license renewal; so far it’s received more than $4,800. Owner Steve Baudaskas launched the campaign earlier this month, explaining that with pandemic-related closures, Bernice’s really only got nine months to use its two-year license and it’s been hurting for money. The bar had another fundraiser last year in order to pay its utilities and insurance fees.
Pizza Lobo adds brunch
Pizza Lobo in Logan Square launches brunch service today, with a menu of sandwiches, cinnamon rolls, Beer-mosa cocktails, and, of course, a pizza: carbonara with caramelized onion, mozzarella, bacon, black pepper hollandaise, and arugula. Brunch will be served Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
West Loop restaurant hosts Bulls alums
The Chicago Bulls celebrated the career of Joakim Noah on Thursday during the team’s game with the New York Knicks, and the center’s old teammates flew in to hang out with the charming city basketball icon. The Bulls gathered Wednesday at Eleven Eleven in West Loop, which is co-owned by former Bull Nazr Mohammad. Chef Lamar Moore said he served Korean barbecue beef skewers, spiced turkey meatballs with truffle aioli, beer-poached cocktail shrimp, pimento cheese fritters with smoked jalapeño jam, and heirloom tomato bruschetta with aged balsamic.