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Lincoln Park Music Venue Raises More Than $23,000 After Black Friday Fire

Also, Parlor Pizza faces a city investigation after employee allegations

A man and woman sit on a checkerboard-tiled stage inside an old-looking building.
Golden Dagger is closed for repairs after a Friday morning fire.
Golden Dagger/Sarah Elizabeth Larson

Fans of Golden Dagger, a Lincoln Park bar and music venue that sustained serious fire damage the day after Thanksgiving, have raised more than $23,000 via GoFundMe to support displaced workers and fix interior damage inside the 127-year-old building at 2447 N. Halsted Street, near DePaul University’s main campus.

Owner Donnie Biggins, who announced news of the fire Friday on social media, did not detail the cause of the fire but confirmed that no employees or patrons were injured in the blaze. The space, however, will need significant repairs and its staff will be out of work “for the foreseeable future.”

Touched by the flood of financial support, Biggins on Sunday thanked donors for stepping up in his hour of need. “In the past 48 hours we have seen the most heartfelt support from our friends and community,” he wrote on Facebook. “We will never be able to express how much this will mean to us, but we will try.”

The previous iteration of the venue, Tonic Room, a bar and late-night hotspot for jam bands, closed permanently in March 2020 when the city shut down indoor dining. Biggins rebranded the business in April as Golden Dagger, an artist-friendly space with early morning hours and an emphasis on coffee and alcohol-free cocktails. It’s named for a spooky-looking dagger found by previous owners that’s rumored to be a relic of the building’s history as a brothel, a speakeasy, and occultist temple. Despite the fire, the dagger remains affixed to the wall.

City launches Parlor Pizza investigation

Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection and the Chicago Commission on Human Relations are investigating Parlor Pizza for violating labor and anti-discrimination ordinances. The probe follows an extensive report earlier this month by Block Club Chicago in which former employees allege that management refused to pay overtime, sexually harassed employees, and seated BIPOC customers in the “rejection section.”

First glamping site in Illinois now taking reservations for 2022

Camp Aramoni, Illinois’ first “glamping” site, began taking reservations this past Friday for its opening season, which starts in May 2022. The luxury campground in Tonica, near Starved Rock State Park, 90 minutes southwest of Chicago, will feature food from Chicago chef Cleetus Friedman (Theatre on the Lake, City Provisions). Its opening, scheduled for August 2021, was delayed by COVID-19-related supply chain issues.

Middle Eastern-style hot chicken in Chatham

The Tribune’s Nick Kindelsperger pays a visit to Hot Chi Chicken & Cones, a new Nashville hot chicken spot on 87th Street in Chatham that has a definite Middle Eastern accent, seasoning its sandwiches with sumac, harissa, and toum. Co-owners Amer and Mutaz Abdullah were inspired by Cedars Mediterranean Kitchen, the Hyde Park standby owned by their father. Hot Chi replaced Harold’s #55, which closed last year due to a rent increase and the pandemic; owner Percy Billings now operates Harold’s #55 Express out of a nearby Shell gas station.

Parlor Pizza Bar

405 North Dearborn Street, , IL 60654 (312) 392-2356 Visit Website

Golden Dagger

2447 North Halsted Street, , IL 60614 (773) 857-0166 Visit Website

Camp Aramoni

809 N. 2199 Road, Tonica, IL 61370 Visit Website