As Chicagoans settle into the slushy reality of winter, restaurants and bars are still working to navigate the uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic — now approaching its third year.
Below, Eater is cataloging both temporary and permanent restaurant closures in Chicago. If you know of a restaurant, bar, or other food establishment that has closed since the start of the pandemic, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will continue to update this post.
For fall and early winter closures, go here.
Andersonville: Fans of George’s Ice Cream & Sweets have only a week until the 13-year-old dessert shop closes. George’s final day is Thursday, March 31 at 5306 N. Clark Street, as previously reported by Block Club Chicago. The owners are donating 10 percent of sales through the end of the month to Howard Brown Health Care and Care for Real.
Lincoln Park: The Aloha Poke location at 818 W. Fullerton has permanently closed, according to a city inspection report. While it was open, critical Yelp customers repeatedly noted that it was markedly inferior to other Aloha Poke locations, particularly in terms of poke bowl volume.
Rogers Park: Far East Kitchen, a pan-Asian takeout spot at 6966 N. Glenwood Avenue and a neighborhood staple, has closed, according to a Facebook post. The space will be taken over by neighboring jazz club Le Piano, whose owner plans to use it to serve “clean street food.”
Wicker Park: Hash, a brunch spot at 1357 N. Western Avenue, closed over the weekend of Saturday, March 12, just a few months after it had reopened for indoor service, Block Club Chicago reports. The cafe had undergone a few ownership changes since it opened nine years ago. Former owner Emily McKern, who rose from the ranks as a server, was not involved in decision making. She had left the restaurant in summer 2021.
Lincoln Park: It’s the news no one wanted to admit was true. Former Eater Chicago 38 member Pizzeria Bebu has remained closed since March 2020 with the state suspending indoor dining. Ownership remained quiet, which kept an ember of hope alive that the thin-crust gourmet pizza specialists could reopen. But as first noticed by Fooditor, the final nail in the coffin seems here as “for rent” signs have gone up in the window of the venerable pizza spot at 1521 N. Fremont Street. The website remains online for those not yet ready to give up.
Wicker Park: Wixter Market will close its Wicker Park storefront on Thursday, March 31 after seven years at 2110 W. Division Street. The operation, which sells flash-frozen seafood, is focusing on selling to stores.
Wicker Park; Earlier this year, 5411 Empandas closed its location inside the Holiday Jones hostel, 1659 W. Division Street. Signs have gone up announcing that Wake N Bakery, a THC cafe (one that’s drummed up a lot of Tik Tok fame) with a location in Lakeview, has taken over the space and opened on Thursday, March 17.
Albany Park: Semiramis, a Mediterranean restaurant at 4639 N. Kedzie that was known for its hummus, has closed permanently, a year after changing ownership. Earlier this week the city completed an inspection for another Mediterranean restaurant, Lebanon Bites, at the same address.
Auburn Gresham: Afro Joe’s Coffee & Tea, a cafe that opened last year, is closing at its current location on April 10, but it will reopen soon in an as-yet-to-be-determined location, owners Kendall and Aisha Griffin told Block Club Chicago. The Griffins’ lease was not renewed, and the cafe’s next home may be in a different neighborhood, but their ultimate goal is to return to Auburn Gresham. A city of Chicago official tells Eater Chicago that they’ve been working with ownership in finding new opportunities for the cafe. Stay tuned for details.
Bucktown: The owners of Cortland’s Garage, the auto-themed bar and burger joint that’s been on Cortland Street next to the Kennedy Expressway for the past 16 years, have decided to sell the space and move out, they announced in a Facebook post. A second location in suburban Arlington Heights remains open.
Wilmette: NorShore Meat & Deli, which has been serving the North Shore for 57 years, will be closing at the end of this month, Gail Ferrari, who runs the store with her brothers Mike and Ed, confirmed to the Record North Shore. The siblings, who have been working in the store since the 1970s when it was owned by their father, Archie, are all getting older and want to retire.
Portage Park: Mindful Baking, a gluten-free and vegan bakery and cafe has closed just two months after moving to a new storefront location at 5035 W. Montrose Avenue, “due to unforeseen circumstances,” its owner, Diana Mejia, announced in a Facebook post. She added: “We plan to find a new and even more spectacular space to serve up cafe items.“
West Loop: Fast Track Diner, a West Loop staple since 1991, served its last hot dogs, Polish sausages, and burgers yesterday afternoon, Block Club Chicago reports. The diner was known for its namesake, a model train that clattered overhead, and also for appearing in the 1992 Dolly Parton movie Straight Talk. But the changes in the neighborhood were too much for the Fast Track, which served construction workers and late-night clubgoers alike; the building at 629 W. Lake Street is being demolished to make room for a high-rise.
Elk Grove Village: Gladstone Bakery, which describes itself as an “international bakery specializing in foreign baked products with easy American names to remember,” will be closing for good on Monday, February 28. The bakery was founded 93 years ago at the corner of Chicago and Milwaukee Avenues in West Town and later moved to 490 Bennett Road in Elk Grove Village. Owner Joseph Lochirco told WGN9 news that it had been too difficult to stay open during the pandemic.
Lynwood: Angie’s Warsaw Inn, a Polish buffet at 2180 Glenwood Dyer Road in south suburban Lynwood that has been serving blintzes, pierogi, and stuffed cabbage for 50 years, will be closing at the end of the day on Sunday, February 27, upon the retirement of its owner, Angie Golom, who took over the business from her parents, Eugene and Angela. “Choosing to retire was not an easy decision,” Golom writes in a Facebook post. “However, the time has come to step back and spend more time with my family.”
Edgewater: Pressure Billiards will be closing this Sunday, February 13, after 16 years at 6318 N. Clark Street, the owners wrote in a Facebook post. Waheeb Merchant, who owns the pool hall with his wife Kareeshma Ali, told Block Club Chicago that the lease was up and that he and Ali had decided to concentrate on their two other businesses, Surge Coffee Bar and Billiards in Albany Park and Surge Billiards in Logan Square.
Edgewater: Milo’s Pita closed its location at 6141 N. Broadway in December, according to an employee, and moved all operations to a larger space at 5731 N. Lincoln Avenue in West Ridge. In the new location it continues to serve kabobs, saj (a pressed Arabic sandwich), and its weekly $2.99 falafel and shawarma specials, a great bargain no matter the neighborhood.
Lakeview: Chengdu Aroma, a Sichuan hot pot spot at 3227 N. Clark Street, closed at the beginning of January, according to a tipster. It was one of the only hot pot restaurants on the North Side, known for its all-you-can eat hours.
River North: Bijan’s Bistro, a standby at 663 N. State Street since 1980, closed in December, according to a tipster. In its heyday, Bijan’s was known as a late-night, tourist-free hangout with some of the most affordable food in the neighborhood, but it lost business and changed owners during the pandemic.
Edgewater: Neighborhood coffee shop Mama K’s Cafe permanently closed in late January after three years at 1036 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue, according to Block Club Chicago. Founded in 2019 by former employees of Zanzibar Cafe, the space’s prior tenant, Mama K’s served ice cream, pastries, and lunch options near the CTA’s Bryn Mawr Red Line stop.
Lincoln Park: Verve Wine Chicago, the local restaurant and wine bar from a New York City-based wine retailer, has temporarily closed in late January at 2349 N. Lincoln Avenue, according to an Instagram post. The shutter comes just over a year after its debut in the multi-million-dollar Lincoln Common development. The post cites the omicron variant as the final blow but obliquely references a possible return: “The latest pandemic headwinds have proven too strong and our only choice now is to take a pause, reflect, and get to work on coming back stronger.” The wine shop will remain open.
Buffalo Grove: Countyline Tavern, a seven-year-old suburban outpost from a Cleveland-based restaurant chain, abruptly closed in early January, much to the surprise of its employees, according to the Daily Herald. A longtime bartender and server told reporters that she was shocked by the closure, especially after doing “decent” business on New Year’s Eve. “Due to the current difficult business conditions, we have decided to close the Countyline Tavern effective January 1, 2022,” a company spokesperson told the Herald.
Palos Hills: Three-month-old suburban spot Amarie’s Cafe is permanently closed at 10296 S. 78th Avenue, according to the Tribune. Owner Walter Narsolis first opened the cafe in October but faced the same staffing challenges seen in hospitality across the U.S. Narsolis also operates three locations of Fajitas Mexican and two of El Patron Mexican, throughout the Chicago suburbs.