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Embattled South Side Tavern Nipsey’s Demolished After Extensive Fire Damage

Plus, McDonald’s suspends operations in Russia and a beloved ice cream shop announces it will close

A red building with a sign that reads “Nipsey’s Restaurant & Lounge.”
Nipsey’s first opened in November 2020.

Nipsey’s Restaurant and Lounge, the Chicago tavern that caught fire and saw extensive damage early Monday morning, was demolished yesterday after city officials deemed the structure too unstable to remain standing.

The fire began around 5:40 a.m. Monday at 9156 S. Stony Island Avenue with flames attacking all sides of the building and ultimately causing the roof to collapse, Chicago Fire Department officials told Block Club Chicago. No one was injured or taken to the hospital, but the source of the fire remains under investigation. The city’s Department of Buildings demolished what was left of the building on Tuesday.

Nipsey’s, named for the bar in Fox’s ’90s sitcom Martin, first opened in November 2020 in Calumet Heights. Opening celebrations quickly turned into local turmoil, however, when neighbors and local officials began to raise concerns over unruly customer behavior outside the venue. Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) has also gotten involved, issuing 13 possible violations over several months, all on top of a dozen more violations currently being litigated by the city’s law department, Block Club reports.

Teddy Gilmore (Nouveau Tavern), a managing partner and veteran Chicago bartender who has served as the public face of Nipsey’s, has alleged that city officials are biased against him and have inappropriately targeted his business by refusing meetings and holding more than 20 surprise inspections. When reached by Eater on Monday, Gilmore did not elaborate on his claims or on the future of Nipsey’s but provided a statement that’s also posted to social media: “We are heartbroken, distraught, and beyond saddened to learn of a fire that happened at Nispsey’s Restaurant & Lounge early Monday morning,” it reads. “Right now, we’re just trying to understand what happened and what the next steps are.”

McDonald’s suspends operations in Russia and Ukraine

Chicago-based McDonald’s announced yesterday that it would be temporarily closing its 847 locations in Russia due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine nearly two weeks ago, Crain’s reported. Unlike other U.S. companies that have stopped doing business in Russia, notably Visa and Mastercard, the company-wide email from CEO Chris Kempczinski announcing the decision did not condemn the invasion or President Vladimir Putin directly; instead he described it as a response to a humanitarian crisis. McDonald’s has also suspended operations at its 108 locations in Ukraine because of supply chain issues. The company will continue to pay workers in both countries.

A McDonald’s in Moscow.
Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images

A beloved Andersonville ice cream shop announces closing

George’s Ice Cream and Sweets in Andersonville will be closing at the end of this month after 13 years at 5306 N. Clark Street, the owners announced on social media last week. They had considered closing in 2019, one of them, Anna Stotis, told Block Club, but decided to stay open to cheer up their neighbors through the pandemic. Stotis and her siblings had founded the ice cream parlor in honor of their father George Stotis, who ran Chicago’s Recycle Shop in the neighborhood for more than 30 years but who had always wanted to open a sweet shop.

Sarpino’s Pizza owner owes workers nearly $200,000 in back pay

Sarpino’s Pizza owner Julius Jokimas owes $188,628 in overtime back pay and damages to 104 employees at three locations in Chicago, the U.S. Department of Labor announced on Monday. All the employees were delivery drivers who had been misclassified as contractors and therefore were not given their time-and-a-half overtime pay. Jokimas, who initially evaded the Department of Labor investigation, will also be fined $75,504. This is the second time in six years he’s been found to have violated the Fair Labor Standards Act. Eater readers previously voted Sarpino’s among the worst pizza places in Chicago.

Illinois senate considers bill that would give $125 million in aid to bars and restaurants

A bill requesting $125 million for grants to Illinois restaurants and bars who have lost business during the COVID-19 pandemic was introduced to the state senate last month by Sara Feigenholtz, who represents Lakeview, Lincoln Park, and Ravenswood. If it passes, it would go into effect July 1.

Nouveau Tavern

358 W Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60654 312 915 4100

George's Ice Cream & Sweets

5306 North Clark Street, , IL 60640 (773) 271-7600 Visit Website

Nipsey's Restaurant & Lounge

9156 South Stony Island Avenue, , IL 60617 (773) 801-3775 Visit Website