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Chicago Bar Owner Claims His Shut-Down Club Is a ‘Scapegoat’ for City’s Failure to Reduce Crime

Plus, a virtual bakery closes and a chef hosts a fundraiser for the Chicago Abortion Fund

The exterior of a black-painted bar from the street. A sign over the door reads “The Point.”
Months after a forced shutdown, the Point’s owner is fighting back.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Three months have elapsed since Chicago police shut down the Point nightclub in Wicker Park citing safety concerns over several shootings outside the bar. Now, amid discussion around an increase in rates of robberies and carjackings throughout the city in 2021, attorneys representing Point owner Joe Lin say the bar is merely a “scapegoat” for law enforcement’s failures to address crime, according to a recent court filing seeking to subpoena documents and testimony from officials regarding the forced shutdown.

Police closed the Point, located at 1565 N. Milwaukee Avenue, in February following two shootings outside the bar in less than four months. Lin and law enforcement are at odds over the how the first incident unfolded. Police say the first shooting in October 2021 was the result of a fight inside the bar, while Lin contends he placed multiple 911 calls looking for help managing unruly crowds on the street, according to Block Club Chicago. The circumstances around the second shooting, in February, appear uncontested: a man on the street fired shots into the bar, striking a customer below his right eye.

Lin told reporters that he had increased security after the October shooting, but otherwise was at a loss as to how else he could address police concerns. The court filing portrays the Point and its owner as victims of the alleged crimes who are now being punished for events outside their control. Lin also owns Bourbon on Division, a bar and live music venue in West Town.

The closure at the Point is part of a wave of forced shut-downs at Chicago bars. City officials in late March forced sports bar Play Kitchen & Cocktails in Gold Coast to temporarily close over allegations of an increase in criminal activity at night following a drive-by shooting in mid-December when a person in a car shot at the business from the street, damaging a window and TV inside the bar. Ownership at Nipsey’s Restaurant and Lounge, the Calumet Heights tavern that was demolished after a major fire in early March, is still in court over dozens of citations from the city over licensing, occupancy limits, and security measures.

A popular virtual bakery closes up shop

Flavor Supreme, the three-year-old virtual bakery from chef Joey Pham, will be shutting down at the end of the month, Pham announced in an Instagram post early Friday morning. May 29 will be its last day. At Flavor Supreme, Pham created surprise cakes based on whatever ingredients were in season — though never chocolate, due to its exploitative production processes — and also participated in many pop-ups around town. Pham did not give a reason for the closing or say what they plan to do next.

A chef raises money for the Chicago Abortion Fund

Shawn Clendening, a chef who has worked at Blackbird and Oriole as well as his own pop-up Cat-Su Sando, announced on Instagram that he will be hosting a barbecue Saturday, May 14, to raise money for the Chicago Abortion Fund. There will be smoked and grilled chicken, a chopped barbecue pork sando, pastrami beef rib, barbecued maitake mushrooms, salads, and, late at night, yakitori. Festivities begin at 4:19 p.m. at 1901 W. Race Avenue in West Town.

A bonus Chicagoan appears on this week’s Top Chef

Warning: spoilers ahead

On this week’s episode of Top Chef, the contestants took a trip to the Gulf island of Galveston, where they got to show off their skills with seafood with a hot and cold shellfish tower and then cook for a visiting friend or relative identified only by a list of their likes and dislikes. Since Damarr Brown’s mother was unable to travel, his boss, Erick Williams of Virtue, stepped in. Brown served Williams a dish of herb bread-crusted redfish with little neck clams and white beans that was good enough to land him in the top three and advance to the next week of the competition (imagine the awkwardness if Brown’s dish weren’t up to snuff.) In related news, voting for this season’s fan favorite is open; the prize is $10,000.

As cryptocurrency falls, so does the price of Goose Island’s NFT

It’s Murphy’s law: the week you decide to launch an NFT, the entire cryptocurrency market crashes. Goose Island announced yesterday on its website that its Bourbon County NFTs will still be for sale, but since the value of ethereum (the second most popular cryptocurrency after bitcoin) is down 20 percent since Monday, the brewery is taking pity: the NFTs will now be $399 instead of $499. A bargain!

The Point

401 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60654 (312) 666-1600 Visit Website

Virtue

1462 E. 53rd Street, Chicago, IL

Oriole

661 West Walnut Street, , IL 60661 (312) 877-5339 Visit Website

Blackbird

614 North 2nd Street, , PA 19123 (267) 324-5224 Visit Website

Cat-Su Sando

3220 West Grand Avenue, , IL 60651 Visit Website

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