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Fans Raise $27K for Victims After Driver Crashes Into Old Town Bar’s Patio

Plus, online scammers expand their extortion scheme to even more restaurant owners in Chicago and beyond

A black-painted brick restaurant exterior with a yellow sign that reads “Uproar.”
Uproar opened in December 2020.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Fans of Uproar, a bar and restaurant north of Wells and Division in Old Town, have raised more than $27,000 via GoFundMe to help staff and operators recover after the driver of an allegedly stolen car on Friday, July 8, drove into its patio and injured at least six people, including two employees.

“Tonight a car was stolen, driven recklessly down a major street, Wells, and crashed into our restaurant @UproarChi,” partner Dante Deiana, a DJ and writer for Barstool Sports, tweeted on Saturday alongside photographs of the wreckage. “Please pray for the 6 people taken to the hospital, 2 of our dedicated staff.”

The incident began around 10:30 p.m. on Friday when a driver in a Lexus sedan driving southbound on Wells struck a nearby car in passing and lost control of the vehicle, according to Block Club Chicago. The car rolled over the curb and into Uproar’s outdoor patio, where it reportedly struck multiple people as the driver fled the scene.

Deiana tells Eater that one of Uproar’s workers received seven stitches and is “bruised everywhere” but “grateful to be alive.” A second worker should be released from the hospital later on Monday after having surgery on her foot. Her recovery will take time. The four non-customers were okay after suffering minor injuries.

If the wreck happened an hour earlier there would have been more injuries as the patio was full, Deiana adds, saying he’s “just so grateful that nothing tragic happened,” and that he’s thankful the money raised will cover medical bills and will help support the workers while they can’t work.

Police have made no arrests.

Online scammers target even more Chicago restaurants

Internet scammers appear to have seized on restaurant owners in Chicago and San Francisco, letting loose a barrage of one-star Google reviews in attempts to extort money from owners. In the five days since owners of Sochi Saigonese Kitchen in Lakeview first spoke up about receiving an email demanding a $75 Google Play gift card to end the flood of bad ratings, numerous other local operators have been targeted as well: Range in Lincoln Park, and Nella Pizza e Pasta in Hyde Park, Heritage in Ukrainian Village, and Split-Rail in West Town have all received identical missives. Fine dining establishments haven’t been spared: Michelin-starred EL Ideas in Douglas Park, Adalina in Gold Coast, and two-Michelin-starred Ever in the West Loop have all been subjected to the same ploy, according to the Tribune.

A local chef will host a duo of barbecues to raise funds for abortion access

As Illinois girds itself to become a rare destination for abortion access in the Midwest, former Cat-Su Sando chef Shawn Clendening will this month hold two large-format barbecue events to raise money for the Chicago Abortion Fund. Clendening says he and his smoked meats (plus some vegan options) will pop up on Sunday, July 17 at Big Kids in Logan Square and on Monday, July 18, at Sportsman’s Club in Ukrainian Village. A fundraiser he held in May for the Chicago Abortion Fund raised more than $1,000.

A poster for a barbecue fundraiser for the Chicago Abortion Fund. Shawn Clendening

A longtime sous chef is promoted at Topolobampo

Topolobampo, the decorated Mexican fine dining restaurant from celebrity chef Rick Bayless, has promoted longtime sous chef Meagan O’Connor to the role of chef de cuisine, according to a rep. O’Connor, who has worked her way up from her original role as prep cook over nearly two decades, takes over the position formerly held by Zach Steen, now culinary director for Bayless’ Frontera restaurants.

A woman in a white chef’s jacket and yellow apron poses for a photo with a small smile.
Meagan O’Connor

Nella Pizza e Pasta

1125 East 55th Street, , IL 60615 (773) 643-0603 Visit Website

Cat-Su Sando

3220 West Grand Avenue, , IL 60651 Visit Website


1252 North Wells Street, , IL 60610 (312) 643-0797 Visit Website

EL ideas

2419 West 14th Street, , IL 60608 (312) 226-8144 Visit Website


2500 West Chicago Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 697-4413 Visit Website


912 North State Street, , IL 60610 (312) 820-9000 Visit Website


445 North Clark Street, , IL 60654 (312) 661-1434 Visit Website

Big Kids

2545 North Kedzie Boulevard, , IL 60647 (773) 687-8385 Visit Website


1330 W. Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 Visit Website