Thanksgiving has passed, winter is here, and Chicago’s hospitality industry is already battling the challenges of the city’s inevitable slow winter season. Well into its third year of wrangling with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic (yes, it’s still happening), the city’s hospitality industry experiencing staffing shortages, sky-high food costs, and would-be patrons who are dining out less due to inflation.
Below, Eater is cataloging both temporary and permanent restaurant closures in Chicago. If you know of a restaurant, bar, or another food establishment that has closed, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will continue to update this post.
For winter and spring closures, go here.
Around Town: Virtual Detroit-style pizzeria B Square Pizza is permanently closed after two years of serving Chicago’s North Shore suburbs, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises announced on its website. Founded in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, B Square debuted amid a flood of carryout and delivery-only ventures designed to provide alternative revenue streams in the midst of indoor dining shutdowns.
Hyde Park: La Petite Folie, the classic French bistro that has drawn fans to the Hyde Park Shopping Center for more than two decades, will permanently close after dinner service on Friday, December 23. The restaurant was a popular standby in the neighborhood for its traditional white tablecloths and special-occasion atmosphere. “With much gratitude and a multitude of fond memories, we present our final menu,” owners write on Facebook. “Mille remerciements a tous. Au revoir.”
North Lawndale: Jamaican restaurant Ja’Grill has permanently closed its seven-month-old outpost inside the Ogden Commons development near Douglass Park and was removed from the brand’s website. Owner Tony Coates launched the second location of his Hyde Park hit in April.
Around Town: RealGood Stuff Co., the Chicago smoothie chain that over eight years grew into a small empire of cafes and corner stores across the city, will permanently close, founder Jon Schiff announced Wednesday on Instagram. Originally named RealGood Juice Co., the company launched in 2014 in Old Town and set itself apart by highlighting its relationships with farmers and other vendors. Schiff rebranded two years later with the opening of a location with hot food in River North. As of 2022, RealGood Stuff operated six Chicago outposts. “I met my wife at RealGood,” Schiff writes in a lengthy post that highlights each member of his leadership team. “I even named my dog after one of our favorite smoothies... So, yes, the business means a lot to me, to say the least. Which is why it’s so painful for me to tell you we’re closing our doors. I know, it hurts me to even type those words.”
Bucktown: Cornerstone Cafe, a reliable neighborhood coffee and breakfast spot near the intersections of Western, Elston, and Diversey avenues, is permanently closed after 17 years, according to a sign posted to its door. “We survived the recession of 2008 and two years of the city digging up all six corners, which made it so difficult to get here, but like so many other businesses in the city, we have not been able to survive COVID and its accompanying pandemic,” ownership writes. Another window sign reads “Boulevard Bistro Opening Soon.” Cornerstone’s sister location on Clybourn Avenue in Lincoln Park will remain open.
Lincoln Square: Spicy seafood-in-a-bag spot the Crab Pad will permanently close its satellite location on Saturday, December 17 after a year at 4337 N. Western Avenue, ownership announced Wednesday on Instagram. Co-owners Theresa Tran and Andrew Nguyen founded the Crab Pad in 2016 in Logan Square and want to reassure fans that the original restaurant will remain open. The second location opened in January 2022. Look for more news on what’s happening with the space later this month.
The Loop: Boonie Foods, the popular Filipino stall that primarily explored the genre of silog (a class of dishes served with garlic fried rice and an egg), will permanently close on Thursday, December 22 after two years inside Revival Food Hall, chef Joseph Fontelera announced Thursday on Instagram. But, despite the closure, Fontelera also has good news to share: “It has been humbling to see and feel the reception of what we do by the Filipinx community as well as the general population passing by, many of which have never had Filipinx food before but are now totally in love with it,” he writes. “Although this is the end of this chapter, we are on the verge of an exciting, bigger evolution. We are moving into a brick-and-mortar in Lincoln Square!!!”
Fontelera, the former executive chef at Michelin-stared Arami sushi, tells Eater he has big plans, including a new restaurant and a rebranding. Stay tuned for more information.
The Loop: New York-based taco and burrito chain Dos Toros Taqueria has left the Chicago market and on Tuesday, November 29 it closed both of its Loop locations, confirmed by a store worker (online ordering for Chicago has also vanished). The brand opened its first location outside its home state in 2017 on Dearborn Street, apparently under the misapprehension that New York has something to teach Chicago about Mexican food. Even Eater NY is disappointed. Situated in the city’s tourist-heavy downtown, the chain opted for a Chipotle-style lunch line format built around speed and convenience. Its website lists 19 remaining locations in New York and New Jersey.
Andersonville: Global street food restaurant Gadabout is permanently closed after three years on Clark Street, Andersonville’s main artery. Founded in 2019 in the spacious former home of gourmet market Pastoral and neighboring sister restaurant Appellation, Gadabout brought a playful and surprising menu that riffed on flavors from Thailand, Greece, Norway, and beyond, as well as a cocktail list featuring small-batch spirits. Co-owners James Bateman (Hopleaf), Meg Pedersen (Yusho), and Rolf Pedersen (Boka, Girl & the Goat) announced the impending closure in early November on social media and held Gadabout’s last service on Sunday, November 27. “We did our best to hold out for as long as we could but the pandemic really was a huge hit, and we have not been able to make ends meet since,” they write. “It’s been a great run, even through the struggles.”
Logan Square: The Boiler Room, a casual neighborhood pizzeria known for New York-style slices (also in vegan varieties), and PB&J special (pizza, PBR, and a shot of Jameson), is closed after 12 years, according to a sign posted on the door of the restaurant. Its last day of service was Wednesday, November 24. Co-owner Russ Grant couldn’t be reached to talk about the reasons for the abrupt closure. Social media has been rumbling with reports of large staff turnover. “Regretfully we announce the closing of Boiler Room,” the sign reads. “Thanks to all our customers for your loyalty and support.”
Ranked by many locals as a top Chicago spot for thin-crust pizza — offered in styles ranging from conventional pepperoni to creative Thai serrano with pulled chicken sweet chili sauce — Boiler Room garnered a loyal following in Logan Square, in part due to its convenient location across from the California Blue Line El stop. In 2013, co-owners and ex-spouses Russ Grant and Desiree Grant sought to expand on that success with the opening of Parts & Labor, a restaurant serving griddled burgers and boozy shakes, which operated for four years on Milwaukee Avenue. Russ Grant also owned stakes in East Room, and Northside Bar & Grill. With those two closed, the Grants sole Chicago restaurant/bar endeavor remains Simone’s in Pilsen; their names remain on the liquor license.
Skokie: A suburban outpost of Mediterranean restaurant Crave Kabob is permanently closed after four years and has been erased from the brand’s website. A fast-casual spot for tabbouleh salad, falafel, and shawarma, it opened in 2018 on Niles Center Road. A location in the West Loop remains open.
Bridgeport: Sichuan and Shanghainese restaurant La Mom Kitchen has permanently closed its Chicago location at 3312 S. Halsted Street, ownership announced on Facebook. Founded in 2017, the restaurant earned accolades from local critics for options like braised chopped meatballs and Peking duck. La Mom’s outpost in suburban La Grange remains open.
Downtown/Fulton Market/River North/Uptown: Hybrid mini-chain Heritage Bikes & Coffee over the past year and a half has closed four cafes around Chicago, a spate that continued over the weekend with the shutter of Heritage Outpost at 1325 W. Wilson Avenue in Uptown, says owner Michael Salvatore. He founded the business a decade ago in Lakeview with a then-novel notion of combining retail bikes and accessories with coffee and espresso. Salvatore, who also is a partner in casual cocktail hang Bunker (which has recently expanded its food and drink menus and hours) and coffee shop Froth in the West Loop, points to the pandemic’s economic and social shifts as the reasons for the closures. Heritage’s second Uptown cafe on Lawrence, as do locations in Lakeview and the Loop.
Hyde Park: One of Chicago’s most unique restaurants, located near the Museum of Science and Industry, is closing. Piccolo Mondo, a neighborhood Italian restaurant institution and Argentinean bakery, will permanently close on Sunday, November 27 after nearly four decades at 1642 E. 56th Street. Founded in 1985 inside an intimate space where diners could escape. Piccolo Mondo was originally owned by couple Anna and Dino Romanucci, who operated area restaurants Benvenuti’s and the Pasta Shoppe. They sold it to longtime general manager Norberto Zas in 2007, and despite immense challenges, he shepherded it through the early years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Zas announced the impending closure over the weekend on Facebook: “Personally, it is time for me to retire,” he writes. “It was my pleasure to be part of this community and to give my best to provide all of you with great food and wonderful service. I hope [I] succeeded!”
Mag Mile: Upscale vegan restaurant Althea is permanently closed on the seventh floor of Saks Fifth Avenue at 700 N. Michigan Avenue. Founded in 2018 by well-known vegan chef Matthew Kenney, the restaurant featured animal-free options like kelp noodle cacio e pepe and oyster mushroom barbacoa tacos.
The Loop: UrbanSpace Washington, an outpost of a New York-based food hall chain at 15 W. Washington Street, has seen numerous vendor closures as of late. Headlining stall Roberta’s Pizza has shuttered, as has Filipino spot Isla Pilipina, a location from Evanston’s Edzo’s Burger Shop, and barbecue restaurant Bianca’s BBQ. It’s been a revolving door for many food halls, trying to guess customer habits during the pandemic. There’s no word when UrbanSpace will open its second food hall inside Willis Tower. The opening has been pushed back several times.
Wicker Park: Miami-themed bar Wynwood Kitchen and Spirits is permanently closed after three years, according to a for-rent sign in the window at 1560 N. Milwaukee Avenue. Founded in 2019, the bar was designed to evoke famed Florida street art destination Wynwood Walls and featured large murals by painter Fidel Rodriguez of Artspace 8. The space was previously occupied by longtime neighborhood bar High Noon Saloon.
Logan Square: Con Todo Cantina y Cocina, the modern Mexican American restaurant that debuted to great fanfare in January, is permanently closed at 2853 N. Kedzie Avenue, co-owners and brothers JC and Edgar Castañeda (whose family founded Lalo’s, a venerable Chicago Mexcian chain) announced Wednesday on Instagram. “Regrettably, as of today, Con Todo has closed its doors,” they write. “We’re currently looking at new opportunities for the space in the near future.” Designed to highlight a mashup of Mexico City and Chicago cuisines, Con Todo drew significant attention due in part to its early affiliation with Jonathan Zaragoza, whose family owns Eater 38 mainstay Birrieria Zaragoza in Archer Heights. Zaragoza, who previously led the kitchen at shuttered spot Masa Azul in Logan Square and ran the El Oso pop-up at the Promontory, was a consulting chef at Con Todo and moved on from the business in April.
Logan Square: Neighborhood pan Asian restaurant Trike Thai Noodles & Sushi has closed after eight years, according to a sign on its doors at 2539 N. Milwaukee Avenue. Ownership writes on Facebook that they plan to wrap operations into their second location in the neighborhood, now dubbed Trike Noodle (previously known as Three Wheels Noodle), about ten minutes south of the original.
Ravenswood: Craft beer maker Empirical Brewery permanently closed over the weekend after a decade at 1801 W. Foster Avenue, ownership announced on Facebook. Founded in 2013, the brewery developed a reputation as a dog-friendly haven for beer nerds who enjoy experimental offerings like Mangolorian mango pale ale and Cold Fusion cream ale. Though the closure seemed sudden to the brewery’s fans, the tap room’s demise had been inclement for some time: in May, building ownership group Hayes Properties served Empirical with a notice to pay more than $16,400 in unpaid rent or its lease would be terminated, according to Block Club Chicago. In August, a Cook County judge granted an eviction request that directed Empirical to move out in early September; Hayes Properties returned to court that month to argue that the Foster Avenue brewery remained open and request enforcement of the eviction, as well as extensive rent costs and fees totaling about $30,600.
West Ridge: VPT Grill, a Chicago institution arguably best known for its deep-fried Blackhawk Burger, is permanently closed at 5754 N. Western Avenue after more than half a century in business, ownership announced on Facebook. “This is a tough announcement for us to make, but due to unprecedented circumstances, we have closed VPT Grill for good,” they write in part. “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your patronage and friendship that made VPT special.” Originally founded in 1968 as Vince’s Pizzeria and Taqueria in Rogers Park, couple Ivan and Veronica Resendiz purchased the business in 2012 and three years later relocated to West Ridge. The pair tell Block Club that despite their efforts to remain sustainable, the business never financially recovered from the early years of the COVID-19 pandemic and additional pressures of economic inflation ultimately forced the closure.
Bucktown: Boxcar Betty’s, a South Carolina-based mini-chain known for its fried chicken sandwiches, has permanently closed its location at 1856 W. North Avenue and erased it from its website. The company made its Chicago debut in 2018, bringing its first restaurant outside its home state to the second floor of the Ogilvie Transportation Center in the West Loop.
Lincoln Square: Creative pie hotspot Hoosier Mama Pie Company has permanently closed its location at 4613 N. Lincoln Avenue after two years, ownership announced on the company’s website. Its original shop in West Town and outpost in suburban Evanston will remain open. “Thank you Lincoln Square for 2 years of fun,” they write. “We enjoyed making pies for you. Unfortunately, we have had to make the tough decision to close. We will miss seeing you and being a part of your lovely neighborhood.”
Rogers Park: Storied Chicago sub shop Capt’n Nemo’s has permanently closed its original restaurant at 7367 N. Clark Street after more than half a century in business due to conflict with city agencies, according to Block Club Chicago. Second-generation owner Steve Ragusi tells reporters that the issues date back to 2019 when health inspectors temporarily closed the shop’s Lakeview outpost.
At the time, Ragusi and his family decided to close that location rather than invest in bringing it up to code; a year later, upon attempting to renew the business license for the Clark Street shop, he discovered there was a hold placed on it that stemmed from the inspection in Lakeview. The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) went on to cite the restaurant for issues including operating without a license, which Ragusi fought through an administrative hearing, but ultimately a judge ruled for the city and imposed a $400 fine on Capt’n Nemo’s. Rather than pay the fine, Ragusi decided to shut down the restaurant his father founded in 1971 and try to lure customers to his remaining location in suburban Winnetka.
Edgewater: Uncommon Ground, a Chicago hospitality leader on the issue of sustainability in restaurants, will permanently close its Devon Avenue outpost after brunch service on Sunday, October 23 after 15 years, according to Block Club Chicago. Co-owner Michael Cameron tells reporters that he decided to close the restaurant so he can care for his ailing mother. Founded in 2007, the Edgewater location housed the first certified-organic rooftop farm in the U.S., and three years later was dubbed the “greenest restaurant” in the country by the Green Restaurant Association. Uncommon Ground’s original location, which also houses a brewery, on Clark Street in Lakeview will remain open.
Grand Boulevard: Essential Chicago barbecue spot Uncle J’s Bar B Que abruptly closed this week, ownership announced on Facebook. “It saddens me to say Uncle J’s last day open was Saturday,” they write. “It has been a tough decision to make, thank you all!” The shutter will be a tough pill to swallow for fans, many of whom mourned the closure of its predecessor, Uncle John’s BBQ, closed in 2013. Uncle J’s picked up the mantle, in large part due to the efforts of late pitmaster Mack Sevier’s stepdaughter Ella and son-in-law Jimmie Hughes, and brought back favorites like rib tips and hot links. Hughs and veteran pitmaster Brian Turner shared their reflections on Chicago’s barbecue legacy in 2016.
West Town: New China Station, a neighborhood favorite for Sichuan cuisine, is permanently closed at 2411 W. North Avenue, according to food writer and Eater Chicago contributor Titus Ruscitti. “Signs are still up but the inside is empty save for some chairs,” he writes on Twitter. “Maybe it comes back but it’s not looking good... I’ll very much miss that dry chili fish filet.”
That’s all she wrote folks. Signs are still up but the inside is empty save for some chairs. Maybe it comes back but it’s not looking good. I wonder what happened as it was typically busy with pickups and deliveries. I’ll very much miss that dry chili fish filet. pic.twitter.com/Tl7qeIzbFc— Titus Pullo (@chibbqk1ng) October 6, 2022
Arlington Heights: Suburban stalwart Dondi’s Pizza is permanently closed after more than half a century in business, according to the Daily Herald. Ownership announced the closure in early October on Facebook, writing that a “dismal economy” made the restaurant unsustainable. In the following days, however, co-owner Frank Chilelli told reporters that several parties have expressed interest in purchasing the business, including the unnamed owner of another pizzeria in the area.
It’s true: Lizzy J Cafe is closed permantly in North Center. The breakfast restaurant, known for its spicy French toast syrup and other morning specialites, closed around Easter at 2205 W. Montrose Avenue.
But chef and owner Jamie Gilmore’s story isn’t over. Gilmore says the restaurant closed due to the pandemic — she couldn’t staff properly to keep a high level of service and supply chain has been abysmal. She hopes to open a new location sometime in the winter in Aurora or Naperville. She lives in the area.
Since the closure, Gilmore has pivoted, catering and popping up across the country including in Los Angeles. Gilmore says it showed her that regardless of where they lived, people really like her food, it gave her confidence. She hasn’t given up on Chicago, but says she’ll need help for a comeback. She wants to find a business partner or franchise Lizzy J. She’s also looking for new revenue streams. There’s hope that Mariano’s will start selling the aforementioned syrup in bottles later next year on retail shelves. The grocer would be wise, because it’s one of the most unique sauces in Chicago.
In the interim, Gilmore has found a place in the city to pop up, Loft on Lake, a West Loop private event space. They’ll host a pop-up on Sunday, October 23. Tickets will go on sale on Monday, October 3. Check Lizzy J’s Instagram for more details.
Lakeview: An outpost of local brunch mini-chain Kanela Breakfast Club permanently closed over the summer after more than a decade at 3231 N. Clark Street. The location previously housed a location from another Chicago brunch brand, Orange, which in April closed its last remaining restaurant. Kanela continues to serve eggs, mimosas, and more in Andersonville, Wicker Park, Old Town, and Streeterville.
Lakeview: Smylie Brothers’ Chicago brewpub, 3027 N. Broadway, has shuttered a year after opening. The restaurant served barbecue but failed to gain traction in the urban market. Block Club Chicago has more on the story.
Lincoln Park: Cafe Luigi Pizza, a New York-style slice shop, has closed its doors on Clark Street. The reliable late-night pizzeria was a haven. The owners posted a sign at the restaurant, 2548 N. Clark Street. They had been around Chicago since 1993.
Berwyn: Despite an effort to save the restaurant, it’s curtains for one of the area’s finest encased meat merchants. Big Guys Sausage Stand, 7021 Roosevelt Road in Berwyn is closed. Beyond the inventive sandwiches, Big Guys also catered family meals. The city’s sausage scene won’t be the same.
Irving Park: 24-hour street food staple Susie’s Drive-Thru is permanently closed after nearly half a century on Montrose Avenue. The unfussy spot has been a late-night go-to for generations of Chicagoans hungry for Chicago-style hot dogs, cheesesteaks, milkshakes, and more. Founded in 1973, the business was the last remaining member of three local hot dog spots established by the Ninos family, and was named for daughter and later co-owner Susan Kandra, according to Time Out Chicago. Susie’s was arguably best known for its signature fries, served in a taco shell and doused with cheese and bacon. Fans have taken to social media to mourn: “RIP Susie’s,” Chicago DJ Caryn Robinson writes on Twitter. “Gonna miss that gargantuan order of cheese fries that disagreed with my gut so much.”
RIP Susie’s. Gonna miss that gargantuan order of cheese fries that disagreed with my gut so much. pic.twitter.com/qKc61sQ9ve— Hennessee Williams (@AllTheWayKay) September 2, 2022
Logan Square: Wormhole 2, the ‘90s-style coffee shop spinoff of Wicker Park’s ‘80s-themed spot Wormhole, is permanently closed after two years, according to Block Club Chicago. Co-owner Dan Weiss (Dollop Coffee) tells reporters that rent costs at its Milwaukee Avenue location — just beside storied Chicago confectionary Margie’s Candies — were too high to be sustainable. The business opened in July 2020 and thus faced significant challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a series of events that contributed to the shop’s demise. Weiss hopes Wormhole 2’s fans and regulars will redirect their focus to the original shop, which he says is doing well.
Ravenswood: Urban Brew Labs, the four-year-old local brewery that in 2021 opened a taproom in the former Metropolitan Brewing space on Ravenswood Avenue, will permanently close after service on Sunday, September 11, ownership announced on Facebook. Located on Malt Row, the name bestowed by officials on the stretch of breweries in the Ravenswood Industrial Corridor, the taproom was known for creations like the Soul Punch smoothie sour and nightly events like trivia and knitting workshops. “There are two main reasons to open a brewery: You’re an idiot and hate money,” operators write. “Kidding. We opened to offer beer that we could share with the public and make money in the process... The natural question that comes to mind is, why are we closing? Well, the answer is simple: we didn’t sell enough beer to cover our expenses.”
River North: Though ownership told Eater Chicago in July it would reopen next year, Bernie’s Chicago, 660 N. Orleans Street, appears permanently closed. A “for lease” sign has been put up at the building. The bar and restaurant opened in 2015 from Michigan-based Peas & Carrots Hospitality. While Peas & Carrots didn’t expand much into Chicago, owner Zack Sklar remains the franchise owner of Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken’s Fulton Market location.
West Town: G&O Tavern has poured its final round. The bar closed Friday, September 2 at 459 W. Ogden Avenue. The bar opened in 2014, named for the Grand and Ogden intersection, from the same owners as Aberdeen Tap (located across the street).
Fulton Market: Modern Mexican restaurant Chikatana is permanently closed just over a year after its debut in one of Chicago’s hottest dining neighborhoods, according to a rep. Ownership group Spearhead Hospitality, also behind the Robey in Wicker Park and Canal Street Market & Eatery in the West Loop, opened Chikatana in June 2021 as a replacement for City Tap , which closed during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Due to challenges with rising costs, staffing, and a menu concept that didn’t speak to the market as anticipated, the group decided to focus efforts into their other thriving businesses...” a statement reads in part.
Lakeview: The Biscuit Man, the counter-service spot for fluffy biscuit sandwiches housed inside beer bar institution the Long Room, will permanently close after service on Sunday, August 28, owner Analia Beltran-Lang announced Wednesday on Instagram. The business was founded in 2016 by chef Zeeshan Shah (who left to open Superkhana International) and accumulated a following for its buttery, flaky biscuits. Beltran-Lang purchased the business three years later. “When I bought Biscuit Man, back in 2019, I had big plans for Biscuit Man’s future,” she writes. “Unfortunately, so did COVID. Everything has changed and it’s no longer sustainable.”
Lincoln Square: Before Billy Lawless opened the Gage, the Dawson, and Coda di Volpe, he and Malcolm Malloy opened a bar in 2002 in Lincoln Square. Lawless would depart, but the neighborhood continued to rally around the Irish pub with a long beer list and a back room with a fireplace that hosted birthdays, book releases, baby showers — pretty much any special occasion. Though the bar has evolved from when Guinness was considered the only craft beer option on a local bar’s tap, the Grafton remained a strong part of the area. But COVID has kept customers away, and this summer was particularly devastating to business for current owners Malcolm and Andrea Molloy. According to a tweet, the bar will close on Sunday, August 28 at 4530 N. Lincoln Avenue. For Lawless, who wasn’t reached for comment, this marks the end for two of his old bars. The Irish Oak, also under new ownership, closed in July after 24 years in Wrigleyville. The Malloys and Lawless remain friends.
Wicker Park: Neon Wilderness, the Milwaukee Avenue tavern that straddled the fence between old-school dive and hip cocktail lounge, will permanently close at the end of August, bartender and owner Brad Bolt announced Wednesday on Instagram. Founded in 2018 with a name plucked from Nelson Algren’s 1947 anthology, Neon Wilderness hoped to bring fresh energy to an area with an otherwise sleepy nighttime scene. For his part, Bolt emphasizes the human cost of hospitality operations during the pandemic and unstable economic times. “This bar was a very important part of my life for four years and I’m sad to let it go but it was also a great source of a lot of pain for the past couple years,” he writes. “My heart is with all of the operators that have made it this far in the pandemic and continue to make things work no matter the expense. The true expense, I’ve found, is at the personal level.”
Pilsen: Venerable Chinatown pastry spot Chiu Quon Bakery permanently closed its outpost at massive Chinese grocer and food hall 88 Marketplace due to “unforeseen circumstances,” operators announced in late July on Facebook. The family-owned institution, heralded as the oldest in Chinatown, has drawn fans since 1986 to its original location on Wentworth Avenue.
Logan Square: Mexican restaurant Ocaso is permanently closed after just under a year in business, co-owner Areerat Potikul announced in late July on Instagram. Potikul and her business partners opened Ocaso in September 2021 in the former Masa Azul space on Diversey Avenue. In November, ownership fell victim to phishing fraudsters who played havoc with the restaurant’s reservation system, shut down online orders on its website, and created a fake business page on Facebook.
Logan Square: Longtime neighborhood bar and restaurant the Rocking Horse is permanently closed after 12 years following a dispute between owner Anthony Fiacchino and landlord Martin Barboza, according to Block Club Chicago. Originally founded in 2009, the Rocking Horse struggled to transition to a takeout model during Chicago’s pandemic shutdowns. Once it was able to reopen for indoor service, however, Fiacchino tells reporters that it was plagued by constant issues with the building that got in the way of regular operations. Barboza, on the other hand, claims that Fiacchino owes $150,000 for back rent and other costs, and says he addressed concerns with the building’s infrastructure as soon as he was able. Barboza reportedly served Fiacchino with an eviction notice in fall 2021. Renovations are now underway at the Milwaukee Avenue space, but Barboza declined to provide details on future plans.
West Loop: Mad Social, the creative Italian American restaurant from second generation restaurateur Gina Stefani (daughter of prolific Chicago hospitality operator Phil Stefani), has permanently closed after six years, ownership announced in early August on Facebook. A replacement is already in line to take over the space, Stefani writes. The Madison Street restaurant had sat closed from March 2020 until January 2022, and then faced the same staffing challenges as the rest of the hospitality industry, she tells Block Club.