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Rock Bottom Brewery Ends a Two-Decade Run and Five More Restaurant Closings

A running log of Chicago restaurants and bars that are closed

A large corner building with a large neon sign that reads “Rock Bottom.”
Rock Bottom Brewery’s closure has prompted a flood of nostalgic goodbyes.
Google

Chicago winters inevitably arrive with a plethora of difficulties, but for the city’s hospitality industry, it’s the most challenging time of year. Cold, wet weather is an obvious obstacle, but in 2023, chefs and restaurateurs are also grappling with inflated food costs, ongoing staffing shortages, and the possibility of a “tripledemic” headed down the pipeline.

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 chicago@eater.com. We will continue to update this post.

For summer and fall closures, go here.

January 10

Back of the Yards: Indie roastery and cafe Back of the Yards Coffeehouse closed its original location in late December at 2059 W. 47th Street as co-owners Jesse Iñiguez and Mayra Hernandez prepare for a move to the neighborhood’s forthcoming United Yards development, according to Block Club Chicago. The pair are also planning to open an outpost in Pilsen’s Mural Park development and hope to eventually expand into Downtown Chicago.

Lakeview: Wilmette-based Pescadero Seafood & Oyster Bar is permanently closed after 1258 W. Belmont Avenue about a year and a half after it took over the former home of neighborhood seafood spot Fahlstrom’s Fresh Fish Market, reps from ownership group Vandelay Brands announced Sunday on Instagram. Pescadero’s original suburban restaurant will remain open. “Unfortunately we did not get the volume needed in order for a full-service seafood restaurant to succeed,” they write in the comments. “We had a great staff, great product, and great customers, but in the end [it] was not fiscally able to survive.”

River North: National brewpub chain Rock Bottom Brewery on Sunday closed a prominent location after more than two decades at 1 W. Grand Avenue, sparking a flood of nostalgic farewells from Chicagoans on social media. “RIP RoBo,” Lacey Irby, co-owner of French Canadian restaurant Dear Margaret, wrote on Instagram Stories. “At one point in my life, I drank so much beer at this location, they put my name on a barrel.”

When it first opened, Rock Bottom was a rare safe space for downtown beer fans who didn’t want Miller or Bud, and in 2003 it housed the first Festival of Wood & Barrel Aged Beers (FOBAB), an annual event that has become one of the most noteworthy craft beer gatherings in the country. Craftworks Holdings, the brand’s former parent company, filed for bankruptcy in 2020 and was then purchased by Texas-based SPB Hospitality for a cool $93 million. Rock Bottom’s Chicago shutter comes on the heels of closures in Milwaukee and Minneapolis in late 2022. There are two remaining breweries in downtown Chicago: Crushed by Giants and Adams Street Brewery.

West Rogers Park: Adored South Asian stalwart Tiffin Indian Kitchen is permanently closed after nearly 30 years at 2536 W. Devon Avenue, ownership announced on the restaurant’s website. It opened in 1995 and quickly developed a following for its comfortable and unfussy space and popular lunch buffet. The economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, set Tiffin on a path from which it could not recover: in fall 2020, owner Sacchu Khatwani (also behind Udupi Palace) said business had dropped by 80 percent over eight months.

Evanston: Chicago-area beer maker Smylie Brothers Brewing Co. has permanently closed its original brewpub after eight years at 1615 Oak Avenue in suburban Evanston, according to an Instagram post. The shutter comes about four months after the brewery closed a Lakeview outpost that opened in September 2021. “Thank you to all our friends, family, coworkers, and guests, your support over the past eight years is truly appreciated,” owners write. “Sadly, as a result of the pandemic we are no longer able to operate the business and are now closed.”

Naperville: Francesca’s Passaggio, a regional Italian spot from prolific Chicago area hospitality group Scott Harris Hospitality (also behind the Mia Francesca restaurant chain) is permanently closed after 17 years at 3124 S. Route 59 in Naperville, according to the Tribune.

Tiffin Indian Kitchen

2536 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60659 (773) 338-2143 Visit Website

Smylie Brothers Brewing Co.

3827 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60613

Back of the Yards Coffeehouse

2059 West 47th Street, , IL 60609 (773) 475-6381 Visit Website

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