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 annual challenge of winter illnesses.
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 email@example.com. We will continue to update this post.
For summer and fall closures, go here.
Lincoln Park: Chez Moi, one of Chicago’s top French restaurants, will permanently close in the spring following its final service on April 1 at 2100 N. Halsted Street, ownership announced on Facebook. A cozy bistro known for its rustic approach, Chez Moi earned a loyal following through its late founder, chef Dominque Tougne. Hailed throughout the hospitality industry as a steward of French culinary tradition, Tougne (also behind shuttered spot French Quiche) studied under famous chefs Joël Robuchon and Jacques Sénéchal. He died following a heart attack in July 2022.
“We would like to express our gratitude to all of our friends for eleven wonderful years at Chez Moi,” owners write. “This community stood with us through the good times and through the tough years. The love and support from all of you after the tragic loss of Chef Dominique has been humbling. It is with heavy hearts that we must bid you adieu.”
Lincoln Park: The second location of La Vaca has closed. The Mexican restaurant, known for its margaritas, opened another outpost in 2020 near Halsted and Armitage. The windows are now papered over with “for lease” signs at 1969 N. Halsted Street. The original location in Pilsen remains unaffected.
Logan Square: Italian restaurant Buona Terra Ristorante will permanently close on Saturday, March 18 after more than 20 years at 2535 N. California Avenue, co-owners and spouses Jose Garcia and Eileen Gregg Garcia announced Monday on Facebook. The pair plan to absorb displaced staff members and integrate hit menu items into their Irving Park restaurant Hearth & Crust, which will be renamed Buona Terra when it reopens by April 1. Block Club has more on the closure.
Portage Park: Foundation Tavern & Grille, a neighborhood bar with live music that operated under various names since 1984, is permanently closed at 5007 W. Irving Park Road, owners Robert and Marcus Sulejmani announced Sunday on Facebook. Originally dubbed Frank and Ann’s, the business was renamed Nite Cap before rebranding as Foundation in 2019. Its building was sold last week for about $1.7 million, Block Club reports.
Ravenswood: Bliss Resto Chicago, a pan Asian restaurant serving Thai, Chinese, and Japanese dishes, now bears paper-covered windows and a for-lease sign at 1522 W. Montrose Avenue. Its phone number and online ordering platform are also disconnected. Bliss first opened in early 2019 in the former home of BYOB Mexican restaurant El Maya.
South Loop: Badger-friendly sports bar Kroll’s South Loop is permanently closed — for the second time — after 17 years at 1736 S. Michigan Avenue, ownership wrote in a Facebook post. Its last day of service was Friday, February 17. Kroll’s previously announced plans to close in September 2020 due to pandemic mitigation rules and economic pressures. It reopened in May 2021.
Niles: Suburban bar and restaurant Wildwood Tavern is closed due to a combination of staffing challenges and economic inflation, according to the Tribune. Owner Mark Freedman, son of Myron & Phil steakhouse co-founder Myron Freedman, hit pause on operations in December but told reporters that he plans to remodel the building at 6480 W. Touhy Avenue in Niles and reopen with a new restaurant. A timeline for a reopening is not yet available.
Edgewater: Dak, one of Chicago’s top Korean restaurants, is closed after 10 years in business, according to a sign on the door at 1104 W. Granville Avenue. It specialized in crispy, flavorful fried chicken wings, as well as rice bowls and classics like bulgogi and dukbokki. “Dear Friends, it’s with sadness to announce that we are permanently closing DAK,” it reads. “Every meal and review kept us going year after year. It’s just time to move on... Thank you!”
Lakeview: Neighborhood bakery Empanada Mama & the Pie Man has announced plans to close its Chicago cafe on Sunday, February 12 at 2933 N. Broadway Street, according to an Instagram post. Co-owners and spouses Deon Benito-Cardillo and Oreste Cardillo accumulated a following with savory Argentinian empanadas with a range of creative fillings as well as sweet Key lime pie and apple cranberry crumble. The couple decided to shut down the local bakery to focus on growing their new business, the House of Pies, in northern Michigan. The Lakeview business has nothing to do with an upcoming West Town restaurant with a similar name.
Lincoln Park: The Kennison, the new American restaurant that replaced Perennial Virant on the ground floor of the Hotel Lincoln, permanently closed in October 2022 after five years, ownership announced at the time on Instagram. It opened to much fanfare in 2017 and quickly garnered critical adoration. “It has been a great honor to serve the incredible Lincoln Park community, and we sincerely want to thank you for all of your support,” the post reads.
Logan Square: Ground Control, a decade-old vegan favorite at 3315 W. Armitage Avenue, is permanently closed, according to Block Club Chicago. Co-owners and spouses Dan Hanaway and Carrie Haase tell reporters that the shutter was due to years of accumulated economic and logistical stress, but that community support for the business remained solid even during indoor dining shutdowns. The couple had hoped to sell the restaurant to a new owner, but the deal fell through shortly before the closure.
Streeterville: Roman-style pizzeria l’Aventino Forno Romano is permanently closed after more than three years at 355 E. Ohio Street, ownership announced on the restaurant’s website. The shutter doesn’t help the location, which saw four pizzeria closures in four years prior to l’Aventino’s 2019 debut, buck its cursed reputation.
Barrington: Craft beer maker Flesk Brewing, located 40 miles northwest of Chicago in far suburban Barrington, is permanently closed after more than five years at 200 Applebee Street inside the Ice House Mall & Village Shops mall, ownership announced in late January on Facebook. Founded in 2017 by brothers William and James O’Brien, the brewery offered a rotating lineup of 10 draft brews that ranged from traditional lagers to sours, IPAs, and more.
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.