Calumet Fisheries, an iconic Chicago spot that’s served smoked fish since 1948 on the city’s far South Side, is temporarily closed after a fire caused extensive roof damage just days before Thanksgiving.
The blaze, which broke out around 1 p.m. on Tuesday, November 21, at the famed roadside shack at 3259 E. 95th Street, was the result of an electrical issue, according to the Chicago Fire Department. Investigators add that no one was injured and firefighters were able to extinguish the flames.
Damage to Calumet fishery is extensive. Fire was in large void in upper area now out with no injury to members. Business had been subject of earlier closure by City pic.twitter.com/6Fnzx02L6R— Chicago Fire Media (@CFDMedia) November 21, 2023
The fire is the latest in a series of challenges for Calumet Fisheries, which faced a license suspension in late October and failed several Chicago Department of Public Health inspections until officials allowed it to reopen on Friday, November 17. Nevertheless, co-owner Mark Kotlick told the Sun-Times that he intends to repair the building and reopen the business, which in 2010 was named a timeless American Classic by the James Beard Foundation.
Tribune bids farewell to one of its restaurant critics
Chicago Tribune dining critic Nick Kindelsperger has left the city’s largest newspaper after seven years, including more than two years of reviewing restaurants alongside co-critic Louisa Chu. He announced the move in mid-November on Instagram. Previously editor of the now-defunct Grub Street Chicago and contributing writer at Serious Eats, Kindelsperger joined the Trib in 2016 and was promoted alongside Chu five years later following the retirement of celebrated longtime critic Phil Vettel. At the time, the decision to emphasize two critical voices was viewed as a significant shift — one that embraced diversity and eschewed the industry’s historic bent toward anonymity.
Kindelsperger’s departure comes on the heels of another notable exit at the Alden-owned publication: Food editor Ariel Cheung left the paper in September to work as editorial director at City Bureau. In his farewell post, Kindelsperger did not detail his future plans but teased an eventual return to food writing down the line. “The past seven and a half years were wild, thrilling, and constantly chaotic,” he writes, noting turmoil and significant turnover in the Trib’s newsroom. “I remain in awe of Chicago and the talent of the chefs. I tried to never shy away from criticism, but I defiantly refused to indulge in cynicism. To dismiss the abundance of restaurant riches around Chicago seems akin to turning your back on a daily miracle.”
10 percent of Illinois breweries have closed in the last two years
Chicago has long garnered a reputation as a haven for craft breweries, but the situation for beer makers across Illinois is growing increasingly precarious as the industry strives to recover from pandemic losses. Ten percent of the state’s breweries have permanently closed in less than two years, according to Crain’s, and more are expected to close their doors in the coming months as business slows during the winter. Thirty-one Illinois craft breweries have closed since 2022, Illinois Craft Brewers Guild executive director Ray Stout tells reporters, putting a serious dent in the state’s $2.8 billion industry that employs about 6,000 residents. In December, Avondale’s Metropolitan Brewery will join the list of bygone beer makers when it closes its riverside taproom on Rockwell Street.