Five of Chicago’s bar and restaurant closures | Eater/Getty
Here’s which Chicago restaurants have announced they are temporarily or permanently closed
Chicago bars and restaurant are on the cusp of a full reopening, as city officials on Friday will remove all restrictions on capacity and social distancing in hospitality businesses. For many owners, however, that won’t mean a return to pre-pandemic normalcy. A labor shortage in Chicago and across the country is impacting numerous reopening plans, and rising food prices are hitting the wallets of both operators and customers.
Below, Eater is cataloging both temporary and permanent restaurant closures in Chicago. If you know of a restaurant, bar, or other food establishment that has closed since the start of the pandemic, please email email@example.com. We will continue to update this post.
North Center: All-you-can-eat sushi spot Wasabi Cafe permanently closed in early May after 10 years, according to its website. The restaurant shared ownership with House of Sushi and Noodles, which closed in 2015 after 13 years in Lakeview.
Old Town: Casual seafood mini-chain Surf’s Up in May permanently closed its location in Old Town after less than a year, according to a Facebook post. “My time is up here at Surf’s Up Old Town 1143 North Wells,” operator Vanetta Roy writes. “Landlord and I can not agree upon a new lease amount and $8k a month while still in COVID ain’t gone happen! When one door closes another one opens so ATL HERE I COME!!” The Old Town outpost first opened in June 2020.
Portage Park: After more than half a century, Italian deli stalwart Sicilia Bakery is closed indefinitely at 5939 W. Lawrence Avenue due to a labor shortage, ownership writes Thursday on Facebook. “We didn’t want it to come to this, but as of today our front of house is closed indefinitely due to a lack of workforce,” the post reads. Catering is still available. The business was originally founded in 1968.
Rogers Park: Neighborhood brunch spot Nibbles and Nosh is permanently closed after four years at 6981 N. Sheridan Road, according to Block Club Chicago. Owners Kat Connor and Lindzi Shanks, also behind sweets cafe and retail business XO Marshmallow, in late May announced the closure in a Facebook post.
Evanston: Suburban-based cafe Backlot Coffee on May 30 permanently closed its location at 1549 Sherman Avenue with plans to turn the space into a plant shop and retail space, according to a Facebook post. The decision was largely prompted by the impending arrival of a competing coffeeshop, ownership writes: “After the announcement of Dollop Coffee Company (@dollopcoffeeco) opening across the street, we made the difficult decision to close our doors and reimagine what kind of business would thrive on this beautiful corner of Sherman and Grove.” Locations in Old Irving Park and on Central Street in Evanston remain open.
For a list of the 2021 winter/spring closings, click here.