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Photograph: Galdones Photography

Michigan Avenue Italian restaurant Spiaggia is closing permanently

After 37 years in business, the Michelin-starred restaurant has served its last orecchiette.

Zach Long

While many restaurants have welcomed back guests to their dining rooms over the past few months, we're still learning of beloved spots that won't be reopening their doors. This morning, Michigan Avenue fine dining institution Spiaggia revealed via an announcement on its website that it is closing permanently.

According to the statement, Spiaggia's owners were "unsuccessful in our efforts with the landlord to restructure our soon-to-expire lease." Located on the second floor of 980 N Michigan Avenue and boasting views of the Magnificent Mile, the Italian restaurant had a prime location, welcoming tourists and locals alike. But the cost of maintaining that location seem to have ultimately been too much of a burden, especially after more than a year without customers in the dining room—Spiaggia's owners stated that a renegotiated lease "was necessary to reflect the realities of operating a restaurant in an office building, post-pandemic."

For the majority of its existence, Spiaggia was helmed by Chef Tony Mantuano, who earned the James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef Midwest in 2005. In recent years, Spiaggia has been a place where some of Chicago's most notable chefs have kickstarted their careers, including Joe Flamm—who won season 15 of Top Chef and recently opened his own restaurant, Rose Mary—and Sarah Grueneberg, another Top Chef competitor who is currently the head chef and owner of acclaimed Italian restaurant Monteverde.

"The endless number of special occasions, the most passionate staff and the amazing talent who honed their skills in our kitchens and dining rooms throughout the years, and who are still delighting guests around the country, will remind us that Spiaggia and Café Spiaggia will live forever," ownership said in a statement.

It's unclear whether or not Spiaggia may reopen elsewhere, but you won't be able to enjoy a picture-perfect plate of pasta and glass of wine in the restaurant's former dining room again. The closure is another sobering reminder that not even Michelin-starred restaurants are immune to the immense challenges facing the businesses as they attempt to recover and reopen after an especially hard year.

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