Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right Illinois icon-chevron-right Chicago icon-chevron-right These notable Chicago restaurants and bars have now permanently closed
Mundano dining room
Photograph: Pato Thornycroft

These notable Chicago restaurants and bars have now permanently closed

Bid farewell to the local greats that won't be reopening in Chicago.

By Morgan Olsen
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Make no mistake about it: Chicago restaurants are actively fighting to survive the current crisis. Without federal assistance, many local bars and restaurants have been forced to permanently close due to COVID-19 and the financial strains of operating at a reduced capacity.

Here, we're paying tribute to some of the most notable Chicago closures, from veggie palace Bad Hunter and chicken shop Luella's Gospel Bird to fine-dining beacon Everest. This list is by no means exhaustive, but we'll be sure to keep it updated as we find out about additional departures in the coming months. For now, take a look at some of the noteworthy restaurants and bars that won't be returning to Chicago's dining scene.

Permanent restaurant and bar closures in Chicago

City Mouse at Ace Hotel
City Mouse at Ace Hotel
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

City Mouse

The sophisticated restaurant in the lobby of the Ace Hotel has permanently closed, making way for a pop-up concept from Alinea, the details of which are still forthcoming. City Mouse was an all-day concept curated by celebrated chef Jason Vincent (Giant, Chef's Special Cocktail Bar). Like his other concepts, the menu here celebrated seasonal local produce presented in innovative ways. A note on the website reads, "Over the last three years, it's been an honor to have you here—to host your birthdays, anniversaries, first dates (the good ones), after-work happy hours and opulent weekend brunches. We're truly so grateful for you and your patronage (plus your adorable patio pups), and we’ll miss you."

Hamburger Mary’s

Drag show destination Hamburger Mary's will close its Andersonville location on Sunday, November 1. "Until then, we will be keeping our normal hours of business, as well as our schedule of 'Dining with the Divas' drag shows (seating is extremely limited, so reservations may be required)," notes a Facebook announcement. "We want to thank everyone who has helped make Hamburger Mary’s a special place for almost 15 years... the staff, the entertainment, and especially our guests." Ownership optimistically adds that they're scouting a new location for the popular LGBTQ-friendly restaurant and bar—look out for details in spring 2021.

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Everest
Everest
Photograph: Courtesy Lettuce Entertain You

Everest

After serving fanciful French fare for more than three decades, Michelin-starred Everest has announced its final night of service. "Everest will be serving dinner for the last time on December 31, 2020, as the restaurant’s lease has expired," explains an Instagram post. "Chef J. Joho is extremely proud of Everest’s legacy and the many years that he and his team spent serving loyal guests." Joho told the Chicago Tribune that the building—425 South Financial Place—didn't want to renew the restaurant's lease but he was determined to stay open through the end for customers and staff. The 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange should be an epic place to bid adieu to 2020.

Mundano
Mundano
Photograph: Garrett Sweet

Mundano

New restaurant Mundano has shuttered following an eight-month run, as first reported by Eater Chicago. With a kitchen helmed by chef Ross Henke (Quiote), the sprawling Lincoln Park eatery specialized in New American fare with Latin American influences. Bridging the gap between inclusivity and service, front of house manager Trista Baker is the founder of Restaurant Culture Association, a nonprofit aimed at transforming the hospitality industry through policy reform and education. Neither Mundano nor its employees have released a public statement on the closure yet.

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Schoolyard Tavern

Neighborhood watering hole Schoolyard Tavern served its last call in early October, announcing via Facebook that COVID-19 sealed its fate. "Unfortunately, trying to run a sports bar in this new reality is just not sustainable," the post reads. "... Please take a look around and see the devastation happening to our fellow brothers and sisters in the bar/restaurant and small business communities. Please support your local, small businesses as much as you are able to."

Maude’s Liquor Bar

Following the closures of its Humboldt Park spots C.C. Ferns and the California Clipper, Hogsalt Hospitality is also dropping West Loop darling Maude's Liquor Bar. The romantic standby opened in 2011 and specialized in French eats, seafood towers and excellent cocktails—all served in a dimly lit, chandelier-clad dining room. In a heartfelt letter posted to its website and signed "Maude," management wrote: "Someday, people may say that we were a victim of the pandemic of '20, but don't believe them. No, I simply knew it was time. All things must come to an end, mes chers, and so has Maude's."

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Young American
Young American
Photograph: Nick Murway

Young American

This edgy Logan Square bar is closing for good to make way for an exciting new takeout-only sandwich shop from award-winning chefs Ryan Pfeiffer (Blackbird) and Mason Hereford (New Orlean's Turkey and the Wolf). Young American opened in early 2019 and touted a forward-thinking beverage menu that was rife with CBD-infused elixirs. Chef Nick Jirasek, who's staying on to help with the new concept, helmed the kitchen and cranked out remixed Filipino-American eats. Keep an eye on the space for Big Kids' big debut soon.

Fountainhead
Fountainhead
Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki

Fountainhead

After more than a decade in Lincoln Square, beloved beer bar and restaurant Fountainhead is scheduled to close in November 14. "We have made every effort to make adjustments to operate in this 'new normal' but with limitations restricting revenue and without funding to offset this condition it is impossible to continue," ownership wrote in an Instagram post. Still, Fountainhead is leaving the door open, noting that they could reverse the decision if things change drastically and they might open a new venue when it makes sense. Stay tuned.

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Pierogi Heaven

Loop lunch favorite Pierogi Heaven has apparently closed, as first reported by Eater Chicago, who noted that the restaurant's phone has been disconnected and its Yelp page has been marked "closed." The storefront specialized in borscht, Polish sausage and—of course—14 varieties of pillowy dumplings.

Barton G

This larger-than-life River North restaurant is gone for good. "After careful consideration, we regret to inform you of the permanent closure of Barton G. Chicago due to difficulties related to the COVID-19 pandemic," a statement on the website reads. "We have thoroughly enjoyed serving the Chicago community and thank our hardworking team as well as our dedicated supporters." Barton G. continues to serve whimsical fare in Miami and Los Angeles.

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Finom Coffee
Finom Coffee
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Finom Coffee

One of the best coffee shops in Chicago is no more. Eater Chicago was first to report the closure of Finom Coffee, a cozy Irving Park haunt with serious charm and excellent Hungarian small plates. "We knew this was gonna happen and tried all we could to prevent it or at least delay it but in the end it is what it is," wrote co-owner Rafa Esparza in a bittersweet Instagram post. "I won’t go on about how 'heavy my heart is' because I’m genuinely not sad or angry, it was a beautiful moment in time and the whole crew fucking slayed from day one!"

Kiki’s Bistro

It's closing time for Kiki's Bistro, a classic French hideout that has lovingly served the Near North neighborhood for several decades. Ownership announced that the restaurant will close for good on Wednesday, September 30; in the meantime, it's auctioning off glassware, kitchen equipment and artwork to longtime fans. "We appreciate the birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions and everyday meals that you spent dining and laughing with us," reads a heartfelt statement on the restaurant's website. "Those memories have sustained us through the last few months, as your visits did for those many years."

However, the announcement does leave the door open, noting that owner Georges "Kiki" Cuisance is keeping an eye out for "a potential petite Kiki’s—a tiny, cozy reboot with the potential to offer authentic French fare you love on a very intimate scale."

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Lawry's The Prime Rib
Lawry's The Prime Rib
Photograph: Courtesy Lawry's The Prime Rib

Lawry’s The Prime Rib

Iconic downtown steakhouse Lawry's will close at the end of the year, dishing out its final dinner service on New Year's Eve. The Los Angeles import settled into its home in the McCormick Mansion back in 1974 and became a fast favorite for its decadent prime rib, soul-warming Yorkshire pudding and mesmerizing spinning bowl salad. Over the coming months, devotees can attend behind-the-scenes tours of the historic mansion, partake in holiday celebrations and—of course—have one last prime rib dinner.

Fay Willy's
Fay Willy's
Photograph: Erica Gannett

Fat Willy’s Rib Shack

Bo Fowler's longtime Logan Square barbecue joint Fat Willy's will shutter for good after serving its final meal on Sunday, September 27. "It’s with deep gratitude and a true shade of sadness that we are announcing our closure at the end of this month," reads a heartfelt Facebook post from the restaurant. "... We have been serving the neighborhood for 19+ years and we have been humbled and honored to serve so many incredible guests. Many of you became a special part of our lives and it was an amazing thing to feed you all."

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 Southport Lanes
 Southport Lanes
Photograph: Courtesy Southport Lanes

Southport Lanes

Beloved Lakeview bar Southport Lanes announced that it will permanently shutter on Sunday, September 27. The 98-year-old boozy bowling alley and billiards hall has an illustrious history in Chicago. It was built back in 1900 by the Schlitz Brewing Company and has lived many lives since, including incarnations as a speakeasy, a brothel, a gambling facility, a beer hall and a polling place. The building underwent significant remodels in 1991 and again in 2003, and these days, Southport Lanes is a beloved neighborhood joint that specializes in craft beer and pub grub with a side of bowling and billiards.

U.B. Dogs

With foot traffic down in the Loop, popular lunch haunt U.B. Dogs was forced to close after a decade of slinging dogs, brats, burgers and sandwiches. "While it breaks our hearts to announce our permanent closure, we wanted to take the time and properly thank our customers and family for their support over these last 10 years," reads a farewell post on the restaurant's Facebook page.

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Redmond’s Ale House

Wrigleyville sports bar Redmond's Ale House went out on a high note in mid-September: The day before it closed, the Minnesota bar showed the first Vikings game of the season. "There are not enough words to express all the memories that have happened within our walls or how much we will truly miss all of you," a final Facebook post reads. "Thank you for your patronage. Thank you for your support. Just thank you for being a part of Redmond's." Eater Chicago first reported the story, noting that a rental listing for the venue is now available online.

Wells Street Market
Wells Street Market
Photograph: Courtesy Wells Street Market

Wells Street Market

Throughout its two-plus years in business, this Loop food hall hosted vendors like Firecakes, Piggie Smalls, Tempesta Market, Furious Spoon, FARE and Pork & Mindy's. But with many Chicagoans still working from home, the Loop doesn't get the weekday foot traffic it used to. Management remains hopeful that one day it might be able to resurrect their once-successful concept: "It is still unclear what the future will hold for the Wells Street Market, but we hope for the possibility of reopening one day when life goes back to some sense of normalcy," a press release reads.

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Passerotto
Passerotto
Photograph: Mistey Nguyen

Passerotto

Time Out restaurant critic Maggie Hennessy practically sang about her five-star dining experience at Passerotto, the  Italian-influenced Korean-American eatery from Jennifer Kim. Unfortunately, the Andersonville restaurant closed up shop on September 12. "The neighborhood, the guests and the community have shared with us the most memorable 3 years we’ve experienced in a long line of phenomenal memories," a note on the website reads. "Thank you to all who have spent time within our four walls; thank you to all of you who have supported, nurtured and guided our connections to each other."

Ronny’s Steakhouse

It's hard to imagine the Loop without this iconic cafeteria-style steakhouse. After nearly 60 years of hospitality, Ronny's is turning off its neon sign for good and permanently closing its doors. Management posted a heartfelt message on Facebook, reading in part: "From the corner of Randolph and State to Clark and Lake and all the locations in between, Ronny’s has stood as a beacon welcoming all of Chicago, and those from around the globe, into our dining room and family. For this, we will be eternally grateful."

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La Sardine

After 22 years in the West Loop, La Sardine has reached institution status thanks to its classic French fare and welcoming environs. The Chicago Tribune first reported that the restaurant has closed permanently due to coronavirus and a broken air-conditioning unit that would have cost $80,000 to repair. "We have seen the [West Loop] change completely but we have tried to remain consistent, delicious, but most of all that old school place that knows your name and is excited to see you again!" management wrote in a tear-inducing Instagram post. Sister spot Le Bouchon remains open for all of your French cravings.

harold's fried chicken
harold's fried chicken
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Harold’s Chicken Shack #55

Real Chicagoans know that the Harold's Chicken Shack on 87th Street has long been considered the crème de la crème of the franchise's locations. Owner Percy Billings says that he was forced to shutter the outpost at the end of July due to a rent spike. Devotees can still find the mild-sauce–smothered fried chicken and a few blocks east at Billings's Harold's Express location at 8653 S State Street.

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Guthrie’s Tavern

This Wrigleyville institution cited heightened restrictions on bars due to COVID-19 as the primary reason for its demise. Guthrie's served its last round on July 23: "We have loved serving you for the past 34 years. We got to meet and know so many amazing wonderful people. Amazing people who turned into regulars, who turned into close friends and it was an absolute pleasure to get to know you all," management wrote in a Facebook post.

Farmhouse

The rustic, farm-themed eatery just off the Chicago Brown Line is closing its doors for good. Farmhouse served the River North neighborhood for nearly 10 years, specializing in hearty brunch dishes, stacked burgers, addictive cheese curds and a lineup of innovative cocktails.

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bar biscay, interior, restaurant, bar
bar biscay, interior, restaurant, bar
Photograph: Eugene (Huge) Galdones

Bar Biscay

One of the city's most exciting restaurants closes its doors after less than three years in West Town. "The time has come to say goodbye to our groovy, Atlantic-coast inspired French-Spanish-Basque funhouse, our Oasis of Joy," partner Scott Worsham wrote in a Facebook post. "Due to factors beyond our control, in addition to COVID-19, we have been forced to end our journey with Bar Biscay."

Tantrum

South Loop club and cocktail lounge Tantrum permanently shuttered following a 12-year run, as first reported by Eater Chicago. The Black-owned establishment signed off via Instagram, with a message that read in part, "Tantrum meant a lot to many people. For the more seasoned party goers, when we first opened it was the spot you just chilled at and it became your "Black Neighborhood Cheers." For those that are in their late 20s to mid 30s we were your first party spot, some couldn’t wait to turn 21 to go to Tantrum."

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Bite Cafe

After decades of holding it down in Ukrainian Village, the Empty Bottle's longtime neighbor Bite Cafe is no more. But it's not all doom and gloom: Opening in its place is Pizza Friendly Pizza, a new venture from hospitality group 16" On Center and chef Noah Sandoval (Oriole, Kumiko, Kikko), who bring Sicilian-style pan pizza to the nabe.

blackbird
blackbird
Photograph: Doug Fogelson

Blackbird

Partners Paul Kahan and Donnie Madia told the Chicago Tribune that the decision to shutter 22-year-old Blackbird wasn't easy, but that operating a cozy restaurant at just 25 percent capacity wasn't a feasible business model moving forward. Blackbird opened back in 1997 as a pioneer of the West Loop neighborhood, long before it was the flashy dining destination it is today. In addition to holding a Michelin star for eight years, it has also hosted some of Chicago's best chefs, including Elske's David Posey, Pretty Cool Ice Cream's Dana Cree, Gaijin's Paul Virant and, most recently, Ryan Pfeiffer.

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Rickshaw Republic

It's lights out for Rickshaw Republic, a vibrant Indonesian restaurant located in the heart of Lincoln Park. The BYOB-friendly spot was beloved for its jackfruit curry, coconut-scented rice and bala bala fritters.

Eden

Citing the "larger economic impact resulting from the coronavirus pandemic," the owners of Eden will shut down the breezy West Loop restaurant after dinner service on Saturday, July 18. Executive chef Devon Quinn will keep Eden's leafy spirit alive by moving his on-site greenhouse beds to a nearby garden project.

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Crown Liquors

It's the end of an era for this iconic corner "slashie" that's situated on the border between Avondale and Logan Square. Block Club Chicago offers a look back at Crown Liquors' illustrious and longstanding history.

Bad Hunter
Bad Hunter
Photograph: Anthony Tahlier

Bad Hunter

Heisler Hospitality's veg-forward West Loop restaurant Bad Hunter quietly shuttered in late June, citing safety and financial concerns directly tied to the COVID-19 pandemic as culprits for the decision. It's not all doom and gloom: Later this summer, the hospitality group will debut Pizza Lobo in Logan Square, a concept that was born while the Bad Hunter crew was recovering from a kitchen fire in 2018.

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Fahlstrom’s Fresh Fish Market

Owner Glenn Fahlstrom penned a heartfelt farewell that chronicles the struggles many restaurants will face in the coming months: "The new restaurant model is asking owners to put employees in harms way so that their business can possibly survive. That's an 'acceptable risk' I cannot take."

Davanti Enoteca

You'll have to drive out to Western Springs to get your hands on this Italian restaurant's prosciutto-veal meatballs or focaccia with honeycomb, as the Taylor Street locations has permanently shuttered.

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Café Cancale, oysters
Café Cancale, oysters
Photograph: Marcin Cymmer

Café Cancale

This oyster-slinging, French-inspired bistro shutters just a year after it came onto the scene, replacing Publican Anker in Wicker Park. In a goodbye letter on its website, One Off Hospitality partners write that "while the decision to close is a difficult one, the realities that restaurants across the country face are truly sobering.

Jeri’s Grill

Lincoln Square stalwart Jeri's Grill is throwing in the towel after more than 50 years of 24-7 service. "Unfortunately the past can no longer survive in this post pandemic world," a letter on the diner's door reads.

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25 Degrees

After nine years in River North, the lights are going out at this beloved burger bar that was known for its loaded patties and spiked milkshakes.

CC Ferns
CC Ferns
Photograph: Kari Skaflen

California Clipper + C.C. Ferns

In May, restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff shuttered his two Humboldt Park spots, late-night cocktail den California Clipper and cool coffee shop C.C. Ferns, citing an inability to reach an agreement with the building's landlord. However, according to reporting from Block Club Chicago, landlord Gino Battaglia said Sodikoff stopped paying rent and ignored offers to reduce or defer rent.

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Links Taproom

Lauded as one of the best craft beer bars in Chicago, Links will always have a presence in Chicago, but it just won't be on Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park. Management hints that "this is not the end... it is simply a new beginning. Keep an eye on their Instagram account for pop-up booze and food offerings.

Income Tax
Income Tax
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Income Tax

This award-winning Edgewater wine bar announced its plans to permanently shutter back in May, thanking customers and staff for their support throughout the years and during quarantine, when they operated a socially distanced wine shop out of their storefront. 

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Mindy's HotChocolate

After serving Bucktown for 15 years, Mindy's HotChocolate closed to make way for Mindy's Bakery, chef Mindy Segal's brand-new concept that deals in bagels, bialys, cookies and cakes.

Toast

With an impressive 24 years under its belt, beloved brunch haunt Toast is no more. Owner Jeanne Roeser wrote a lengthy letter to faithful customers and staff, which reads: "I can't adequately express how much I will miss working with my staff and serving customers who have shared so much of their lives with me."

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luella's southern kitchen
luella's southern kitchen
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Luella’s Gospel Bird

Chef Darnell Reed decided to close his spinoff chicken shop in Bucktown in May, but you can still get your hands on his cooking in Lincoln Square, where his first restaurant, Luella's Southern Kitchen, is still slinging shrimp and grits, fried chicken and beignets.

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