R.I.P. Chicago - What We Lost This Year

As Chicago closes the books on another year, it’s a good time to think back on the good, the bad and—at times—the sad events that occurred during this journey around the sun. 

For every new restaurant, bar or cultural institution we gained this year, it seemed like we lost another. So goes the circle of life.

So, let’s take a quick moment to reflect, pour one out and move into the new year! 

Image Via Facebook/quencherssaloon

Chicago lost not one but two staples for local bands on their way up this year. Quenchers Saloon in Logan Square closed up shop in June and is set to be converted into a doctor’s office leaving a bitter taste in our mouths—not unlike that of all the Malort we drank there over the years. Just a few storefronts north, The Mutiny also fell victim to a 2018 shutter in the fall ending a nearly 30-year run in the city.

It was also a tough year for mainstay panaderias on the Northwest side. Panaderia Azucar in Avondale and Panaderia La Central under the California Blue Line CTA station both closed permanently in 2018, taking their delicious baked goods with them. Our hearts will go on, but the jury is still out on our stomachs. 

Image via Facebook/sabatinoschicago

Old Irving Park classic Italian eatery Sabatino’s closed this year, just shy of its 50th anniversary. It’s not all bad though! The family-owned business went out on good terms and with lots of good memories to hold onto.

A fire gutted Blue Island favorite Maple Tree Inn back in August. Luckily owners of the popular Cajun restaurant and bar were quickly able to find a temporary new home along the same stretch of Western Avenue. Maple Tree Inn Bistro is much smaller than its former home but the owners hope to find a new permanent solution. 

There is also no longer a one-stop shop in Chicago for U-Haul truck delivery, floral arrangements and a ping pong tournaments. That is what we lost when West Town’s Mr. Ping Pong closed up shop. We’re still not over the loss of one of Chicago’s most unique retail shops. 

In June, we mourned the loss of inspiring chef, author and world traveler Anthony Bourdain. In September we lost one of his favorite sandwiches when The Silver Palm served its last meal. Bourdain called the heart-stopping, pork-filled 3 Little Pigs sandwich the “greatest sandwich in America.”

Image Via Facebook/vintagegaragechicago

Vintage Garage will take a hiatus in 2019 while the seasonal vintage market’s namesake garage undergoes construction. Look for pop-up events throughout the year!

The Alley closed for a second time in 2018. The second, smaller storefront on Clark Street opened in 2017 after the original location of the punk rock supply shop across the street closed in 2015. Owner Mark Thomas has had ongoing health issues, so we’re wishing him the best! 

The rise of the gourmet grocery store is real and it took out one of the independent originators in 2018. Family-owned local chain Treasure Island Foods closed its six Chicago area locations after 55 years in business.

Image Via facebook/bohochicago

River North restaurant Bohemian House’s shutter at the end of September left us a bit surprised. The award-winning Bohemian, Czech, German and Polish dishes served here were popular with diners and the four-year-old restaurant showed no signs of slowing down prior to its closing.

Not even an appearance on Bar Rescue could save 27-year-old River North karaoke bar Blue Frog’s Local 22. It shuttered for good in May.

Say goodbye to bottomless mimosas and hazy Sunday afternoons. Lincoln Park brunch spot Zella closed for good on November 1st. 

Technically, Grace’s final service was in mid-December of 2017. Given the gaping hole it left in Chicago’s dining scene in 2018 though, we felt it was worth a mention. After becoming one of just a handful of restaurants in the United States to be awarded three Michelin stars, it closed abruptly following the departure of chef Curtis Duffy and general manager Michael Muser. Since then, buzzworthy contemporary Japanese concept Yūgen has taken over the space, opening in late 2018.

Heisler Hospitality (Sportsmans’ Club, Pub Royale) pulled the plug on its Fulton Market adjacent bar and restaurant project Prairie School and Regards To Edith after just eight months in Google’s 1K Fulton building. Given the bar group’s overall success rate, we’re not worried about all future endeavors. 

image via facebook/theheartlandcafe

New Year’s Eve marks the final day of business for Rogers Park restaurant, performance space and community gathering place Heartland Cafe. The building is currently in the process of being sold. The future of Heartland—specifically whether it will reopen in a new location—is uncertain but we’ve got our fingers crossed for a continuation of its 42-year legacy.

Dazzling drag shows will be harder to come by in the River North neighborhood with the departure of The Baton Show Lounge after 50 years. Rising rent prices have pushed the LGBTQ+-friendly bar north to the Uptown neighborhood and former home of Uptown Underground. The move will happen in 2019.

Which brings us to the loss of Uptown Underground at 4707 N. Broadway. The bar hosted burlesque shows and other performance arts up until its sudden closure in September. We’re glad the stage will be back in action under the guidance of its new tenant!

Image Via Steven Vance

Oh, Wrigleyville Taco Bell. Our eyes water and our hearts ache when we think of what we lost in you. So many (late) nights spent cherishing chalupas while stashing our Four Loko’s under the table, concealed by inconspicuous brown paper bags. You were there for us when we most needed you. You saved us from countless hangovers. You repeatedly helped us heal once the hangover had already set it. You reminded us that no one is perfect, both in your service and your quality. You taught us about patience—because no stretch of time is longer than waiting for your double-decker taco after drinking through nine innings of baseball. We’ll always cherish your memory and the lessons we learned from you, even if we can’t remember all of the nights we spent together.

In the sports world, one of the most notable losses Chicago suffered was that of the Cubs’ 2016 World Series starting pitcher Jake Arrieta. The former all-star started the year with the first free agency of his career and signed to the Philadelphia Phillies in March.

The Blackhawks also lost a familiar face this year when 2010 and 2013 championship head coach Joel Quenneville was fired after a sluggish start to the 2018-2019 season.

Not every departure was a sad one in the sports world though! The Bears finished their regular season above .500 for the first time since 2013—securing an NFC North division title. Bye bye, losing records! 

We bid farewell to a few other odds and ends in 2018. The John Hancock Center’s naming rights ran out and so, for now, the building containing The Signature Room and 360Chicago is officially known solely by its address 875 N. Michigan Avenue.

Depending on where you stand, you either celebrated the loss of or were disappointed by the possibility of a third term for Rahm Emanuel being squashed. The current mayor announced he will not seek reelection in 2019 earlier this year. 

Finally, Do312 said goodbye to our logo in 2018! It served us well. We had a tasteful Viking-style funeral for it. It was very beautiful. Then, once we had paid our respects, we said hello to this beauty:

We hope you love it as much as we do and we hope your 2019 is as good as, if not better than, the previous year! Cheers, Chicago!