A DePaul Favorite Exits After 50 Years and Four More Restaurant Closures

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Chicago has reached the point in its annual cycle when locals suddenly recall that a four-season framework simply does not apply to this city — a place where one can identify as many as a dozen seasons in each calendar year. Temperatures are up and down; a sunny, temperate day might be immediately followed by dreary rain. It’s hard for restaurants to lure customers out of their homes when the weather is so unpredictable, exacerbating the already razor-thin margins of many local restaurants.

Below, Eater is cataloging both temporary and permanent restaurant closures in Chicago. If you know of a restaurant, bar, or another closed food establishment, please email chicago@eater.com. We will continue to update this post.

For winter closures, go here.

April 2

Kenwood: Fast-casual Chinese restaurant De Rice Asian Cuisine permanently closed in January at 918 E. 47th Street after nearly three decades in business, according to the Hyde Park Herald. Owner Francis Lee, a Hong Kong native who immigrated to Chicago in 1989, originally opened the restaurant on the city’s North Side before relocating in 2003 to work closer to his two sons, then students at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. Chicago restaurateur Racquel Fields (14 Parish Restaurant & Rhum Bar, Dawn) is slated to take over the space, but her plans are not yet public.

Lakeview: CRMD, an Ohio-based chain of ice cream shops that wraps its sweet treats in bubbly egg waffles, has closed its sole Chicago outpost after more than a year and a half at 2951 N. Broadway. In late March, an eye-eyed Lakeview resident spotted workers moving equipment out of the space in the wee hours of the morning. The brand has two remaining locations, both in Ohio. CRMD had taken over for Bobtail Ice Cream back in 2018.

Lincoln Park: Neighborhood sandwich shop Branko’s, a staple among DePaul University students and faculty, is closed after nearly half a century at 1118 W. Fullerton Avenue, according to Block Club Chicago. Founded in 1976 by late Yugoslavian immigrant spouses Branko Jordanovski and Jelica Jordanovska, Branko’s opted to focus on serving sandwiches that appealed to college students like Italian beef but wove in a strain of Balkan culinary culture with pickled banana peppers, tomatoes, and herbs from the family’s backyard garden. Other favorites included Balkan bean stew, gyros, and pizza puffs. Gordana Jordanovska, one of the founders’ daughters, took over the shop after her parents deaths in the early 2020s. Jordanovska tells reporters that she still hopes to keep the Branko’s name alive and is looking for a business partner to help find a path forward.

Arlington Heights: Suburban Thai restaurant Bangkok Cafe is permanently closed at 17 N. Vail Avenue after 30 years of business, according to the Daily Herald. Owner Kim Cho, who opened the restaurant in 1994 with her six sisters, tells reporters that the closure resulted from both a downturn in dine-in business following the early years of the pandemic and a series of health issues in her family, including the death of one of her sisters, who was Bangkok Cafe’s head chef. Village officials are reportedly reviewing a proposal for a microbrewery that aims to move into the space.

Evanston: Jennifer’s Edibles, an all-day suburban restaurant featuring American and Jamaican dishes, is permanently closed after seven years at 1623 Simpson Street in Evanston, owner Jennifer Eason announced on Facebook. Eason tells Evanston Round Table that the logistical and financial stresses of running the restaurant weighed on her for some time, so she decided not to renew her lease on the space. She’s since moved on to work in the kitchen at nearby barbecue hit Soul & Smoke, which aims to launch dine-in service this summer at its flagship location in Evanston.

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