Good restaurants dying off in Chicago

This past year, some of Chicago's favorite eating spots closed or will close soon. Independent coffee shop/diners and "Greek" Diners are becoming a thing of the past in Chicago. On Monday, another decades old restaurant, La Bocca Della Verita, will close its doors.

A three quarter mile stretch of North Lincoln Avenue took the biggest hit, with La Bocca, the Golden Angel, and the Lincoln restaurant all closing their doors. The notorious parking meter deal with its ruthless ticket writers had a disastrous affect on North Lincoln Avenue businesses. Many small businesses left when their leases expired over the parking situation.

The Golden Angel, located at 4340 N. Lincoln Avenue, closed in November. It was a classic diner. Cops, trades people, and neighborhood denizens packed the place 24 hrs. a day. The food was good and prices were very reasonable. The triangle corner location will become a Lou Malnati's in the coming year.

The Lincoln Restaurant, located at 4008 N. Lincoln also closed in December. The Lincoln and Civil War memorabilia themed establishment closed its doors after 43 years. Another "Greek" diner, the restaurant provided locals and others good food at decent prices, along with a bar. The side room was made available for meetings, entertainment, and other events. All that was required was for patrons to spend at least five dollars on food or drink. the Lincoln also had its own parking lot.

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Liz D'Ortenzi, owner of La Bocca Della Verita (Peter V. Bella)

La Bocca Della Verita is closing its doors on January 6th. Located at 4618 N. Lincoln, next to the Davis Theater, the Italian restaurant was patronized by people seeking real Italian (Roman style) food.

La Bocca weathered the death of Cesare, who founded the restaurant with his wife, Liz, the economic downturn of 2008- to this day, and other problems affecting North Lincoln Avenue businesses.

While restaurants and other businesses shuttered their doors, owner Liz D'Ortenzi, who opened the place with her late husband, kept La Bocca going. She has been operating with no lease for the past few years. The volatile situation with the building owner and other economic factors were factored in her decision to close. She surrendered her liquor license due to the cost and lack of a lease this past fall.

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The Ohio Coffee Shop provided a clean, well lighted place for three generations of patrons. (Peter V. Bella)

Last, the Ohio Coffee Shop, at 600 N. LaSalle, closed earlier this year. After 53 years, the clean, well lighted place, home to three generations of customers, closed in April.

The landlord refused to renew the restaurant's lease. The owners of the property want to replace it with a corporate tenant.

Owner, Cathy Roquemore, aged 74, loved her little shop and its patrons. They loved her back. There was extreme disappointment when the closing was announced.

Chicago still has some great institutional eating and drinking establishments left, though they are going by the wayside as owners die, property owners sell, the wrecking ball comes in, or lessors want more so-called upscale tenants. If the trend continues, Chicago will be nothing more than a city of bland suburban mall style culture. A city of no culture.

That will be to our detriment and bring on the death knell of a grand city. (Death of a Chicago Diner)

 

 

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