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Which restaurant(s) will close next? Why?


guajolote
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Your point is a good one. But I don't think eGullet (nor Dish, nor Chicago magazine) has the power to doom any restaurant any more than we have the ability to make it a success.  I have praised numerous restaurants in print and online over the years only to see them go out of business for whatever reasons. On the flipside, I have ripped plenty of popular restaurants that damn well deserved it, only to see them thriving like they always did.

BTW: I like all of the restaurants mentioned on this thread, and would be saddened to see any of them close. That doesn't mean it's not interesting to speculate on this stuff. Besides, what kind of sheep would avoid a restaurant just because someone posted a message predicting (or perhaps hoping for) its demise? I sure wouldn't.

Well said.

I also wish we could track how many restaurants, which would have otherwise disappeared, have been helped by conversations here on eG. While I admit there's no way to realistically track that information, I'm comfortable that the number would be greater than the number of restaurants this particular discussion will cause to close.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I'm curious about the fact that all 3 restaurants selected so far are "fusion" type places. In particular, Monsoon and Vermillion try to produce high end, "interesting" Indian cuisine. Is this a sign that this concept needs to be reconsidered? Perhaps people aren't ready to give up local, cheap Indian places for these higher end places...

Since no one addressed this I'll give it a shot:

I don't think "fusion" as a rule needs to be reconsidered. There are some great "fusion" places all around the city ("Spring" comes to mind!!). Like any 'newer' trend, the wheat will separate from the chaff, the cream will rise to the top, etc. Particularly because these places tend be pricier than your 'local, cheap' places, the standards they are held to are higher. I think, particularly in the case of Monsoon because that's where I've been, that they don't meet those higher standards. For the money, I can get better food and service, even better INDIAN food and service. Also, as to Monsoon, it's in a tricky area that has a rather fickle crowd - most of the people in that area have SOME disposable income and COULD support a restaurant like Monsoon, but they aren't going to throw their money away just to be seen at a trendy restaurant (if they want that seen they'll go down to the Gold Coast) if the food and service aren't up to snuff.

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Has Fuse announced that it's closing?  I've been there twice and thought the food was great.  Both times were pre-theater on a Friday, and there were plenty of empty tables.

Yes, there's a story about it in this week's installment of Dish

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Since no one addressed this I'll give it a shot:

I don't think "fusion" as a rule needs to be reconsidered.

I think, particularly in the case of Monsoon because that's where I've been, that they don't meet those higher standards. For the money, I can get better food and service, even better INDIAN food and service.

I guess I didn't clarify my post enough. My point was not that "fusion" needs to be reconsidered, just the concept of higher end Indian food and, particularly, different "modern" or "fusion" Indian restaurants. From experience in London, there are a number of high end Indian restaurants, some that are very popular, but Indian food has been more closely integrated into the British diet (at least I would make this argument). Indian food is still rather "new" to a lot of Americans and I think most would prefer their cheaper, neighborhood Indian place over more modern or adventurous options such as Monsoon and Vermillion.

As for my pick of Vermillion, I didn't offer any defense of it in my original post, but I have inquired into it on here and received some very negative comments about it. I have since eaten there on 2 occassions (going against what I heard on here) and both times have been disappointed AND sitting in a relatively empty restaurant.

I feel the problem is less ours and more that of Chicago Magazine, or any other that wants to use the discussions on here. Those that read eG are a very small percentage of the population and, typically, those discerning enough to not base their judgment on something posted here. I'm not sure if the situation is same for Chicago Mag's the Dish. In any case, what is the difference between one of us and a newspaper restaurant reviewer? Today in a local paper I read one of the worst restaurant reviews I think I've ever seen that was far more damning for the restaurant than anything said on here.

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I haven't been to Monsoon or Vermilion so I can't comment directly, but Chicago is a great town for wonderful, cheap Indian food. Because of that, I can easily see how the 'high end' Indian/fusion places could ultimately suffer. Is there enough demand or enough of a niche market to keep these places going? I don't know the answer to that but I do believe that the existence of our many well-known and inexpensive Indian restaurants will make it tougher for said places to make it.

And again, I've not been to either place. Please, do not avoid trying these places based solely on my hunchery. :wink:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Ronnie, the same could be said about Vietnamese cuisine-lots of cheap places but Pasteur (high end) seems to thrive. Also Aruns for Thai and Fronterra for Mexican. Some people do not want to go to dives to sample ethnic cuisine (no comment) and feel more comfortable in westernized venues. Some of our friends fall in that category and are willing to try new foods but are not inclined to go native. All three of these places have really great food but admittedly not typical of local cuisine. We are spoiled by the Indian places in Chicago-many cities have only a few Indian restaurantss and they can be pricey for the typical plates. I guess I am not sure what high end Indian food would be-how does one plate sag paneer for example to make it look special? We have been to India five times and have eaten at higher end restaurants and basically did not see too much of a difference in food preparation-only service and cleanliness.

What disease did cured ham actually have?

Megan sandwich: White bread, Miracle Whip and Italian submarine dressing. {Megan is 4 y.o.}

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Ronnie, the same could be said about Vietnamese cuisine-lots of cheap places but Pasteur (high end) seems to thrive.  Also Aruns for Thai and Fronterra for Mexican.  Some people do not want to go to dives to sample ethnic cuisine (no comment) and feel more comfortable in westernized venues.  Some of our friends fall in that category and are willing to try new foods but are not inclined to go native.  All three of these places have really great food but admittedly not typical of local cuisine. 

This is an interesting point and one that I didn't really think about, one could even expand on this and offer up Opera and Shanghai Terrace for Chinese food. Perhaps the difference is in the fact that these places, at least in the case of Aruns and Frontera, offer food that is very different from what you would get in the "dive" places, though I don't think this fully explains it...

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Ronnie, the same could be said about Vietnamese cuisine-lots of cheap places but Pasteur (high end) seems to thrive.  Also Aruns for Thai and Fronterra for Mexican.  Some people do not want to go to dives to sample ethnic cuisine (no comment) and feel more comfortable in westernized venues.  Some of our friends fall in that category and are willing to try new foods but are not inclined to go native.  All three of these places have really great food but admittedly not typical of local cuisine.  We are spoiled by the Indian places in Chicago-many cities have only a few Indian restaurantss and they can be pricey for the typical plates.  I guess I am not sure what high end Indian food would be-how does one plate sag paneer for example to make it look special?  We have been to India five times and have eaten at higher end restaurants and basically  did not see too much of a difference in food  preparation-only service and cleanliness.

As chengb02 said above, this is a great point and I'm really at a loss to explain it. Is it possible that the audiences for these cuisines vary enough to create differences in their marketability? Anyone care to hazard a theory?

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I, being a loyal Dish reader, was saddened to read the restaurant closings section and finding out that Glory is no more. It was always a place I was interested in visiting, but never had a chance...oh well, having never visited I guess I can't be too sad... :cool:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Le Lan.

Why? It's supposedly a "hot" new place, yet it's offering 1,000-point reservations on OpenTable.com (sometimes a sign that they can't fill their seats). I also just received an e-mail from KDK Frequent Diners, the subject of which was, "Please Enjoy A Complimentary Flute of Champagne from Le Lan." While ostensibly a nice gesture, it sounded a bit desperate to me. They seem to need to get people in the door, especially Mondays through Thursdays, when this offer is valid.

Hmmm...

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Le Lan.

Why?  It's supposedly a "hot" new place, yet it's offering 1,000-point reservations on OpenTable.com (sometimes a sign that they can't fill their seats).  I also just received an e-mail from KDK Frequent Diners, the subject of which was, "Please Enjoy A Complimentary Flute of Champagne from Le Lan."  While ostensibly a nice gesture, it sounded a bit desperate to me.  They seem to need to get people in the door, especially Mondays through Thursdays, when this offer is valid.

Hmmm...

Have to agree with that. It's too bad, because in theory the pairing of Roland Liccioni and Arun Sampanthavivat should be rather exciting, but in reality it seems to be pretty mediocre from all the reports I've heard.

I guess things like this work better in theory then practice a lot of the time (see 99% of all so-called "super"groups for further evidence).

Edited by VeryApe77 (log)
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  • 3 months later...

We had another very good meal at Bin36 in Lincolnshire on Saturday night, but there seem to be dark clouds on the horizon. First of all, the front of the restaurant has been sectioned off to accommodate a mini version of Kamahachi - the two restaurants are now sharing the space (rent issues?). The first thing that hits your nose as you walk through the door is the deep-fryer (tempura?) Japanese restaurant smell - not good if you're going to be sampling different wines. This would be a much bigger concern if there were actually a bigger/better selection of wines to sample. I don't need a 4,000-bottle list by any means, but it would be nice to have a bigger range of selections in a restaurant whose main reason for existence is its wine program. Apparently, the customer base in the north/northwest suburbs just doesn't support a spectacular wine list, which is a shame because the idea of Bin36 (a casual-chic place to have good food and great wines) is so attractive. I'm sad to say that only about two-thirds of the tables were filled at the busiest point in the evening. To make matters more bizarre, and I may be mistaken on this point, I believe either menu could be ordered from in either the Kamahachi or Bin36 spaces! I wanted so badly for Bin 36 to succeed, but its long-term survival chances don't look good. :sad:

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We had another very good meal at Bin36 in Lincolnshire on Saturday night, but there seem to be dark clouds on the horizon.  First of all, the front of the restaurant has been sectioned off to accommodate a mini version of Kamahachi - the two restaurants are now sharing the space (rent issues?).  The first thing that hits your nose as you walk through the door is the deep-fryer (tempura?) Japanese restaurant smell - not good if you're going to be sampling different wines.  This would be a much bigger concern if there were actually a bigger/better selection of wines to sample.  I don't need a 4,000-bottle list by any means, but it would be nice to have a bigger range of selections in a restaurant whose main reason for existence is its wine program.  Apparently, the customer base in the north/northwest suburbs just doesn't support a spectacular wine list, which is a shame because the idea of Bin36 (a casual-chic place to have good food and great wines) is so attractive.  I'm sad to say that only about two-thirds of the tables were filled at the busiest point in the evening.  To make matters more bizarre, and I may be mistaken on this point, I believe either menu could be ordered from in either the Kamahachi or Bin36 spaces!  I wanted so badly for Bin 36 to succeed, but its long-term survival chances don't look good.  :sad:

I noticed the same things at BIN 36, Lincolnshire when we were there a couple of months back. It does seem like a strange marriage and while the move to combine the 2 entities under one roof may have been made for a variety of solid reasons yes, it does smack of desperation -- or at least it did to us.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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i think the "restaurant death-list" is an interesting thread. from an educational stand-point, this is roughly the kind of thing that i might want to study. a new restuarant believes that it can make alot of money because of it's offering...and then you call to make that reservation only to find out that the phone line has been disconnected...you wonder "why?"

this thread gives potential reasons on "why?"...or..."how soon?"

i will read this thread every day until it stops. thank you, egullet'ers!

trevor williams

-culinary student/professional at Kendall College-

Edited by KendallCollege (log)

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In regards to the impact a forum discussion on this topic might have on any given restaurant, I would think that sites like Metromix and Citysearch are more "dangerous." I have read reviews posted by diners on both sites that are far more brutal than anything I've seen here or published by professional critics in Chicago. I know people who use those sites regularly to help make decisions about where to dine. If a restaurant has a lot of negative reviews, they won't go there.

My vote may be premature, but I'm going with China Grill. I can't believe those prices will fly here for the long haul. Or maybe they'll go the route of Vong and become the Hard Rock Hotel's China Kitchen. :smile:

Lynn

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In regards to the impact a forum discussion on this topic might have on any given restaurant, I would think that sites like Metromix and Citysearch are more "dangerous."  I have read reviews posted by diners on both sites that are far more brutal than anything I've seen here or published by professional critics in Chicago.  I know people who use those sites regularly to help make decisions about where to dine. If a restaurant has a lot of negative reviews, they won't go there. 

My vote may be premature, but I'm going with China Grill.  I can't believe those prices will fly here for the long haul. Or maybe they'll go the route of Vong and become the Hard Rock Hotel's China Kitchen.  :smile:

Welcome, lynnbeth :smile:

Another comparative plus is that in discussion forums, owners, chefs, etc. have open opportunity for rebuttal. Not so with print reviews.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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http://www.chinagrillmgt.com/

the china grill is a "fine dining chain restaurant". they serve extremely large portions of mediocre "chinese" food at a premium dollar. the bar and dining room are absolutely STUNNING, but don't match the food. i live a 1/2 block north of china grill so i decided to give it a try on this past thursday. 3 appetizers, 2 entrees, 1 btl of moet "silver star", and 1 dessert cost $230 after the tip. the service wasn't AMAZING, but our server and the maitre d' did there best. the dining room was deafeningly loud with dance music bumping away at a constant 140bpm. the dining room and the bar were PACKED.

i don't regret spending the dollars there, but i'll never go back.

trevor williams.

-culinary student/professional at Kendall College-

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Thanks for the welcomes!

I think the point about rebuttals is very good. I currently manage a downtown restaurant. However, at my previous job, in a Chicago suburb, we had a problem with a disgruntled former employee using the Metromix site to post false negative reviews of the restaurant. I'm sure we were not the first or last establishment to experience the problem. We were eventually able to have the posts removed, but there's no telling how many people were exposed to the fiction.

My experience at China Grill was similar to Trevors. At the bar - 2 appetizers, 2 cocktails = $72.

Lynn

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  • 7 months later...
I'd have to pick Filippo's in Deerfield, IL.  If my one experience there was truly representative, it can't possibly last long.

Well, it lasted about a year.

I noticed, about a month ago, that they had become Filippo's Ristorante and Pizza, or something like that; a change which didn't seem to be a good indication. Today I drove by and noticed a "Restaurant for Lease" sign over the door. The Filippo's sign was gone. Not a big surprise here.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I'm curious about the fact that all 3 restaurants selected so far are "fusion" type places. In particular, Monsoon and Vermillion try to produce high end, "interesting" Indian cuisine. Is this a sign that this concept needs to be reconsidered? Perhaps people aren't ready to give up local, cheap Indian places for these higher end places...

Since no one addressed this I'll give it a shot:

I don't think "fusion" as a rule needs to be reconsidered. There are some great "fusion" places all around the city ("Spring" comes to mind!!). Like any 'newer' trend, the wheat will separate from the chaff, the cream will rise to the top, etc. Particularly because these places tend be pricier than your 'local, cheap' places, the standards they are held to are higher. I think, particularly in the case of Monsoon because that's where I've been, that they don't meet those higher standards. For the money, I can get better food and service, even better INDIAN food and service. Also, as to Monsoon, it's in a tricky area that has a rather fickle crowd - most of the people in that area have SOME disposable income and COULD support a restaurant like Monsoon, but they aren't going to throw their money away just to be seen at a trendy restaurant (if they want that seen they'll go down to the Gold Coast) if the food and service aren't up to snuff.

Indeed, fusion lives but Monsoon has closed.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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