Sunday, February 28, 2010

Closings in Grant Park

Posted By on Sun, Feb 28, 2010 at 5:33 PM

John Kessler's blog, "Food and More," includes a recent post about the closing of Painted Table in Grant Park, my neighborhood. The few-months-old spot is not alone. Solstice Cafe has also closed, the Standard has been sold, Just Loaf'n has closed, Stella has become another Doc Chey's.

Owner-chef Omega Angell offered no explanation for the closing in his announcement on Facebook. This led to much speculation in the comments section of John's blog. One frequent observation was the restaurant's irregular hours. Indeed, I attempted to eat there about three times after my "first look" review in December and found it closed each time. I finally gave up.

The comments also include lots of speculation that Grant Park's crime rate is responsible for restaurant closings. There are also some surprisingly classist comments about  homeless people haunting patios like Solstice's or -- gasp! -- actually entering restaurants and asking for a cup of coffee.

Although I can relate to the annoyance of being asked for money while I'm dining on a restaurant patio, I'm also aware that I live in a still-transitional neighborhood during the euphemistically termed Great Recession.  And, believe me, the neighborhood is not nearly as "transitional" as it used to be.  Some of us worry that its diversity will be lost.

Plenty of other restaurants -- Grant Central, Agave, Carroll Street Cafe, Tin Lizzy's, Six Feet Under, the Shed at Glenwood -- seem to be making it despite the alleged crime wave and army of beggars. It's pretty obvious that crime has very little if anything to do with the closing of Painted Table and Solstice.

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