Sadly, the coronavirus pandemic continues to have negative repercussions on Chicago’s restaurant and bar scene.
Michelin-starred Blackbird is the latest restaurant to fall victim to the coronavirus lockdown. The West-Loop landmark had been around for two decades and was a staple of Chicago’s culinary scene.
Since opening back in 1997, Blackbird had become a pioneer of the catering industry by combining high-end food with a relaxed yet sleek environment acquiring a Michelin Star back in 2011. For many Chicagoans, the restaurant was a go-to spot in which to gather with friends for an excellent meal while introducing many others to haute cuisine for the first time.
Unfortunately, the restaurant’s tiny kitchen and dining room make it impossible for Blackbird to comply with the rules of social distancing. “In an incredibly small, tight dining room — operating at only 25% capacity for who knows how long — and removing the opportunity to do private dining, it becomes incredibly difficult to manage,” owner Paul Kahan told the Tribune. “We have other responsibilities and other staff members to take care of, and it’s our job to make sure we do that,” added owner Donnie Maddia.
The restaurant shared a heartfelt letter saying goodbye on its website and social media pages.
“After 22 years of serving Chicago, we have made the very difficult decision to close our doors. While our hearts are broken to see Blackbird’s journey come to an end, we are humbled to have contributed in a small way to Chicago’s incredible restaurant community for over two decades, serving as a place of warmth and hospitality while all along the way, building lifelong friendships with our team, guests and partners.”
“It’s difficult to find words to properly express our gratitude for the team members that were the beating heart of Blackbird for so many years. Blackbird would not have soared as high as it did without the dedication, creativity and passion given by each team member who walked through the doors. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.”
You can read the full note here.
This isn’t a definite goodbye for the One Off Hospitality Group, owners of Blackbird, who hope to continue serving their “loyal guests” at their other fantastic restaurants such as Avec, Café Cancale and The Publican.
[Featured image: @blackbirdchicago, Instagram]