The Signature Room in the John Hancock building is closing. Credit: The Signature Room Instagram; Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

DOWNTOWN — The Signature Room, a formal restaurant atop the 95th and 96th floors of the John Hancock Center, has closed after more than 30 years in business.

The announcement was made via a sign taped to the lobby doors, signifying the end of an era.

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the permanent closing of our beloved Signature Room at the 95th effective Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023,” said the message posted by owners Rick Roman and Nick Pyknis.

The message cites “economic issues” following the COVID-19 pandemic stating the “challenges have been greater than anticipated.”

“For over 30 years, we have had the privilege and honor of serving Chicagoans and visitors from all over the world. … From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank you for your support over the years,” the message said.

Reservations for the restaurant were unavailable as of Thursday afternoon. A call to the restaurant was redirected to a voicemail.

The closure was first reported Thursday afternoon by Crain’s. A message to staff obtained by Crain’s pointed to a slow economic recovery along Michigan Avenue and safety issues that have negatively impacted the business.

“Unfortunately, economic issues after the closure of our city and restaurant due to the COVID-19 pandemic persist,” the message to staff read, according to Crain’s. “Chicago and Michigan Avenue have been slow to recover. Safety issues and negative publicity continues to deter visitors to Chicago. All of these issues are negatively impacting the health of our restaurant and are issues that are completely out of our control. As a result, we are forced to close our doors.”

The announcement comes after the owners of the Signature Room and Signature Lounge cocktail bar moved to sell the business, according to Crain’s. The 26,168-square-foot space was put on the market by New York-based Madison Capital and Newark, N.J.-based PGIM Real Estate in March.

The John Hancock Center as seen from Lincoln Park on March 28, 2022. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

The Signature Room is one of many Chicago restaurants that have closed citing issues rebounding from the pandemic. Restaurants across the city have struggled with keeping staff as many have left the industry for better pay and less stress.

Downtown’s Michigan Avenue has also seen an exodus in retail tenants since the pandemic began. Macy’s, Abercrombie & Fitch, David’s Tea and Papyrus have all left Water Tower Place, and Uniqlo, Gap, Topshop, Banana Republic and Cartier have also closed.

The Signature Room opened in 1993 and recently celebrated its 30th birthday in July, according to its website.

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