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Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards

Wishbone Moving From Washington Blvd. Location After 27 Years, Will Close Oct. 14

The longtime eatery is moving east, near the Clinton "L" stop in the West Loop.

After 27 years, Wishbone will move to another location in the West Loop this month.
Wishbone/ Facebook
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WEST LOOP — After 27 years at the corner of Morgan Street and Washington Boulevard, Wishbone is closing and moving to a new home near the Clinton “L” stop in the West Loop.

Wishbone will serve up its final meals at the 1001 W. Washington Blvd. location on Sunday, Oct. 14 before moving to the old Bin 36 spot at 161 N. Jefferson St. later this month, owners announced on Facebook late last week.

“Thank you all for making this a special place for the last 27 years. We will miss our little corner here in the West Loop,” the post read. 

In July 1990, chef and owner Joel Nickson opened the first 40-seat Wishbone location on Grand Avenue in West Town. Two years later, he opened the 170 seat location in the West Loop.

In its early days, the Southern-style restaurant became a regular destination for Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios’ staffers, and has become a staple for West Loop residents.

Earlier this summer, the family-friendly West Loop eatery announced it would move because of a rent hike at the Washington Boulevard location, Nickson said. 

“We were paying a lot,” Nickson told Block Club Chicago. “It just wasn’t sustainable.”

Nickson said it will be hard to part ways with the corner spot that they’ve called “home” for 27 years, but the Wishbone staff is up to the challenge of opening a new location.

“Change is tough, but at the same time it might get the blood circulating,” Nickson said. “We are all pumped up and excited to be a little bit different but still be Wishbone.”

The new 5,400-square-foot space will seat 140 people and also includes a patio. Regulars will find the same artwork at the new location.

“We are hillbillying it up — in a good way,” Nickson said.

The new location is expected to have a soft opening around Oct. 20.

Since announcing the move, Nickson said his team has received an outpouring of support from nearby residents. 

“It makes me tear up a little bit because we have been here for years, and our some of our staff have been with us for years and years,” he said. “It’s been nice that people have been so supportive of us.”

Despite the hip restaurants and restaurant groups that dominate Randolph’s Restaurant Row, Nickson said he believes there’s still a place for a family-owned joint like Wishbone in the changing West Loop. He’s not ready to hang up his “pots and pans” just yet. 

“We’re hoping [the new location] will work,” he said 

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