PORTAGE PARK — The owner of Frunchroom says the decision to close the restaurant was purely financial.
Last week, fans of the restaurant at 4042 N. Milwaukee Ave. were saddened to hear it had closed for good.
Matt Saccaro, the chef and owner of the restaurant, says despite community support and great reviews, it was tricky to run the business out of such a small space.
“There just wasn’t enough revenue to keep the operation going. Even with a small staff and careful budgeting, restaurants are just very expensive to operate,” Saccaro said.
Named after the pronunciation of “front room” by someone with a heavy “Chuh-Kaw-Go” accent, Frunchroom first opened in April 2018. Last summer, they made the switch from breakfast and lunch to dinner.
Saccaro says he considered adding a craft beer and wine list to complement their expanded menu, but the city’s licensing process didn’t allow for it.
“I didn’t even want a bar with spirits [because I had no room]. That turned out to be impossible. Chicago only has one type of liquor license for food service establishments,” he said. “It costs over $4,000 plus what you have to pay the state regardless of size.”
Between the cost of the liquor license and requirement for two bathrooms, Frunchroom only had one, the liquor license wasn’t going to be granted, he said.
“You really need multiple revenue streams for a space like this and that was something that was never really consistent,” Saccaro said.
On Thursday Saccaro made a post to the restaurant’s Facebook page announcing the closing. He’d closed the restaurant to go on vacation at the end of June. Once he returned, he decided it wasn’t realistic to keep it open.
Looking forward, Saccaro doesn’t have any plans to relaunch the restaurant and instead wants to spend time with his kids once the business’s closing is done being wrapped up.
“Owning and operating a business is a massive commitment and I haven’t been around for the kids as much as I would’ve liked,” he said.
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