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Chez Simo Bistro Owner Sets Up GoFundMe: ‘Small Restaurants Like Ours Are In Real Danger Of Closing’

With no government funding in sight, the owner of the French bistro is turning to fundraising to keep the doors open.

Simo Yacobi, owner of Chez Simo Bistro at 1968 W. Lawrence Ave., wears a mask while he prepares food.
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RAVENSWOOD — The owner of Chez Simo Bistro is appealing to neighbors for help as he tries to help the family-run French restaurant survive the coronavirus shutdown. 

Owner Simo Yacobi said he’s lost about 80 percent of his revenue since the dine-in ban went into effect. To help cover those losses, Yacobi set up a GoFundMe on April 17. So far it’s raised $640 of its $5,000 goal from seven people. 

“Small restaurants like ours are in real danger of closing,” Yacobi said. 

Yacobi applied for a federal Payment Protection Program loan, but he hasn’t yet heard if he was approved for that or other grants he’s applied to.

RELATED: Chicago Small Businesses Shut Out Of Federal Government’s Loan Program: ‘We Don’t Matter To Them’

“I don’t think all those grants and financial assistance are set up to help the little guys like us, though,” Yacobi said. “Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Potbelly both got it so quickly without problems. Meanwhile I’m letting people go so they can apply for unemployment while going through my savings.”

The French bistro opened in 2013 at 1968 W. Lawrence Ave., where Yacobi works alongside his wife, 22-year-old daughter and two employees.

“I’m out here doing everything right now like washing dishes, cooking and everything,” he said. 

The menu includes dishes such as canard, pear salad lyonnaise, beef short rib bourguignon and braised lamb shank. 

The restaurant’s food is also available for delivery via services like GurbHub, but Yacobi prefers customers call the restaurant and order directly from him for pickup. 

“I’ve never done delivery before. Often these apps are taking like 30 or 33 percent off the the top of an order while I’m still trying to buy quality ingredients, keep paying employees and paying my rent,” Yacobi said. “Besides the GoFundMe, the most important way to help is to order directly from us.”

For more information about Chez Simo Bistro or to order from its menu go to or call 773-334-7466.

“After all of this is over and I’m hopefully still open, I’m going to host a party to thank everyone who has helped us get through this,” Yacobi said. 

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