NORTH CENTER — Chicago House Of ‘Za in North Center will close June 20, according to a social media post from the owners.
Owners Danny and Jammie Gulino moved their vegan pizzeria from its first Lakeview location to 1939 W. Byron St. last year. The restaurant opened in 2017.
In an Instagram post Wednesday, the owners said the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the cost of running a business in the city became too much to keep the doors open.
“We knew going in we were biting off more than we could chew, but we were eager to provide a memorable experience to our [guests] and spread the vegan message through our food,” the post read. “The next few weeks will be both tearful and terrifying. Please drop in and grab some pizza and let us formally say goodbye for now.”
The Gulinos said they “put everything we had into this restaurant and lost a lot in the process.” They worry the pandemic will continue to wipe out Chicago’s independent businesses “grown from passion.”
“We are not very optimistic about the future of small mom and pop and independently owned establishments in the City of Chicago as a result of this pandemic,” the couple said in a statement to Block Club.
When House of ‘Za first opened in Lakeview, it only offered carryout service “with a small menu, no public restroom and no tables,” the owners wrote. When it moved to the larger space in North Center, the business changed to a full-service, dine-in restaurant.
The business will continue to offer pickup and delivery until June 20.
“The thought of not being in a kitchen is terrifying,” they wrote on Instagram. “We’ve met so many incredible people who share our same views and beliefs during this process and just thinking about those conversations makes me weep. We are humbled that you have allowed us to help you celebrate graduations, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, date nights, first dates, break ups, make ups, and everything in between.”
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