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Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

Café Cancale Closes Permanently Due To Coronavirus

"While the decision to close is a difficult one, the realities that restaurants across the country face are truly sobering."

Cafe Cancale in Wicker Park.
Hannah Alani / Block Club Chicago
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WICKER PARK — One Off Hospitality will not reopen one of its Wicker Park mainstays.

Café Cancale, 1576 N. Milwaukee Ave., is shuttering so owners can focus on their other businesses, according to a Tuesday Instagram post.

In addition to Café Cancale, One Off operates several other restaurants and bars across Chicago. 

In Wicker Park, locals will recognize The Violet Hour, a cocktail lounge, and restaurants Dove’s Luncheonette and Big Star.

Inspired by chef Paul Kahan’s trip to coastal France, Café Cancale opened last year. The French seaside-themed restaurant replaced Publican Anker, which opened in 2016 and closed last year.

“While the decision to close is a difficult one, the realities that restaurants across the country face are truly sobering,” the post said. “It is with this in mind, that we say goodbye to Café Cancale and focus our attention to steering our collective of restaurants through to the other side of this storm. … From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for the continued support and warmth we feel from the Chicago community.”

Also this week, One Off leaders announced they were shuttering Blackbird, the Michelin Star restaurant in West Loop, saying it could not continue to operate under the current coronavirus restrictions.

In April, employees of One Off spoke out against the restaurant group‘s handling of the COVID-19 shutdown, claiming the group mishandled more than $90,000 in GoFundMe donations.

RELATED: One Off Hospitality Workers Say Restaurant Group Mishandled Donations, But Owners Say They’re ‘Taking Every Measure Available’

The owners said they did the best they could under difficult circumstances and they even kicked in $180,000 extra to extend employees’ health insurance benefits.

In April, industry experts predicted Chicago could lose up to 1,500 of its 7,500 independent restaurants due to coronavirus.

Now, the city’s rules for Phase 4 of reopening allow bars and restaurants to serve at 25 percent capacity indoors, among other restrictions.

Some industry leaders say that isn’t enough to save Chicago’s struggling dining scene. Other restaurateurs either can’t operate their businesses with the city’s new requirements — or don’t want to.

RELATED: Can Indoor Dining Save Chicago’s Struggling Restaurants? Some Aren’t Risking It, Others Have No Choice

Read all of Block Club’s coverage of businesses closing because of coronavirus.

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