RAVENSWOOD — Band of Bohemia is closing its doors after filing for bankruptcy and a tumultuous few months for the Ravenswood gastropub.
The gastropub and restaurant, which opened in 2015 at 4710 N. Ravenswood Ave. and has been lauded as the first Michelin-starred pub in the country, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy Oct. 16, court records show.
Band of Bohemia is more than $1.3 million in debt and has property assets of about $223,000, according to court records.
The pub owes money to more than 10 companies and contractors for items such as ice, tea, wine, kegs, linen, artwork, membership dues and plant rentals. The owners also owe almost $1,000 to Swedish Covenant Hospital for a hospital bill, records show.
Documents also show that the pub owes $100,000 in rent and taxes to Megara Properties, which is being disputed.
Co-founders Michael Carroll and Craig Sindelar could not be reached for comment, but they told the Chicago Tribune in an email that the pandemic has forced them to close and file for bankruptcy. The Tribune first reported the brewpub’s closing.
Scott R. Clar, an attorney with Crane, Simon, Clar & Goodman representing the restaurant owners, declined to speak about the case but said it shouldn’t be surprising that a brewpub and restaurant like Band of Bohemia is closing during a pandemic.
Carroll and Sindelar opened Band of Bohemia after a long career in the restaurant industry. Sindelar was part of the opening team behind Alinea, Chicago’s only three-star Michelin restaurant, according to the pub’s website. Carroll was also part of Alinea’s service team as a food runner and back waiter before becoming the restaurant’s only baker in Alinea’s 10-year history. Sindelar’s personal accolades include the 2006 Jean Banchet Best Sommelier and the 2007 Mobil Travel Guide “Best of the Best” Service Award.
But the last year has been difficult for the pub, aside from the pandemic that has hit the restaurant industry hard. A slew of anonymous allegations published on Instagram alleged former chef Ian Davis engaged in sexual misconduct and alleged owners failed to prevent a toxic work environment and mishandled operations and relief funds. As the allegations surfaced, the restaurant temporarily closed at the end of June to “reflect on our faults, our deaf ears and the feelings of those who we have caused harm,” according to a since-deleted Instagram post.
Following misconduct claims, in February 2019, Davis resigned as chef at Michelin-starred restaurant Entente.
In a now-deleted Instagram post from July 10 that was also shared on Facebook, Band of Bohemia owners said in a statement that the allegations against ownership were false, misleading and out of context.
Carroll and Sindelar wrote that the team has always followed strict guidelines regarding fairness in the workplace, adhered to equal opportunities when hiring and listened to all sides of a story or allegation before making any irreversible decisions.
“At no time in our existence as a brewpub have we neglected the welfare of our staff, who have remained the backbone of our establishment since opening our doors,” the statement reads. “We cannot begin to assume the reasoning behind these few employees’ allegations against our business, but hope we can reach a point of mutual understanding in the future.”
The owners went on to say that contrary to allegations of not paying employees on time and improperly distributing GoFundMe relief funds, all employees were paid in full and all funds were properly distributed. But laid-off anonymous employees alleged the owners were not transparent in how they distributed the money.
“We apologize to our staff and guests who may have read these allegations and have found themselves confused or angry, as we share the same feelings,” the owners continued. “To anyone who we have unintentionally caused pain or grief, we are deeply and immeasurably sorry.”
Accusations of misconduct against the restaurant’s management first broke in 2019, according to Chicago Eater, when at least eight women came forward to speak up about their experience toward former chef Davis, saying he acted sexually inappropriate with women in several incidents. One incident was allegedly caught on video.
Court records show Band of Bohemia is liquidating items ranging from office supplies and computer equipment valued at $10,000; kitchen and brewery equipment valued at $160,000 and artwork by Logan Square artist Elizabeth Weber worth $1,000.
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