NORTH CENTER — Chicago Joe’s has shut down after 33 years in North Center. A developer plans to tear down the building to build an upscale condo complex.
The owners put the building that houses the family-owned restaurant up for sale two years ago, saying they were ready to move on with their lives, Realtor Nicholas Jakubco previously told Block Club. The restaurant shut down indefinitely in late October because of statewide restrictions on indoor dining.
Jakubco confirmed Tuesday the owners have closed the restaurant permanently due to the pandemic. They are moving forward to sell to Landrosh Development. The property includes the restaurant, six apartments and a parking lot spread across four city lots.
“The parties are working diligently to close the transaction as soon as possible,” he said.
Landrosh’s proposal includes construction of a building approximately 53 feet tall to replace the restaurant. The building would feature duplexes on the ground floor and include 16 parking spaces, two per condo unit.
Condos would sell for about $1.1 million, according to the proposal.
“We took some time to think about it and looked at building apartments, smaller condos or even two different buildings,” said Patrick Landrosh, president of the firm.
Eventually, Landrosh settled on plans for one building that bridges the gap between a family starter home and a newly built single-family home, he said.
“We’re in a great school district. We thought this would appeal to families,” he said.
The proposal doesn’t include commercial space because of how the retail and hospitality industries have struggled through the ongoing pandemic.
The building at the address is older and Landrosh said tearing it down is more feasible than trying to renovate.
“I expect we’ll get some pushback for tearing down the restaurant but that’s natural,” Landrosh said.
Landrosh submitted a zoning request to Ald. Matt Martin’s (47th) office Jan. 20 and the proposal will be reviewed this month by the ward’s zoning advisory council. Martin has not yet weighed in on the request.
A fixture in North Center since 1988, Chicago Joe’s founders Chuck Kowalski and Al Rompza opened the restaurant to celebrate the idea of a “regular Joe,” incorporating vintage advertisements for the Chicago Daily News, seats from Comiskey Park and boxing gloves into the restaurant’s decor. The restaurant was known for its lineup of burgers.
The menus were designed to look like the front page of an old Chicago Tribune, and the food follows suit: Appetizers were listed under the “First Edition,” burgers in the “Burger Art Museum,” and the “Final Edition” section featured desserts.
This is not the first time the Chicago Joe’s site has been targeted for redevelopment.
In 2014, D+K Architects and zoning attorney Rolando Acosta submitted a zoning application to build a mixed-use building with commercial space on the first floor, four floors of residential with a green roof. That deal later fell through, Acosta said.
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