EDGEWATER — A staple restaurant in the Bryn Mawr Historic District has closed after two decades due to challenges from the pandemic.
Francesca’s at 1039 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. is closed permanently, parent company Scott Harris Hospitality confirmed. The location of the Chicago-area chain closed after 21 years “due to the many challenges with COVID continuing,” Harris said in a statement.
“While we are sad to leave the Edgewater community that we’ve been a part of since 2000, this decision was part of our bigger plan to renovate existing Francesca’s across Chicagoland and grow in other areas of Scott Harris Hospitality with new concepts at the same time,” Harris said.
Neighbors noticed this week a sign in Francesca’s window that thanked neighbors for their support over the years. In December, Scott Harris Hospitality announced a remodeling of the 13 Francesca’s restaurants, including revamped interiors and menus.
The closure is a significant loss for the Bryn Mawr commercial district, which has seen multiple anchor businesses close since the pandemic began. It also comes as restaurants face rising coronavirus cases and a new requirement to check customers’ proof of vaccination in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Restauranteur Scott Harris opened the first Mia Francesca in 1992 in Lakeview. Francesca’s grew to include more than a dozen locations in the Chicagoland area. Its move onto Bryn Mawr Avenue helped revitalize the historic commercial district in Edgewater, local blogs said at the time of its 2000 opening.
Like all restaurants, Francesca’s on Bryn Mawr was forced to close in spring 2020 due to the pandemic. It reopened its dining room in June 2020. In September 2020, it introduced a online ordering system for easier takeout service.
The business was again forced to shut down indoor dining in fall 2020 before reopening dining rooms in early 2021. But with more COVID-19 cases now than ever before in Chicago, the restaurant group is calling it quits on that location.
Fancesca’s on Taylor Street and sister restaurant Davanti Enoteca in Little Italy closed permanently in June 2020. Francesca’s currently has 13 locations.
In April, Nookies closed its location at 1100 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. after a 10-year run. The restaurant that was supposed to replace Nookies — a diner from the team behind pHlour Bakery & Cafe — never got off the ground.
In early December, Starbucks confirmed the indefinite closure of its cafe at 1070 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., but it vowed the spot will reopen.
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