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Reza’s Restaurant In Andersonville Shut Down By State Over ‘Non-Compliance,’ Officials Say

Reza's state business license was revoked and the city's Department of Buildings posted an "off-limits" notice on the front door Monday.

Reza's Restaurant was shuttered by the city and the state (green notice at left) Monday.
Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
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Editor’s note: Reza’s briefly reopened for business, then was shut down again Wednesday by city officials. Read more here.

ANDERSONVILLE — A popular Andersonville restaurant was forced to close Monday after running afoul of city and state regulators.

Reza’s Restaurant at 5255 N. Clark St. has had its state business registration revoked by the Illinois Department of Revenue, according to a notice posted to its front door.

A spokesperson said the restaurant was non-compliant with state tax law but declined to comment further.

“Due to taxpayer confidentiality provisions in the tax laws, we cannot divulge particulars regarding the non-compliance of a business,” Maura Kownacki, spokesperson for the department of revenue, said in a statement.

An “off limits — do not enter” sign was also affixed to the restaurant by the city’s Department of Buildings Monday.

Building inspectors found “dangerous and hazardous” code violations in the business, said Michael Puccinelli, spokesperson for the city’s buildings department. The violations include exposed electrical wiring, overloaded electrical systems, expired fire extinguishers, faulty emergency lighting systems and “compromised means of emergency egress,” Puccinelli said.

It is not clear if the city’s enforcement is connected to the state’s order to revoke the business license.

Representatives from Reza’s did not return a request for comment Monday.

Credit: Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
Reza’s Restaurant was ordered closed by the city and state Monday, July 18, 2022.

Reza’s was opened on Clark Street in 1983 by Reza Toulabias and became one of the first and most prominent Persian restaurants in the city. The business expanded to suburban Oak Brook in 2004 and to Evanston last year.

The Oak Brook and Evanston restaurants were open Monday.

Reza’s also had locations in Lincoln Park and River North that have closed, according to Eater.

The brothers who launched Reza’s — Reza Toulabi and Joseph Toulabi — were ensnared in a legal dispute in 2013. Reza Toulabi, who owns the properties that house the restaurants, sued business owner Joseph Toulabi over unpaid rent, according to Crain’s.

Reza Toulabi is also a real estate investor who bought Cheetah Gym from its founder. Toulabi in 2013 defaulted on a mortgage for his three Cheetah Gym locations, causing his lender to seek the sale of the company’s assets, Crain’s reported at the time.

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