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Reza’s Restaurant Reopens In Andersonville Following Shutdown — Then City Officials Close It Again A Day Later

Reza's briefly reopened after being shut down by the city and state — only to close again Wednesday afternoon.

Reza's Restaurant was ordered closed by the city and state Monday, July 18, 2022.
Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
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ANDERSONVILLE — Reza’s Restaurant was again shut down Wednesday after city officials slapped the restaurant with a notice for doing required electrical work without a permit.

Reza’s, 5255 N. Clark St., reopened Tuesday after city and state officials on Monday forced the business to close due to state tax issues and city building code violations.

The restaurant reopened after state officials confirmed owners had resolved its tax problem, but by 2 p.m. Wednesday, Reza’s was again forced to close.

Officials with the city’s Department of Buildings affixed “off-limits” and “stop work” orders to Reza’s Wednesday. The stop-work order was issued due to “electrical work performed without permit,” according to the notice.

City officials learned the business had reopened in violation of the closure notice and returned Wednesday to re-apply the signs, said Michael Puccinelli, spokesperson for the Department of Buildings. Reza’s can only reopen when the code violations are properly fixed and inspected by the city, he said.

“It is unlawful to remove and disregard a Closure Order Notice especially as the closure order notice is to protect the health and safety of the public and workers,” Puccinelli said in a statement. “The business was closed for dangerous and hazardous violations and no reopening was authorized.”

The notices were posted after Reza’s had opened for the day and had been serving customers in the lunch hour.

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

The trouble surrounding the longtime neighborhood restaurant unfolded earlier this week.

The state’s Department of Revenue revoked Reza’s business registration due to non-compliance with state tax law, a spokesperson for the agency said. The city’s Department of Buildings put an “off limits — do not enter” sign on the building Monday due to electrical and fire safety code infractions, including exposed wiring and expired fire extinguishers.

Maura Kownacki, spokesperson for the state revenue department, said Wednesday she could not share specifics about the case due to state tax privacy laws.

“Due to taxpayer confidentiality provisions in the tax laws, the Illinois Department of Revenue cannot divulge particulars regarding the compliance of a business, but in general, to operate legally, the business must be in full compliance, or have a department-approved payment plan,” Kownacki said in a statement.

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

Credit: Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
Reza’s Restaurant was shuttered by the city and the state (green notice at left) 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 do not appear to be impacted by the state’s action.

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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