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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park

North Center’s Parkside Closes Saturday; Owners Blame Rising Costs And Pandemic Disruptions

Parkside opened in July 2021, offering creative takes on American dishes. But the struggles of being a small business owner in this climate were "insurmountable," the owner said.

Parkside's interior at 4356 N. Leavitt St.
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NORTH CENTER — Parkside is closing after a little more than a year in North Center, a casualty of inflation, ballooning costs and the lingering uncertainty of running a restaurant as the industry recovers from the pandemic, the owner said. 

Owner Rebecca Goldfarb opened the 60-seat restaurant at 4356 N. Leavitt St. in July 2021 with a menu featuring playful takes on American fare with a heavy focus on ingredient-driven and domestically sourced products. 

After nearly 16 months in business, Goldfarb announced on Instagram that Parkside’s last day is Saturday. She thanked her customers and staff who have “shown up day after day in one of the strangest and hardest times I have ever experienced in this industry.” 

Goldfarb said the rising costs of labor, ingredients and overhead combined with the uncertainty of COVID-19 disruptions proved too much for her to keep the business going. 

“It’s just sort of insurmountable as an independent, small business owner,” Goldfarb said. “We’re not a restaurant group that has other locations that can absorb losses from one location to another. It’s a shame because I think there is going to be a lot of independent restaurants that are going to be lost in the coming months because of this.”

The National Restaurant Association estimated in 2020 up to 1,500 independent restaurants could close in Chicago as a result of COVID-19 disruptions. 

The Grafton Pub & Grill in Lincoln Square and Glenn’s Diner and Ravenswood Station Bar & Grill in Ravenswood have closed or announced impending closures in recent weeks.

Goldfarb worries even more independent businesses may be at risk.

“Everybody’s held out for so long but government money is drying up,” Goldfarb said. “I was able to work with a bunch of industry professionals and veterans and all of us talk about how this has just been the hardest years of our careers. There’s the usual stuff that’s hard about restaurants but to do that and have all these disruptions all at once you feel like you just can’t catch a break.”

Goldfarb is also the owner of L&M Fine Foods across the street and will continue that retail business, she said. 

“The thing I’m most grateful for is being able to tell people that we’re closing and not going to just shut our doors one day and not opening up. It’s nice to be able to say to people ‘thank you,’” Goldfarb said. “It was an absolute pleasure to be able to work with the people I worked with.” 

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