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Andersonville

Andersonville Restaurant Gadabout Closing Sunday After 3 Years On Clark Street

Gadabout served up elevated takes on street food with an emphasis on sustainability. But profitability hasn't returned during the pandemic, management said.

Gadabout opened in 2019 at 5212 N. Clark St.
Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
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ANDERSONVILLE — A staple restaurant of Clark Street is closing for good after Sunday, with managers saying the business was no longer sustainable because of the pandemic and related economic issues.

Gadabout, 5212 N. Clark St., will host its last day of service Sunday, management for the restaurant announced this month. The closure marks the end of a three-year run for the restaurant, which was founded by alumni of Hopleaf’s kitchen to bring worldly cuisine to Clark Street.

“We did our best to hold out for as long as we could, but the pandemic really was a huge hit, and we have not been able to make ends meet since,” management wrote in announcing the closing on Facebook.

Gadabout opened in fall 2019, serving elevated and imaginative takes on street food found around the globe. The restaurant placed on emphasis on sustainability, buying furniture second-hand from Brown Elephant and offering discounts to customers who brought their own reusable straws.

The business garnered acclaim and a following in Andersonville. But like many restaurants and small businesses, the pandemic changed everything, said James Bateman, the general manager, who co-owns Gadabout with his parents and wife.

After reopening following the 2020 stay at home order, Gadabout pivoted to keep its doors open, instituting a “passport” concept that highlighted cuisines from around the world.

The fits and starts caused by the pandemic took a toll on the business, Bateman said. Like many restaurants are finding out, current conditions aren’t much more conducive to business.

Credit: Provided
The interior of Gadabout in Andersonville.

Increased costs, a lack of a rebound in customers and other factors ultimately caused the Bateman family to pull the plug, he said.

“Ever since COVID happened, we haven’t really been profitable,” Bateman said. “We were trying to maintain standards from pre-COVID times. Unfortunately, prices just keep hiking up. … It was a struggle.”

Gadabout announced its pending closure Nov. 2, giving about a month’s notice on the decision. That was to allow regulars another chance to come by and give staff notice to find another job.

As a two-decade veteran of the restaurant industry, Batemen said he felt it was the least he could do.

“I’ve tried my best to be a better boss than at a lot of other places,” he said. “We have a lot of regulars we’ve become friends with. We want to make sure people who enjoyed us in the past cane come in again.”

Gadabout is open for dinner service starting at 5 p.m. and has weekend brunch service 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. For more information and to make a reservation, click here.

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