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Wicker Updates: Burning Leaf, Scoop NYC Close; Goddess and Grocer to Move

By Alisa Hauser | February 5, 2014 8:16am | Updated on February 5, 2014 8:48am
 Burning Leaf Cigars has closed after nearly 10 years at 1648 N. Damen Ave. in Wicker Park.
Burning Leaf Cigars has closed after nearly 10 years at 1648 N. Damen Ave. in Wicker Park.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

WICKER PARK —  Several Wicker Park area restaurants and boutiques are on the move to bigger spaces or in some cases have decided to close and "re-concept."

In mid-March, The Goddess and Grocer plans to leave its longtime home at 1646 N. Damen Ave. and move across the street to 1649 N. Damen Ave., owner Debbie Sharpe said.

The former Dairy Queen is nearly three times as large as the existing Goddess and Grocer and will have Wi-Fi in an upstairs area that will provide seating for 70 people.

Sharpe, who owns the building where Goddess and Grocer is now, said she's working with a real estate agent to "make sure something suitable for the neighborhood comes in."

When asked to expound on what would be suitable, Sharpe said, "Something that fits in. Ideal would be a housewares store like a mini Home Depot, but unfortunately I don't think that will happen.

"I don't want the street to lose its character.  We have some great stores here," Sharpe added.

Sharpe called the new space an upgrade to "the sunny side of the street," referring to the fact the new digs will be on the east side of Damen and capture more mid-day sun.

Burning Leaf Cigars Shutters

One door north of Goddess and Grocer, Burning Leaf Cigars at 1648 N. Damen Ave. has closed, leaving an empty storefront.

Burning Leaf Cigars owner Jamal Hussein said his shop's lease was up, and while he had an option to renew the lease for another five years, the condo association in his building had worked with the landlord to change the terms of the lease. 

"The lease no longer permitted cigar smoking on the premises and people couldn't light up. It affects our business dramatically. ... A lot of people came in and liked to chat, we had a TV, they could watch the news and light up for five or 10 minutes," Hussein said.

Hussein said the fact his lease no longer allowed indoor smoking was "the main reason" the tobacco shop closed.

"We will miss the town and have been there close to nine years. I want to thank everyone for their business," Hussein said.

Grass Fed to 'Re-concept'

Grass Fed at 1721 N. Damen Ave, plans to close Sunday and will reopen in March with a new concept, Eater.com reports. The restaurant has had two chefs since opening in July 2012.

Scoop NYC Exits Bucktown

First hinted at in May when a "For Lease" sign appeared in its 9,800-square-foot standalone building across from the library, Scoop NYC has closed its Wicker Park/Bucktown outpost at 1702 N. Milwaukee Ave.

A sign in the window reads, "Goodbye Bucktown, thank you for shopping with us" and lists the address of the chain's Gold Coast Boutique at 1009 N. Rush St.

An employee at the Gold Coast location said Scoop NYC closed its Bucktown boutique on Saturday and that Gold Coast will be the New York City-based boutique's only Chicago location in the immediate future.

On Tuesday, broker Jerry Becker, who is trying to find a new tenant for the building, said he is "in the midst" of talking to several tenants and might have "one or possibly two" new tenants coming soon.

Le Thrift Heads to Ukrainian Village

Le Thrift, a consignment boutique that was inside M.Go Salon at 1754 W. Division St. in Wicker Park will be moving to 1821 W. Chicago Ave, in Ukrainian Village in March, Racked.com reports.

Le thrift's new storefront was previously home to Master Medical Supplies, which closed in December.

Le Thrift is holding a clearance sale through Feb. 22.