ANDERSONVILLE — DMK Restaurants no longer plans to open a new restaurant in the former Kingfisher Restaurant in Andersonville — but a barbecue joint could be on its way, according to the real estate broker hunting for a new tenant.
The Kingfisher space at 5721 N. Clark St. has been vacant since the 3,700-square-foot restaurant closed in 2011. In April, Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) said DMK was moving in. But the company never announced a concept or opening date for the restaurant despite having negotiated a lease.
DMK backed out of that lease last month, according to the real estate firm Sperry Van Ness.
Osterman's chief of staff, Dan Luna, said "it's nobody's fault," that the DMK deal fell through. He said DMK and co-owner David Morton have been busy working to open a restaurant in Evanston this winter and plan to open another one in River North later this year. Opening in Andersonville as well would have made for too heavy a load, Luna said.
Morton, "couldn't get his arms around it for right now, so he's backed out of the deal," Luna said.
DMK and the building owner could not be reached for comment.
Andersonville resident Tim Rasmussen, in addition to co-owning restaurants Anteprima, Acre and Ombra, is a real estate adviser at Sperry Van Ness and the leading broker working on the Kingfisher building.
Rasmussen said he couldn't speak about why the lease was canceled — but said that on behalf of the building's owner he is targeting tenants who could bring a barbecue-focused restaurant to Andersonville.
In Andersonville, Rasmussen sees "a void in the market for barbecue," saying there's nothing in the area of the stature of popular barbecue joints such as Smoque, Rub's Backcountry or Lillie's Q.
"Where do you get good barbecue around here? There's literally no place that focuses on barbecue," Rasmussen said.
Asked if he had reached out to any particular barbecue restaurateurs, an upbeat Rasmussen wouldn't get specific but said "every one of them."
"I'm talking to all of them," he said. "I bet I'll get one in the next couple of weeks. I'm absolutely positive of it, because I'm such a believer in this location for that kind of concept."
The Kingfisher property comes with a 7,500-square-foot parking lot that Rasmussen says could be used as an enormous patio area while still preserving some parking spaces. He also said the restaurant could host live music.