LINCOLN PARK — Two longtime neighborhood restaurants, The Black Duck and King Crab, have reluctantly shut their doors.
The owner of the properties housing the two restaurants refused to allow them to renew their leases, according to the co-owner of The Black Duck Tavern & Grille.
The owner of the historic 19th century-era building housing The Black Duck had been trying to redevelop the property at 1800 N. Halsted and a number of structures north of The Black Duck, but has since withdrawn the proposal, according to 43rd Ward Ald. Michele Smith.
Developer Golub & Co. had sought to knock down The Black Duck building, the apartment buildings to the north of it, and the building that houses King Crab restaurant at 1816 N. Halsted St.
The plan was to construct a six- or seven-story apartment building with retail shops on the first floor.
Neighborhood groups strongly opposed the project's plans to demolish the Black Duck building, as well as the height and architecture of the proposal.
"Lincoln Park deserves better," Smith said. "Something that integrates our historic buildings and maintains our historic buildings."
Golub did not respond to requests for comment Friday.
It is not clear when Golub withdrew the development proposal.
The Black Duck restaurant served its last meal May 18 and had to surrender the property Friday, said co-owner Jorge Perez, who has operated the restaurant for 34 years.
The lease on the Black Duck expired March 31.
Perez said the owners of the property are allowing some tenants in the building, such as Master Cleaners, 1814 N. Halsted, to stay on month-to-month leases, but would not work out a deal with The Black Duck or King Crab.
"It was very sad," Perez said. "We didn't want to make a splash that we were leaving, but in the end [customers] knew, and a lot of people came Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They didn't want to leave the place. They were crying."
King Crab had operated at its Halsted address for 32 years before closing.
The restaurant is in the process of moving to 691 N. Milwaukee Avenue, according to a post on its website.
Perez said The Black Duck owners are looking for a new location, possibly in Lincoln Park, or a surrounding neighborhood.
"We gave it a good run," he said. "It was a nice operation for 34 years, but there's nothing more we can do but look forward and keep going."
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