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Prasino Shutters, Leaving 50 Staffers 'Heartbroken,' Worker Says

By Alisa Hauser | August 18, 2014 7:58pm | Updated on August 19, 2014 2:02pm
 Prasino, at 1846 W. Division St. in Wicker Park, abruptly closed Monday.
Prasino, at 1846 W. Division St. in Wicker Park, abruptly closed Monday.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

WICKER PARK — Prasino, a Division Street restaurant that opened three years ago, abruptly closed on Monday, leaving its employees shocked and regular patrons that had booked reservations at the eco-minded healthy restaurant surprised.

"It's a shock to all employees, and we are heartbroken. We are grateful to all patrons who have supported us," said a worker who opened the locked door on Monday but declined to use her name. 

Alisa Hauser says the restaurant isn't closing because of a lack of customers:

The worker said the closure, which she and about 50 other employees had been informed of on Monday morning, was caused by "a partnership that broke up" and not for lack of business because the restaurant is "super thriving," she said.

An update on the restaurant's Facebook page Monday said only, "Sorry, we've closed."

The closure comes just after the restaurant's third anniversary in business at 1846 W. Division St. and four months after Prasino closed another location in Rosemont.

Owned by Ted Maglaris, Prasino's entry into Wicker Park in August 2011 was the LaGrange-based eatery's first expansion into the city.

One worker said when he arrived at the restaurant at 10 a.m. Monday he was told by Anton Marano, a business partner of Maglaris', that Prasino's would be closing.

Marano had been taking a more active role in the restaurant, some workers said, including making menu changes and trying to cut operating costs.

Marano declined comment. Maglaris did not return calls.

Jared Case, Prasino's executive chef, said on Tuesday that "he cannot talk about the end of the business, per wishes from Marano."

However, Case, who worked at Prasino for nearly three years years, called the situation "unfortunate."

"It was a busy restaurant and it's a shame it closed," Case said.

Case, who is expecting to land a new job elsewhere in the next few weeks, said that the restaurant is "in great condition for any new owner. "

"It would be very easy for a new operator to come in; it's ready to go, ready to rock. I don't see why not. It's a beautiful restaurant, it's gorgeous and functional and works properly," Case said.

Ted Maglaris opened the Wicker Park location under a licensing agreement with the suburban restaurant, said his cousin Peggy Maglaris-Kopley, a co-founder of the LaGrange spot. The suburban location has not been affiliated with the Wicker Park restaurant since 2012, she said.

Maglaris-Kopley said the LaGrange Prasino would honor any gift certificates issued through the Wicker Park location. She added that she is trying to find work for the city location's former workers at the family's six suburban restaurants, including a breakfast spot in Darien and Wild Monk, a bar and grill in LaGrange.

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