LOGAN SQUARE — After more than eight years in the neighborhood, The Brown Sack will close Saturday in Logan Square.
Husband-and-wife owners Adam and Malaika Lebin said the corner soup, sandwich and shake shack's last days will be geared toward their loyal customers, who have stuck with The Brown Sack, 3581 W. Belden Ave., through thick and thin.
Those regulars trickled in Wednesday afternoon as the couple prepped, cooked and served their classic $5 sandwiches from behind the grill.
“We were one of the first places on this side of the street,” Adam Lebin said as he sizzled several strips of bacon and his wife plated each dish. “This building was an eyesore 4½ years ago. We were here long before the neighborhood began to change.”
The couple has been married nearly as long as they’ve been working in the restaurant industry — about 20 years, according to Malaika Lebin, who used to be manager at Lula Cafe. Their first Brown Sack location was on the corner of Armitage and Lawndale avenues, but the restaurant moved to the corner of Belden and Central Park avenues about four years ago.
The Lebins decided to close The Brown Sack in June to “reinvent” themselves and devote more time to new pursuits. After 14 years living in Logan Square, the couple will head to Evanston after the Brown Sack’s last days.
“We’ve been doing this for 20-something years,” Adam said. “We’re only open five days a week because that’s all that we can give — we won’t miss the work, but we’ll miss the people.”
The couple recalled their first week on the block: a shooting at a nearby park left a girl dead in 2007. That particular tragedy was followed by what Malaika described as “constant shooting” across Central Park Avenue.
But the neighborhood is changing rapidly, they said. Their early clientele was all police and teachers — now they see more stroller moms and hipsters.
But it’s all good, they said.
"It’s time to move on” and let a younger group of energetic owners step in to keep up with the times.
“This is a better place because of The Brown Sack, not because of us but because of the people that come here,” Adam said. “We’re vested in this being an awesome transition … we care about what happens to the neighborhood.”
While the new owners haven’t been announced, the deal is done and residents could expect a new project early next year, Adam said.
“They’ll make the place what we would have had we stayed,” he added. “We’re very happy, they’re great people to hand this off to. They’re local and they’re vested in the community.
"They’ll be what this building needs.”
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