WICKER PARK — After less than five months, a meatball-focused restaurant on a stretch of Milwaukee Avenue packed with bars and restaurants has closed.
"Hi, it's Tuesday, Aug. 11. We regrettably have to inform you that we closed our doors. We want to thank all of our guests, especially our regulars for making our too brief stay on Milwaukee an enjoyable one and we want to wish you the best in the future," said Mondo Meatball owner Dean Casagrande in a greeting on the restaurant's voicemail.
Located at 1467 N. Milwaukee Ave., Mondo Meatball took over the lease for the shuttered Azzurra EnoTavola in January. Casagrande's shop, which offered meatball dishes served plain, over salad, or in a sandwich, opened over St. Patrick's Day weekend in March.
Sunday was the last full day of Mondo Meatball being in business, confirmed Casagrande when reached by phone early Wednesday.
"We liked the neighborhood; we didn't get hot for whatever reason. It's a great vibrant area but our concept didn't pop to the top of everyone's to-do list. We had a nice core group of regulars and didn't grow fast enough," he said.
When asked if he thinks he gave Mondo Meatball enough time to resonate with the area, Casagrande said, "We would like to give it an unlimited amount of time but there is not an unlimited amount of money."
The restaurant employed 10 workers.
"We let them know as early as we could [about the closure]," Casagrande said, adding that he is currently working with the building's landlord to try and arrange a new subleaser to take over the spot.