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What's Going On at Former Rookies Bar in Wrigleyville?

By Ariel Cheung | January 29, 2016 6:01am
 A sign appeared in mid-January for Irie Bar and Grill atop the former Rookie's, 3400 N. Clark St.
A sign appeared in mid-January for Irie Bar and Grill atop the former Rookie's, 3400 N. Clark St.
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DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung

WRIGLEYVILLE — It appears a new restaurant in Wrigleyville is coming to chase away the winter blues, mon.

Over the past week, there have been signs of construction — or at least demolition — at 3400 N. Clark St. Rookies Bar and Grill, the last occupant, closed in 2012 for renovations and was permanently shuttered in 2013. Before that, the building held Wrigleyville Wild Wings and Fly Me to the Moon.

This week, the Rookies' sign went in the Dumpster, and a tropical banner popped up announcing Irie Bar and Grill would be "coming soon."

In late January, the sign for Rookie's Bar and Grill was removed as renovations began inside 3400 N. Clark St. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]

In July, new building permits estimated a $250,000 interior renovation of the existing structure, which would be a 1,920-square-foot restaurant. In September, the building changed owners, city records show.

One clue hints at the eatery's theme: "Irie" is a Jamaican slang term meaning "good" or "feeling great." A construction worker also mentioned plans for a Jamaican or Caribbean restaurant.

The corner of Clark, Sheffield and Roscoe could use a facelift; while Johnny O'Hagan's, Pick Me Up Cafe and Houndstooth Saloon are popular haunts, Rookies and the short-lived Big Cheese Poutinerie deadened the portion of Clark Street just south of the Wrigleyville strip.

Irie Bar and Grill appears to be replacing Rookie's Bar and Grill, which closed in 2013 at 3400 N. Clark St. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]

Two years ago, a group of developers sought to turn the storefront into a barbecue joint called Whiskey Grill. The owner at the time said he was committed to investing $400,000 in renovations.

Developers pitched the idea of an island-themed bar to Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) more than a year ago, said spokeswoman Julie Levar said. The current project does not have an active business license, she said.

Hawthorne Neighbors and the Central Lakeview Merchants Association also said they hadn't heard of new plans from developers.

Calls to the owner listed on city records were not returned.

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