SOUTHEAST LAKEVIEW — One popular Bib Gourmand restaurant and two neighborhood newbies have closed on Lakeview's south end.
The closures are signs of continued trouble in retaining businesses along Diversey Parkway, where vacant storefronts parallel popular eateries such as Stan's Donuts and Kuma's Too.
Q-BBQ has retreated to the suburbs, closing its Lakeview location at 714 W. Diversey Parkway after 2½ years.
The Bib Gourmand recipient removed Lakeview from its list of locations, which include Q-BBQs in La Grange, Oak Park, Naperville and Schererville.
The restaurant did not return a request for comment. A spokesman confirmed the closure to Eater Chicago and said the barbecue joint will look for a new Chicago location.
The fastest to close was Panz, which opened in April and lasted only a little more that five months before apparently closing in late September. Customers praised the fresh, inexpensive panzerotti served up by the fast-casual Italian restaurant, but took issue with spotty customer service and confusing operation.
Panz opened at 614 W. Diversey Parkway in April. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]
"This place is really good and unique in flavor," reviewer Jess J. wrote on Yelp. "The only thing is, they never seem to be open. The biggest tease every since it's delicious and now I want it to be a regular meal."
By the end of June, the restaurant had dropped its lunch hours and stopped posting on its Facebook page. Its final post was an apology to a dissatisfied customer.
"We did not expect this much business in this short of time," the business wrote June 21. "We are getting our restaurant ready to handle the bigger output. It will get better."
Owner Peter Mazza did not respond to a request for comment. As of Monday, the restaurant was dark and windows were papered.
Kee Chan, chef-owner of Lure Izakaya Pub in Lakeview, adjusts fresh fish ahead of dinner on Sept. 28, 2015. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]
Up the street, Lure Izakaya opened in October 2015 with plans for haute Japanese cuisine and the freshest of fish.
In June, the restaurant said it would be closed temporarily. Now a "For Lease" sign hangs in the window at 2025 N. Halsted St.
Faced with the closures, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) acknowledged "things are difficult on Diversey" during a Monday meeting of South East Lake View Neighbors.
The longtime Lakeview alderman did have some good news for the struggling corridor — The Original Pancake House has signed a lease for 616 W. Diversey Parkway.
Formerly Lakeview's nonprofit Panera Cares, the building will require renovations, and the family-owned national chain is not expected to open until spring, Tunney said.
"It's a really first-class breakfast place," said Tunney, himself the owner of Ann Sather. "I think they should do well and be there for a long time."
The pay-what-you-can Panera Cares closed in January 2015.
The pancake house will set up shop near a new Starbucks and Stan's Donuts at Clark, Diversey and Broadway.
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