Steve Dolinsky has a thoughtful post in memoriam of new restaurants which closed before their time. He pays tribute to the Lincoln Park Japanese restaurant Masu Izakaya, which he considered the most authentic izakaya-style Japanese restaurant to open in Chicago, but which proved to be too authentic for its neighborhood. On the other hand, he thinks North Center’s Delhi 6 should have stuck with authenticity, but dumbed down its food for its neighborhood too readily. (That explains the comments they left behind when they closed, which seemed to blame their customers for not appreciating them.)
It’s proof that as novelty-seeking as dining in Chicago seems to be, there’s still a risk in being too different for your location, and that for every Purple Pig or Longman & Eagle that bursts out of the gate with exotic food, there are others who can’t last long enough in recessionary times to find their audience. For us, the quintessential example of this was John Bubala’s Baccala in Wicker Park, which served lardo and organ meats and lamb’s tongues just a year too soon (circa 2007); within months of its closing, Wicker Park was home to temples to “variety meats” such as Mado and The Bristol doing plenty of business with hearts and livers. Let’s hope the same proves to be true when another izakaya spot, Chizakaya, opens.