Second Chances

Depot American Diner Hopes To Reopen Next Week

The Depot American Diner, 5840 W. Roosevelt.
The Depot American Diner, 5840 W. Roosevelt. Photo: Sky Full of Bacon

We are happy to say that our report of the likely demise of The Depot American Diner on the southwest side two days ago appears to be premature, though the situation seemed pretty dire then, given that the restaurant had been closed for about three weeks and a large sum seemed to be needed to reopen. As you may have read between the lines (we couldn’t say because we didn’t have direct verification of the serious charge), the restaurant was shut down after a health inspection and the sum needed was to bring it within the code. In the Oak Park Journal, co-owner Anna Marie Nava claimed that they had the “inspector from hell”:

Workers were poking in and out of the cooler grabbing food items, and because of that, the fridge was off by 2 degrees, Nava said, earning a more-serious health violation. On top of that, the inspector hit The Depot for a series of minor violations that had never rose to the top before. Those ran from torn booth seats, to damaged floor tiles, to replacing burnt-out light bulbs and a hinge on the bathroom door.

Without taking a side, the diner may well have been in serious violation here or there, which diners have a tendency to be from time to time, but it also sounds like at some point, the inspector decided to teach them a business-threatening lesson, which also has been known to happen. (They apparently had an expired food license, which may have prompted the severity of the response to other matters.) The Navas wound up having to pay about $4,000 in fines, but have also made repairs and hope to reopen this week (we suggest zipping it on the inspector-from-ellhay-alktay). Personally, we feel there’s nowhere safer to eat in Chicago than in a restaurant that just reopened after a health inspection shutdown, so we plan to be among those showing support for this little slice of real-diner workingman’s Chicago when it reopens.

Depot American Diner Hopes To Reopen Next Week