On Wednesday and Thursday we received numerous emails from concerned readers about some ominous signs that appeared in the windows at Gioco (1312 S. Wabash):
I live on the same block as Gioco, and they have signs in the windows saying something to the effect of Closed Today and Until Further Notice; Sorry For the inconvenience. Does anyone know anything about this? It's such a great place...
I was walking by Gioco and saw it was closed. The signs in the window stated that Gioco would be closed today and until further notice. Not sure if they are closed permanently. Any ideas? Scoop?
Before fanning the flame, we decided to shoot a quick email to KDK restaurants (who runs Gioco) to inquire. Here is what they said:
We are hoping to overcome a temporary glitch that caused the closing. I would appreciate your patience and understanding.
We prodded a little more and they did say they play to reopen. So no need to panic just yet, it sounds like you will be enjoying some Italian food shortly.
To elaborate even further Crain's Chicago had this informative story today:
Chicago restaurateur Jerry Kleiner, a co-owner in Gioco, at 1312 S. Wabash Ave., says the state suspended its retail license Wednesday because Gioco has fallen behind in making required employee withholding and sales tax payments. He hopes the closing will be temporary and said he and his partners in owner KDK Restaurants Inc. are working with the Illinois Department of Revenue to get the license reinstated.
Mr. Kleiner said Gioco is making money — he declined to provide specifics — but has suffered in a financial restructuring at KDK, which at one time owned a string of high-end eateries, including Marché in the West Loop and Opera, Gioco's neighbor just up Wabash. Marché closed in June after a near-two-decade run, and Opera shut its doors in December.
Now KDK is down to just one restaurant: Red Light. Mr. Kleiner said Gioco's success has helped keep Red Light afloat and delayed the demise of Opera.
"We're going to make good on the taxes owed," Mr. Kleiner said. "Gioco is very profitable. It just got caught in the fire."
Ironically, we actually went to Gioco this past week and had arguably one of the best meals we've had at the restaurant (we've probably been a dozen times over the past couple of years).
We opted for the stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer (a staple whenever we go) and then split the tortellini and the Filetto Con Salsa Al Barolo for the first time. The filet dish was amazing. Two 4 oz Gorgonzola Dolce Crusted Beef Filets, Roasted Cippolini Onions, Sautéed Rapini, & Barolo Sauce.
Hopefully we will be able to have this dinner again soon!
What do you think is going to happen?
(Hat tip: DR, CS, BK, SLA, KDK, HAD!)