Friday, September 22, 2017

Gioco - a Neighborhood Pionner - Appears to Be Closing at 1312 S. Wabash

Some big news for the South Loop restaurant scene (via Eater):
Gioco, a neighborhood restaurant pioneer that opened in 1999 before the South Loop real estate boom began, may soon end its 18-year run. A broker has listed the restaurant space for lease and is searching for a tenant who will pay 2017 market price. The restaurant’s lease is up in August 2018, but the landlord is optimistic that another tenant could be in place before the lease expires which would force the rustic Italian restaurant to close. 
The rent should skyrocket with the new lease thanks to the dozens of condo towers built over the years near Roosevelt and Michigan avenues, said Gioco co-owner Howard Davis. Back when it opened 18 years ago at 1312 S. Wabash Ave., Gioco was the only retail spot around.
This would be a bittersweet one for us.  One of our friends actually lived above the restaurant way back in the early 2000's and we vividly remember visiting her and being impressed with the vibe Gioco, Opera and Zapatista brought to this block.

In reality, all three were fine spots, but the food was simply mediocre in our opinion.  They all were trying pretty hard and for a new neighborhood, that was sufficient.

The new crop of spots that have recently moved in - The Scout, Flo & Santos, Lobo Rey, Asian Outpost - seem to be an improvement from the pioneers.  Yes, many of them feature the sports bar vibe, but we actually like the food at those places better than Opera and Zapatista.

Gioco will be missed, but we will be curious to see what moves in.  Hopefully it's something new and interesting.  We've really enjoyed Asian Outpost and are excited about Lobo Rey.  Hopefully some fresh blood will bring even more excitement to one of the Sloop best stretches.

Anyway, thanks to Gioco for the solid run and paving the way for the Sloop to grow.

(Hat tip: ND & NK!)

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