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Chili Mac’s Restaurant To Close After 21 Years In East Lakeview

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Chili Mac's

Chili Mac’s 5-Way Chili at Broadway and Briar Place will close on Aug. 31. (Credit: Chili Mac’s)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — While an assortment of new businesses are bringing a renaissance to Broadway in the East Lakeview neighborhood, neighbors will soon say goodbye to one popular local establishment after more than 20 years in operation.

Chili Mac’s 5-Way Chili, at 3152 N. Broadway, has occupied the northwest corner of Broadway and Briar Place since February 1991. The restaurant is known for its chili offerings that aren’t especially common in Chicago – particularly the Cincinnati-style five-way chili with layers of chili, thin spaghetti, cheese, beans and onions.

But the owners of the restaurant announced Friday morning that the restaurant will be closing on Aug. 31.

“It is with great sadness that we are saying goodbye to all our customers, friends and fans of Chili Macs 5 Way Chili. It has been a great ride that has lasted 20 years!” owner Tito Garcia wrote. “Thank you for including us in the community, in your social events and celebrations and mostly in your daily lives.”

In a July 1991 Chicago Tribune review, writer Barbara Sullivan noted the three chili offerings at the restaurant – a cinnamon-flavored Cincinnati chili, a hot pepper-infused “Texas Jailhouse” chili, and a vegetarian option. In the 21 years since, the menu remains the same, along with pizza options and 16- or 32-ounce margaritas.

The demise of Chili Mac’s comes as an assortment of new ventures open on Broadway between Belmont Avenue and Diversey Parkway.

Across the street from Chili Mac’s this fall, entrepreneur Greg Shuff is set to open his Dryhop microbrewerly and restaurant. It will occupy the space at 3155 N. Broadway, in a space that had been vacant since the Pleasure Chest adult store moved out in 2006.

The upscale neighborhood restaurant will feature “moderately priced and locally sourced cuisine inspired by the culinary techniques of Western Europe.”

A couple of blocks south, the popular Pastoral cheese shop at 2945 N. Broadway is set this fall to open the 40-seat bistro Bar Pastoral one storefront to the north at 2947 N. Broadway.

The owners of Pastoral say the new bistro will feature with hot and cold plates and other light menu items inspired by the cheese and charcuterie options at the adjoining store. There will also be creative cocktails with seasonal ingredients, and a selection of limited-distribution wines and craft beers.

Meanwhile, another new restaurant, Frog N Snail, opened earlier this year at 3124 N. Broadway. The location had been occupied by Sura, a Thai bistro with spherical swings suspended from the ceiling, which closed last year.

And in a space once occupied by a liquor store at 2934 N. Broadway, entrepreneur Philip Tadros has opened the new Bow Truss specialty coffee roasting house at 2934 N. Broadway. The roastery curates and roasts its coffee in-house, and on demand.

Anchoring the strip at Belmont Avenue is the new Chicago outpost of the Los Angeles-based Laugh Factory comedy club, which opened earlier this year at 3175 N. Broadway, in the space vacated by the Lakeshore Theater in 2010.

And at the other end of the strip just north of Diversey Parkway, construction has begun for a new and controversial Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market. The store, which will focus primarily on groceries, is set to open early next year in a space that will combine the three storefronts once occupied by a Wolf Camera, a PetSmart, and the Cost Plus World Market that closed in June.

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