North Center’s Parkside closes Saturday, as landlords blame rising costs and pandemic disruptions

CENTRAL NORTH – Parkside is closing after just over a year in the central north, a victim of inflation, soaring costs and the continued uncertainty of running a restaurant as the industry grows is recovering from the pandemic, the owner said.

Owner Rebecca Goldfarb opened the 60-seat restaurant at 4356 N. Leavitt St. in July 2021 with a menu featuring playful American fare with a particular focus on locally sourced and ingredient-based produce.

After nearly 16 months in business, Goldfarb announced on Instagram that Parkside’s last day was Saturday. She thanked her customers and staff who “showed up day in and day out in one of the weirdest, toughest times I’ve ever had in this industry.”

Goldfarb said rising labor, ingredient and overhead costs, combined with the continued uncertainty of COVID-19 disruptions, proved too much for her to sustain the business.

“It’s just kind of overwhelming as an independent small business owner,” Goldfarb said. “We are not a restaurant group that owns other sites that can absorb losses from site to site. It’s a shame because I think there are going to be a lot of independent restaurants that are going to be lost in the coming months because of this.

The National Restaurant Association has estimated that in 2020, up to 1,500 independent restaurants could close in Chicago due to COVID-19-related disruptions.

The Grafton Pub & Grill in Lincoln Square and Glenn’s Diner and Ravenswood Station Bar & Grill in Ravenswood have closed or announced imminent closures in recent weeks.

Goldfarb fears that more independent businesses are at risk.

“Everyone has resisted for so long, but the government money is drying up,” Goldfarb said. “I got to work with a group of industry professionals and veterans and we all talk about how this has just been the toughest years of our careers. There are the usual things that are difficult in restaurants, but to do this and have all these disruptions at the same time, you feel like you just can’t get a break.

Goldfarb also owns L&M Fine Foods across the street and will continue that retail business, she said.

“The thing I’m most grateful for is being able to tell people that we’re closing and we’re not just going to close our doors one day and not open. It’s nice to be able to say ‘thank you’ to people,” Goldfarb said. “It was an absolute pleasure to be able to work with the people I worked with.”

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