COVID-19's economic impact forces Wrigleyville bar to close, Gold Coast restaurant close behind

The National Restaurant Association estimates a quarter of all restaurants will close as a result of this pandemic

ByCate Cauguiran and ABC 7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
More restaurants, bars face closures due to COVID-19 economic impact
It's closing time for another Chicago bar, as more local establishments feel the impact of COVID-19.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A local restaurant owner is making a plea for help while another is closing their doors, as more local restaurants feel the impact of COVID-19.

The National Restaurant Association estimates a quarter of all restaurants will close as a result of this pandemic. However, many restaurant owners and employees in Chicago continue to hold onto hope that they can stay on the other side of that statistic.

Last hugs were shared between patrons outside Lake View's Redmond's Ale House as the popular North Side sports bar closed its doors for good Sunday.

The Wrigleyville bar, known for being a friendly spot for Vikings fans, is just the latest casualty of the COVID-19 economic impact.

Closing time for another Chicago bar.

The 3rd Coast Cafe in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood has been open for 35 years, but are trying to avoid that same fate.

"So where we go from here, I don't know," said owner Janet Thomas. "We stretched it out as far as we could."

The small restaurant is a big institution among loyal customers.

"When I come here, it's like a home. It's like a home away from home," said longtime customer Frank Oliva.

Thomas says she needs to raise $50,000 in just a matter of weeks, or they fear they will have to close for good.

"We've got until the end of October," Thomas said.

She, like other small business owners, still struggling to pay rent, employees and keep their life-long dreams alive.

"We've dedicated our lives to this little neighborhood making it the place it is now," she said.

Thomas' says her loyal customers have since stepped up, starting a fundraising campaign to keep the long-standing restaurant open.

"It is nonstop, people that I have not talked to in literally years have reached out," she said. "That's what keeps my spirits up. Honestly, it just keeps me boosted where I can-'okay we got this.'"

Customers say there is no Gold Coast without the 3rd Coast Cafe.

"If the place closes, I don't know what is going to happen. There ain't no other place like this here," Oliva said. "We have to keep the place open, we really do."

"We're going to fight. As long as the neighborhood is fighting, we're going to fight to keep this place," Thomas added.

Thomas says if you want to help out 3rd Coast, you can buy gift cards from the restaurant to feed first responders, dine in at the restaurant or contribute to her employee fund.