Nearly 19% of Chicago restaurants have closed since the start of the pandemic


CHICAGO – On Lawrence Avenue in Jefferson Park, mixers are quiet at Sicilia Bakery after 54 years in business.

Fred Pecoraro has been working in the bakery since the age of 7. He closed the doors six weeks ago.

“It really went from a decent running business to zero – we tried all kinds of concepts, home delivery of food, drop off goods on people’s steps and you know, every day, in trying to find someone to cover the counter so we had sort of a clerk.

Sicilia Bakery is not alone. Figures from the Datassential market research show that nearly 19% (18.8%) of restaurants in the city have closed since the start of the pandemic.

The surrounding counties have lower restaurant closure rates.

  • Cook (outside of Chicago): 12.4%
  • DuPage: 12.8%
  • Kane: 13.2%
  • Lake: 11.8%
  • Willpower: 11.3%
  • All Chicagoland counties (minus the city): 12.3%

“Our accountant told us we were crazy a year and a half ago for even trying to stay open,” Pecoraro said.

While health officials recommend wearing the mask and the vaccine rather than mitigation measures for companies. Pecoraro says – fear is a factor for the future.

“People are scared again,” Pecoraro said. “My dad put his whole life in this neighborhood and uh, it just stopped.”

Elsewhere in the city, It has been reported Thursday that a must-see before and after Bulls and Blackhawks games for fans, WestEnd, closes due to the pandemic. A second Ranalli location will occupy the space.


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