Damen Updates: The Hole Where Hot Chocolate Is/Was, Grass Fed LLC, Cesar’s Margaritas Pulls Out of Former Dairy Queen Space

By at April 23, 2012 | 8:33 pm | Print

We interrupt work on the next Celebrate! magazine (info here) to report that there appears to be a hole where Hot Chocolate (1747 N. Damen) is/was….?

Inside the hole is a crane.

Yesterday when we walked past Hot Chocolate, the place was packed.

Anyone have the scoop on this? We’re busy making ad mock-ups like this one. If you know what’s up with Hot Chocolate, please add it is a comment.

Just a few doors south of Hot Chocolate, it’s been confirmed that caffe de luca  at 1721 N. Damen is closing. Owner Art still owns the building and will be renting to Grass Fed LLC, a steak house. The good news: Diners can expect to see familiar faces at Grass Fed, per this message on CDL’s Facebook page.

Damen’s Caffe De Luca will remain open through the end of May. Here’s many photos “Aly De Luca” snapped during almost two years of Free Tarot Nights! Numerous pipeline readers found their way onto the pipeline’s weekly e-newsletter subscriber list via Free Tarot Night, which Aly retired from when a full-time job, a full-time newsletter, and a weekly tarot night was just too much excitement for one person.

Lastly, at 1649 N. Damen, we were alerted to possible new news on the Cesar’s Sinful Margaritas project via this comment from ‘Bucktown Resident': I walked past the empty storefront this weekend (21 April 2012), and noticed all of the permits have been removed. Any word if Cesar’s has decided to pull out?

We sent an email to 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack’s office to try and find out the answer to BR’s question, though it was after normal-people-working-hours aka 6PM. A walk past the former Dairy Queen space showed that only a small bit of orange was left as proof of the prior permit.

The Pipeline just reached Cesar Castellanos, owner of Caesar’s Margaritas on Clark, pictured at far left, via telephone. Cesar confirmed that after no less than four community meetings and one ZBA hearing (where the restaurant was denied a second-level patio permit) that he’d decided to pull out of the project.





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  1. Buster, 3 years ago Reply

    Looks like the neighbors got their wishes granted. A nice, quiet, boarded up building. Nice job keeping out the businessmen trying to invest in the neighborhood. Enjoy the peace and quiet. Maybe one day you’ll get the overpriced boutique you’re holding out for.

  2. Michael, 3 years ago Reply

    According to the food blogs out there, Hot Chocolate is just remodeling. I didn’t know it would be that extensive — that looks like a gut — but at least they’ll be back when the work is done.

    And I agree with Buster about Cesars.

  3. chicago-pipeline, 3 years ago Reply

    Michael, thanks for update, glad to hear it’s just a remodeling. Per Hot Chocolate voice mail greeting, it closed Sunday April 22nd and will reopen Tuesday May 8th.

  4. Nugent Bob, 3 years ago Reply

    Those people in the community that opposed to caesars margaritas : did they forget that on the same block there are seven other bars that get packed with screaming drunk frat boys every night? What difference does another bar make?

  5. Buster, 3 years ago Reply

    Nugent Bob….some people have learned how to game the system. If they can get a few of their friends to show up and pressure the Alderman, they get to decide if someone else’s building stays vacant or not. The majority of those pressuring the Alderman this time were from the condo building across the street. This absolutely kills me. Yuppies move into a building on Damen, one of the busiest commercial streets in the area, and get upset when a restaurant/bar wants to move in. If you want quiet, pick a nice quiet side-street to live on. Don’t keep my commercial strip abandoned because you like a country-quiet condo! This is what’s wrong with America. People have lost their minds. Reminds me of a story a few years back about people that bought condos next to a dance club on Halsted in Boystown. On one of the country’s hottest gay entertainment strips. When they moved in, suddenly they realized there was a loud dance club next door. The solution? Try to shut down the dance club! How about not moving in next to the damned dance club if you want quiet!

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