Skewerz, RIP

By at May 10, 2012 | 11:56 am | Print

We are truly sorry to report that Skewerz, 1560 N. Damen, is closed, just a few months after its fourth anniversary party.  A new restaurant concept (independently owned) is slated to move into the space by late July.

We know sources close to the matter, but since they say, “I can’t tell you, because you’ll write about it,” we’re in the dark about the next chapter for the highly coveted space adjacent to the Damen El stop too. RIP, Skewerz.

So instead of reporting on what’s next we’ll just write about what Skewerz meant to us, if anyone cares.

We missed Skewerz’s wi-fi lounge this past deadline night aka last night. This fun fact has no relevance now, but for those who liked to burn midnight oil, Skewerz, home of the best grilled artichokes, was open until 2AM on weeknights. On average we- OK, I– was there once weekly, sometimes more. Though we kept to ourselves mainly, given we were usually writing something, Skewerz was our “Cheer’s.” Even exes unfortunately knew to find us there.  And suitors. And friends that were worried about our mental health since they hadn’t seen us in awhile but knew where to find us on deadline night.

Philin Phlash’s photos were on the wall of Skewerz.

J. from Pint would come by on Wednesday nights to play darts, and tell me that I need to take risks, to not be afraid to write “more than just fluff.”

“You’ll get more readers if you write real stories,” he said. And then someone would throw a dart and almost miss the board. But perhaps having a death wish I was too lazy to move away from the dart board or to actually leave Skewerz, not until they were closing at 2AM, or 2:05AM.  I was usually the last to leave.

“What are you working on?” O., an employee, would ask.

“Oh, this neighborhood thing…  this thing that takes up all the space in my life…  this pipeline, ugh,” I’d say. Or mumble. Or whine. Aching lower back. Darn soft wifi lounge pillows! My fault for sitting on them for five hours, slouched over, typing with one hand, immobile, listening to the same reggae track that seemed to play the same songs for the past few years. Buffalo Soldier…

… If I were feeling especially manic, I’d leave Skewerz at 2AM and hop a cab to the all night Starbucks in Old Town and finish the pipeline there! Or sometimes go to a different all night cafe nearby like I did last night before finally giving up at 3AM and getting some shut-eye.

Mike, the owner of Skewerz, like many small business owners, lived and breathed his business the way I live and breathe the pipeline.  To put everything you’ve got into a venture is not a risk most people would be willing to take. Most people are sane.

One day, this was awhile back, Mike told me that he saw this poor guy on the street trying to sell cotton candy, but for whatever reason, nobody was buying it. So Mike decided to ask him how much it would be to buy the entire pole.

Skewerz then sold cotton candy for a few days until the guy came back to get his pole.

Like Phlash, I snap thousands of pictures, so I can’t find the photo of Mike with the cotton candy. But here’s Phlash’s son, Marty, pointing to his dad’s photos on the wall of Skewerz.

RIP, Skewerz.

On a side note, the adjoining Wiki Market (prior to the tiki wifi lounge), was the first time I ever met Phlash. He was selling his photos there.






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  1. billy bob, 3 years ago Reply

    That’s nice an all but skewers food really went down the drain over the last year. It took forever to make the food, they always got my order wrong and would always be out of stock of half the things I wanted to order. It was also way overpriced. Probably wouldn’t have went out of business if they tried a little harder. Peace skewerz.

    • Panther, 3 years ago Reply

      I’m not sure what the cursing policy on these comments is, so I’m just going to call billy bob a stupid jerk face. I obviously don’t know you billy bob, but you sound like a huge douche. If I ran into you at Skewerz I would punch you square in the face and then throw jasmine rice all over your cowering body.

      Actually, that would be a huge waste of jasmine rice. I’m sure the cool dudes behind the counter would give me something to throw on you.

      They got your order wrong? Poor baby, I used to get mad if they got my order right. You should stop sucking on your mom’s boobs and go eat somewhere else.

      • billy bob, 3 years ago Reply

        Well I still kept going there around once a week cause I liked the place, but businesses don’t go bust for no reason. No need to get your panties in a bunch.

        Plus if you asked the guy for something to throw at me 50/50 they’d probably be out of it so I’m not too worried.

  2. alisa, 3 years ago Reply

    I never noticed if it was slow service because i sat down to work and had already lost track of time by that point. It was a bit pricey though i am guessing rent played a role in pricing. I liked the curried tofu skewer and sweet potato balls which i featured in one of first newsletters. Though like the reggae track, i pretty much always ate the same thing , the artichokes. Just so sad to see it close. Crocodile also is open late, has wifi and with a beer you get a free pizza though i preferred skewerz.

  3. sweatpantnick, 3 years ago Reply

    i think this is probably the worse day of my life. skewerz didn’t mean a lot to me, it meant everything.

  4. chicago-pipeline, 3 years ago Reply

    understood, sweetpantnick, one of the reasons i was late in sending newsletter out was b/c i was feeling so displaced this week!! it just was not the same working elsewhere. :( dunkin donuts with bright lights is not the same as skewerz! and to billy bob… . So many people are quick to criticize but not as quick to praise. for the record in over three years of going there i think skewerz was only out of artichokes a couple times and my order was never messed up.

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