Exclusive: Bar Chuko to Close at the End of the Month

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Per a recent conversation with Jamison Blankenship—co-owner of Prospect Heights’ beloved ramen shop, Chuko—BK Mag learns that their izakaya offshoot, Bar Chuko (located mere steps away on Vanderbilt Avenue), will shutter on the 25th of the month. “The food was spectacular, we had an amazing chef, we’re proud of everything we did, but after two years, it just never hit the midweek numbers that we wanted,” Blankenship explained. “Whereas at the ramen shop, we’ve just kept getting busier and busier each year. Last year was our best yet, actually.”

Which is why the sudden shakeup could actually be viewed as good news for patrons who never managed to snag one of the original ramen-ya’s few, coveted seats. “Originally, Bar Chuko was designed with a long lease in case we ever lost the noodle spot. That was our safety net, because our landlord at Chuko was always month to month or year to year; we could never nail down a proper lease,” Blankenship said. “So rather than rebrand, we decided we would just move Chuko over, which would guarantee us 13 more years and a big, beautiful space with a functioning basement and all the things we didn’t have across the street. We’ll take reservations, credit cards, and large parties, and yes, we’ll even start offering delivery and takeout—pretty much give the people precisely what they’ve always wanted.”

And while the significantly larger kitchen could potentially produce a few Bar Chuko holdovers, Blankenship and crew are keeping things simple, relaunching on August 1st with an entirely unaltered menu. “We’re getting rid of the grill to add another stove for stock. Sure, we may start adding new things once we figure out how to work in a proper kitchen and not a galley kitchen, but the beauty of a ramen shop is that there’s not a lot of moving parts, so it makes good business sense,” said Blankenship. “We just want to maintain that for the long run, considering we’re not sure what the future holds for independently-owned restaurants in general. We want to make sure we’re lean and mean right out of the gate.”

 

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1 COMMENT

  1. Oh damnit. That octopus is so good. And the wings were better than at the original Chuko somehow…And the bartenders are great. Hope Graham and the sake/whiskey selection stick around.

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