M and I tried really hard to make our wedding personal and unique. One way we did this was by foregoing the standard table numbers, and instead using the names of our favorite restaurants. Instead of putting up numbers in the middle of the table, we had menus from all the best places to grab a bite in Chicago.
Unbeknownst to us, we were cursing those restaurants.
There were nineteen tables, represtenting 19 restaurants. In the almost three years of our marriage, three have closed, and two have closed and reopened.
Until one day when we stopped by for a bite to eat, and it was all boarded up. It was like getting punched in the gut. We had only missed it by a matter of days, and that was that. No more jukebox, no more posters, no more sweet middle aged blond waitress calling me sweetheart and teasing me for my love of malts. Standee's was gone forever.
And last week, seemingly out of the blue, another restaurant from our wedding tables announced it was closing. Earwax Cafe. This one hurt even more, as it was one of three restaurants in town that did EXCELLENT vegetarian food and had WONDERFUL meaty selections. They made the best veggie burger in the city, a black bean quinoa burger TO DIE FOR. They also had the most delicous sweet potato and black bean quesodillas, great smoothies and shakes, and the ambiance! Oh, what a place! Completely decorated in the style of an old time freak show- painted tapestries of bearded ladies, carved monkeys and masks, bright colors and beautiful carved wooden shadow boxes everywhere. We loved that place. Once upon a time, they even had a great video rental running out of the basement, but that ended with the death of VHS.
It was fun, but very sad.
Since 2008 two more restaurants have closed and reopened for health violations, including the one that catered our wedding. One of our restaurants had to close for a week when a car went through its front window. A few are thriving, a few more definitely struggling in the down economy- one of those is widely considered THE place for Chicago Deep Dish and still just filed for bankruptcy. And I really have to wonder if this is our fault for involving them in our wedding.
It's amazing how attached you get to places. I always picture myself bringing the girls to Earwax, it was such a fun place for kids. I would have eaten well and still had a happy night out with my girls. But now... no more. Goodbye Earwax. Goodbye Standee's. Goodbye Costa's.
Three down, sixteen to go.