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Is Chicago’s Restaurant Bubble About to Burst?

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pump room chicago

When the late Ernie Byfield opened the Pump Room in Chicago in 1938, he thought of the restaurant as a stage. More than 28 years later it still ranks at the top of Chicago’s restaurants, and still carries on Byfield’s tradition of dramatic effects. Here waiter Lee Scott, in tail coat, serves flaming lamb chops and chicken on brochette June 29, 1967 to recording artist Joni James and her husband, Anthony Acquaviva, of Beverly Hills, Calif., in Booth one reserved for celebrities.

AP Photo

Chicago said goodbye to a lot of restaurants in 2016. Some were long-time staples in the city (like Parthenon in Greektown, and the world-famous Cape Cod Room at the Drake Hotel) but were forced to close their doors recently. Others were stars that shone too bright and were shuttered within months, like the Cantina 1910 in Andersonville. Yet new places to wine and dine pop up every year, and 2017 is no different. But will they enjoy extended lifespans? Or will they burn out faster than hoped?

Morning Shift talks to Catherine De Orio, host of WTTW’s Check Please, and Michael Roper, owner of Chicago restaurant Hopleaf.'

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