Mayor Rahm Emanuel talks with pastry chef Celeste Dolan, left, and Zina…
After a lengthy battle with the city over regulation and permit issues, the Logan Square Kitchen has announced that its business is no longer economically viable and that it will permanently close its doors on June 28.
The Logan Square Kitchen is a shared-use kitchen, which currently hosts about 20 active businesses, all of whom will need to find a new kitchen in order to keep their businesses operating.
Ed Kraft, owner of The Baked Escape, said he is concerned that he may not be able to find a new home for his baked goods operation, or that his business may suffer from a move to a new location.
"I was surprised. I know that there were problems or concerns with the city, but I thought they had been alleviated," Kraft said. "I guess we'll have to go from here and see what happens."
According to Logan Square Kitchen owner Zina Murray, there are limited options for her clients as they search for new homes, and Kitchen Chicago in West Town, the only other shared kitchen in the city, is completely full.
Certain businesses and restaurants throughout the city are licensed to host outside clients in their kitchen but coming up with an agreement that works for both parties can be challenging Kraft said. He has already begun reaching out to some other Logan Square-based establishments like Revolution Brewing with the hopes of finding a suitable new space.
"It's a heartbreaking situation," Murray said. "But I'm doing what I can to help my clients find new places."
Murray said her business was doomed from the beginning as she struggled obtaining the necessary permits and licenses, including certification from the city's Green Building Permit Program. When she took her business proposal to Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, she was told her she had misrepresented her business and had to acquire new permits.
All together, Murray waded through red tape for more than a year and a half, and as a result, many of the funds that would have been devoted to stimulating her business were instead used to pay lawyers.
Mayor Emmanuel's new ordinance to streamline business licenses announced in April came too late to help the Logan Square Kitchen, and Murray said that the Shared Kitchen Ordinance, which went into effect last September did little to improve things for her or her clients.
"I don't consider it a failure. We have done so many good things," Murray said. "We motivated the city to look at these things and change them, but we were one of the first ones through the wall, so we suffered."