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Michelin-Star Blackbird Restaurant Going Out Of Business Due To COVID-19 Pandemic

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The popular Michelin-star restaurant Blackbird announced Monday that it is going out of business due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"After 22 years of serving Chicago, we have made the very difficult decision to close our doors," the restaurant's operators said on the website for the eatery, located at 619 W. Randolph St. "While our hearts are broken to see Blackbird's journey come to an end, we are humbled to have contributed in a small way to Chicago's incredible restaurant community for over two decades, serving as a place of warmth and hospitality while all along the way, building lifelong friendships with our team, guests and partners."

The statement did not specify whether the closure of the restaurant was related to the coronavirus pandemic, but the restaurant confirmed to CBS 2 that it was.

One Off Hospitality spokeswoman Maggie Perry confirmed details in a Chicago Tribune report by Phil Vettel – in which restaurant partners said they could not operate at 25 percent capacity indefinitely with a small dining room or maintain six feet of social distancing with a 14-foot by 9-foot kitchen.

Blackbird opened in 1997. The restaurant noted that its dining room has celebrated moments from birthdays to first dates, engagements, weddings, and "more often than not, a simple dinner date to reconnect with friends or family."

Blackbird was the flagship restaurant for One Off Hospitality, which also operates Avec, 615 W. Randolph St., Publican, 837 W. Fulton Market; Publican Quality Meats, 825 W. Fulton Market; Café Cancale, 1576 N. Milwaukee Ave.; Pacific Standard Time, 141 W. Erie St.; Big Star, which has locations at 1531 N. Damen Ave. and 3640 N. Clark St.; Dove's Luncheonette, 1545 N. Damen Ave.; and the Violet Hour cocktail lounge, 1520 N. Damen Ave.

Those restaurants and lounges all remain in operation, most now with open patios.

The One Off Hospitality restaurants remained open for takeout and delivery after Gov. JB Pritzker closed bars and restaurants in March due to the pandemic, but within weeks, the group decided to temporarily close its restaurants altogether when COVID-19 cases were steeply on the rise in Illinois.

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