So, there's some bad news and there's some sort of good news. First off, the bad: Grub Street Chicago reports that Ramova Grill, which has been serving chili in Bridgeport for 82 years, will close on April 14. This really is bad news. As I found out the hard way, Chicago isn't much of a chili town. Sure, there are some very solid bowls around town, including more than a few I'd go out of my way for. But if you're looking for a deeply restorative chili experience, you're basically limited to Ramova Grill, which sells a bowl that is rich and spiced, thick but balanced. After one spoonful of Ramova's chili back in January, I knew that I should have crowned it the winner and moved on.
What could possibly be the good news? Well, on its Facebook wall, the owners claim that they don't have close for financial reasons; they simply want to retire. This is extremely rare. Most restaurants open in close in the space of a few years. So while I'm extremely sad to see it go, the owners obviously deserve it. This just means that someone else in Chicago is going to have to pick up the chili flame. That is a challenge.
Here's the message from Ramova Grill:
Dear friends and loyal customers, after 82 years of serving Chicago and the Bridgeport community, the Ramova Grill will be closing its doors after April 14, 2012. Owners, Tony Dinos and Bob Gertos will finally get to enjoy retired life.
We want to thank you all for your support over the years, and want you to know that we treasure the friendships built with generations of chili lovers who made their way down Halsted for a homemade meal.
We look forward to seeing you over the next few weeks, as we now begin, "MARCH CHILI MADNESS!" Please stop on by and say goodbye to a Chicago institution, and enjoy a fresh, hot breakfast, fresh squeezed orange juice, or maybe a burger, steak sandwich, or even a bowl of that Ramova chili.
See you soon!
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