CHICAGO — A famous prime rib restaurant downtown will be closing their doors at the end of the year due to struggles amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lawry’s announced Sunday that they will close at year’s end. Known for a simple menu and a high-profile location at the corner of Rush and Ontario, the location has been a fixture of downtown dining for years.
“It’s scary to think of what’s going to be the future for smaller restaurants,” Charles Johnson said.
The restaurant’s CEO cited a loss of business, incidents of unrest downtown, and an expiring building lease all as contributing factors for the restaurant’s closure.
“In a year of incredible turmoil, this is a tough one for sure, but with the industry in general in such a state of flux, we felt we had to push the pause button,” CEO Ryan Wilson said.
The impact of Lawry’s has gone far beyond their prime rib and restaurant, with their signature seasoned salt being sold across the area as a commercial product. The success of the salt led Lawry’s to package and sell a variety of spices and seasonings.
“Lawry’s really has been an institution. Amazing prime rib, but beyond the food a really great atmosphere, and a really good brand name too. You see the seasoning at the stores and it’s not just this place,” Lawry’s customer David Lackey said.
Chicago Tribune and WGN-TV food critic Phil Vettel hopes the restaurant can reopen in a new location or renegotiate the lease, but Lawry’s currently plans to serve their final prime rib dinner on December 31.
“It’s hard to imagine Ontario Street without the Lawry’s sign over the old McCormick mansion,” Vettel said.