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#1
Posted April 21st 2009, 11:10am
LTHForum,

Patty's Diner will be closing in May. Patty Tunk, who has rented the restaurant space for 20-years, said the bank currently in control of the property has asked she vacate by May 6th. Patty went on to say there is a possibility she would stay open until end of May, but that is in negotiation.

Patty's typically stoic demeanor gave way to a deep sigh and single tear "the restaurant is my life, I've never been married, my customers are family" Patty's sister Suzy Tunk, who has worked as a waitress at Patty's since day one, with the exception of time spent taking care of their ailing parents, was equally emotional.

Patty mentioned the bank offered a lease amounting to a 50% monthly increase, not an economically feasible option, nor is Patty buying the property. Appears May will bring more than spring flowers, the closing of one of Chicagoland's best, Patty's Diner.

I was at Patty's Diner for breakfast this morning and plan on at least two more visits before they close, Thursday for the Turkey Special and breakfast centered around Patty's spectacular Old Potatoes.

Enjoy,
Gary

Patty’s Diner
3358 Main St
Skokie, IL 60076
847-675-4274
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#2
Posted April 21st 2009, 11:14am
Oh, this is terrible news!

G Wiv wrote:Patty mentioned the bank offered a lease amounting to a 50% monthly increase, not an economically feasible option, nor is Patty buying the property.


This seems odd to me...commercial properties are not exactly in huge demand right now. I'm curious if the bank has someone lined up to take the space that is willing to pay more or if they are just making a very strange business decision?

It seems like a bad reason to close a beloved neighborhood restaurant. :cry:
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#3
Posted April 21st 2009, 11:23am
Ursiform wrote:It seems like a bad reason to close a beloved neighborhood restaurant. :cry:

Ursiform,

I should note there is room for supposition aplenty, one of LTHForum's favorite sports. And I agree it seems an odd decision, but I hope our community can keep the wild supposition in check and honor the soon to be memory of Patty's by having a plate of biscuits and gravy or a med-rare burger on a house-made bun before the doors close for good.

Enjoy,
Gary
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Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

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#4
Posted April 21st 2009, 11:26am
ill head in for both GWIV, thanks for letting us know
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#5
Posted April 21st 2009, 11:26am
bad news indeed when any GNR is closing its doors.

If my schedule wasnt so busy I would make the long trek to Patty's for sure.
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#6
Posted April 21st 2009, 11:30am
Absolutely brutal news. :cry:

Hopefully, they will be able to consider relocating. As was alluded to above, it does seem like a renter's market at the moment.

=R=
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#7
Posted April 21st 2009, 11:38am
The Evanston Lunch Group gathering at Patty's in September 2007 was my second ever LTH event (after the annual picnic), and I've always thought that lunch was the perfect introduction to what LTH is all about: great food, great people at a place I'd never have found on my own, despite living right over the border in Evanston for many years. Coincidentally, I think that lunch attracted one of the bigger groups the ELG has ever had--15 people or so.

Since that introduction, I've been back to Patty's many times, and I've never been disappointed.... and now I'm wishing I had made it a lot more times.... I'm looking at my schedule now, hoping to make room for a few trips so I can get the ham hash with old potatoes, the french toast with homemade bread, the Thursday turkey special, the hamburger.... one last time.... Sad news indeed! :cry:
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#8
Posted April 21st 2009, 11:41am
:(
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#9
Posted April 21st 2009, 11:42am
With so many empty storefronts in Skokie, it's tough to believe the bank wants to raise the rent so much. Can't Patty find another space where the rent is reasonable? In any case, I wish her family all the best.
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#10
Posted April 21st 2009, 11:44am
Rumor had it that Sparky's was also closing...wouldn't it be great if she could move in there? It's a perfect setting for her...not that I wish Sparky's ill, just that her food is far and away better.
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#11
Posted April 21st 2009, 11:50am
nr706 wrote:With so many empty storefronts in Skokie, it's tough to believe the bank wants to raise the rent so much. Can't Patty find another space where the rent is reasonable? In any case, I wish her family all the best.

If you have a renter with a stable business, who cannot otherwise afford a rent increase, as a safe bet. I have seen other retail business pushed out by increased rents to find those places empty seeking tenants for months and even years. The cost of maintenance and taxes are the same with or without a tenant, why not retain a renter to defray expenses?

I hope Patty will consider moving her business instead of closing forever.

Regards,
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"You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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#12
Posted April 21st 2009, 11:53am
So sad and infuriating. A 50% increase?? WTF?? If she does move - great. If not - and understandably she might have just had it - what a loss. Either way she has to go through a rough time.
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#13
Posted April 21st 2009, 12:02pm
What terrible news! Patty's is such a part of the LTH family.
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#14
Posted April 21st 2009, 12:09pm
This is terrible news. I made my first trip to Patty's just a few months ago, but I've been back several times since and will definitely miss the great food and great atmosphere at Patty's.
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#15
Posted April 21st 2009, 1:15pm
Horrible news. I'd finally made my first visit a couple weeks ago. I'll be sure to go back a few times before they close.
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#16
Posted April 21st 2009, 5:14pm
nOOOOOOOOOOOO!
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#17
Posted April 21st 2009, 8:16pm
Any chance that if we all bombard the bank with letters that they would change their mind???

I don't see that space going for anything else good, it's such a funny spot, and I'm sure it will take lots of renovation to rent to someone else. There's so damn much empty space within a mile of there in strip malls...

I'm in favor of letters to the bank to see what LTH can do, if Patty was okay with the idea. We could certainly generate dozens of letters and some press, I would think...
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#18
Posted April 21st 2009, 8:54pm
letters might work but there would have to be a lot...
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#19
Posted April 21st 2009, 11:01pm
A lot depends on which bank it is and why they are demanding this rent increase. If it is a well known bank that a lot of us have deposits in, it could make them look very bad to be closing this little business in the middle of a recession, and banks do not need anything that makes them look bad right now. If it is a bank that mostly lends to business and no one has ever heard of them, that's harder.

I think we would also write letters to the mayor of Skokie, asking what the city is doing to retain small business.

I know nothing about small business, so others can chime in on this, but perhaps the state rep and state senator might be able to access some assistance for keeping small businesses open. Or the Congressperson.

I'm a community organizer and I do this kind of thing professionally; I think we could put together a pretty good effort, depending on what the research about the bank showed. (If they are losing money hand over fist on Patty's current rent, obviously that makes it harder; as mentioned above, if they are a bank that wants our business, that makes it easier.) We could easily generate media, I would think, and that could add pressure to the bank to do the right thing and to the village of Skokie to show that they care about small business.

All of this would depend of course on Patty approving, and people being interested in participating.

I know a lot about the organizing end; I think there are LTHers who know about the small restaurant end of things, and what it might take to keep Patty viable and what if any resources might be available to help a very popular small business.
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#20
Posted April 21st 2009, 11:42pm
I think people need to stop and take a deep breath, before organizing war parties over this matter. I, too, wil miss Patty's . . . but, honestly, the restaurant isn't widely (or regularly) supported by many people participating in this forum . . . or by residents of Skokie . . . and, generally, my impression is that business has been soft and on life support for some time now. The operation of the diner is a labor of love by Patty and her sister, no doubt about that.

None of us knows all of the facts of this matter, the complete picture here, and to make the huge leap in judgment that Patty's is a victim of an alleged unscrupulous action by a landlord - reportedly a bank acting as a property owner or not surprising-to-learn as a trustee for the rightful owners - is wrong at this point. Maybe Patty's has been operating on a month-to-month arrangement, or maybe a long-term lease is about to expire and she wasn't interested enough, or confident enough, to have secured her location for a longer term.

The landlord can ask for, or is entitled to an increase in rent almost certainly because its lease which Patty's has entered into (or which maybe is about to expire) allows it to do so and - like it or not - it really doesn't have an obligation to explain to anyone why it's making a particular business decision.

Patty may not want public intrusions into a private or business matter - such as singling-out her landlord and/or letter writing campaings - and it may not be in her best interest to engage in those activities. Where will the demonstrators go when the commotion is over? Will they guarantee her a steady clientel and future success? Or, will Patty be left, alone . . . to deal with the aftermath?

I'm a 'free market' supporter. If someone has the product/service others want I believe they'll succeed. Otherwise, let them fade away. Patty's offers a unique dining experience. If her heart is still in the business I think she can succeed elsewhere, in a different location . . . if that's what's transpires.

Put down the picket signs, and go and enjoy Patty's while we have the opportunity to do so.
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#21
Posted April 22nd 2009, 12:31am
Knowing the area, I still don't understand why the bank would prefer an empty storefront over a going business.
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#22
Posted April 22nd 2009, 5:09am
nr706 wrote:Knowing the area, I still don't understand why the bank would prefer an empty storefront over a going business.

Of course not as we are not in possession of all the facts.

Bill is on the money, lets take a deep breath, "Put down the picket signs, and go and enjoy Patty's while we have the opportunity to do so."

JudyH, while your desire to assist Patty's Diner is to be applauded LTHForum is not the appropriate venue to mount a campaign to make a bank "look bad"

Once again I request we keep the wild supposition in check and honor the soon to be memory of Patty's by having a plate of biscuits and gravy or a med-rare burger on a house-made bun before the doors close for good.

Enjoy,
Gary
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#23
Posted April 22nd 2009, 8:23am
This is awful indeed. I'll definitely be making a trip next week, either Tuesday or Wednesday. I've got to try that hash!
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#24
Posted April 22nd 2009, 8:49am
FWIW, I'm with Bill. Please, folks, no community organizing. The last thing anyone wants to do is make any assumptions about anything that is transpiring in this situation which could be as simple as the property owner selling it to an investor so he/she can retire in Boca or as complicated as the property being intertwined in a multilayered lending/finance situation involving submarkets and the stimulus package. We don't even know there is a bank involved to make "look bad" even if that's what we wanted to do (and why would we)? There's rarely a "good" or "bad" guy in these types of business situations, just two sides that are trying to cut a deal, and if the deal doesn't work, it doesn't work. As Bill said, if Patty has the desire to set up shop elsewhere, there is nothing stopping her. From prior comments, it seems like there are plenty of vacant storefronts. However, I think we, as mere LTHers, should let Patty deal with this situation on her own.
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#25
Posted April 22nd 2009, 9:26am
aschie30 wrote:As Bill said, if Patty has the desire to set up shop elsewhere, there is nothing stopping her.


Admittedly, I know near nothing about the restaurant business, but I imagine it's somewhat difficult to just up and move to another location. Some places don't even make it through a remodel after kitchen fires. Patty/Sue don't really seem like they would have a lot of extra funds laying around for this kind of thing, but I'm just assuming that.

Also, I feel it's somewhat of a shame that someone would take a "free market" stance on a place where basically everyone is a regular. It's a little bit more than just 'Oh well, that's capitalism for you' to the people who go there regularly. I have my doubts that anything that could replace Patty's, empty storefront or otherwise, would serve the community as well.

I just needed to say that, I don't wish to start a political debate here. I'm going to make an effort to come in at least twice before May 6th. Considering I live 5 minutes away and Patty's is basically the only real breakfast option IMO, I don't know what I'll do. :(
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#26
Posted April 22nd 2009, 9:32am
Annie's is always a good nearby breakfast option. Granted it's not in the same class as Patty's. But a good alternative nonetheless.

Annie's Pancake House
4900 Oakton St
Skokie, IL 60077
(847) 675-7562
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#27
Posted April 22nd 2009, 10:00am
This is horrible news! :( I too just tried Patty's last month. When I went back 2 weeks later with my girlfriend, Patty not only remembered us, but remembered we were from Highland Park!

Sue proudly showed us The Reader article and told us that someone from Diners, Drive-ins and Dives had recently called them too. It sounded like they were finally going to get national exposure which actually concerned me because it might get too crowded in there. There must be a way out of this for them. Maybe leaving this location will be a blessing in disguise? Maybe they'll find a much better location? I sure hope so. This was going to be my go-to place for breakfast for sure.
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#28
Posted April 22nd 2009, 4:35pm
I am sorry that Patty's will be closing, I was there within the past month and the place was empty. It is sad that an independent business loved by many cannot support itself based only by those that appreciate its value.
I am sure it is difficult for Patty to love what she does and yet not have the attention she truly deserves.
That sums up that the reality is much harsher out there for small restaurants than being a lovable place for its hard core followers and that in itself is not enough.
We can only wish she continues elsewhere.
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#29
Posted April 22nd 2009, 9:15pm
Worst...news...ever. I was just there Sunday morning for the second time and though it is out of the way, thought about how I really need to make the effort to get there more often because there is really nothing else around that compares. My wife I am were just recalling this morning, three days later, how good our meal was.

ComEd is cutting the power to our house tomorrow to cut some branches, making work pointless, so that's as good an excuse as any to head that way.
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#30
Posted April 23rd 2009, 8:37am
please don't forget the ham hash... it is probably the best ham hash you will taste at a restaurant... it is sooo good!
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