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R.I.P. Yak-zies

R.I.P. Yak-zies
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  • R.I.P. Yak-zies

    Post #1 - August 6th, 2007, 2:54 pm
    Post #1 - August 6th, 2007, 2:54 pm Post #1 - August 6th, 2007, 2:54 pm
    I always loved their wings and waitresses.



    Yak-Zies on Diversey closes

    Posted by Kevin Pang at 11:37 a.m. CDT

    Yak-Zies on Diversey, the venerable labyrinth of wings and cheer, is no more.

    After original owner Kenny Miller died last week, the underground pub of 41 years served their last drinks Sunday, turned off the lights and called it a night. Their Wrigleyville location on Clark Street remains open and unaffected, but Lakeview East will lose some of the most-beloved Buffalo wings in the area. Tang pizza, with chicken chunks slathered in hot sauce, will be served in one less place.

    I live a block away from this place, and can remember countless nights when I'd go down those stairs, order a pint or two, converse, laugh and I think nearly cry. A good pub lets you do that.

    General manager Jeff Olsen says he couldn't comment on the closing for legal reasons. He'd only say to his legion of loyal customers: "I'd love to thank them very much for their patronage. Have a nice day."
    If it's 3rd and long, try a draw play.
  • Post #2 - August 6th, 2007, 3:00 pm
    Post #2 - August 6th, 2007, 3:00 pm Post #2 - August 6th, 2007, 3:00 pm
    Travesty. Great bar with very solid bar food. Tang burger and their wings were great. Wow too bad.
  • Post #3 - August 6th, 2007, 3:20 pm
    Post #3 - August 6th, 2007, 3:20 pm Post #3 - August 6th, 2007, 3:20 pm
    One less place in the city, where you can drink until the sun comes up...
    Butter
  • Post #4 - August 6th, 2007, 3:25 pm
    Post #4 - August 6th, 2007, 3:25 pm Post #4 - August 6th, 2007, 3:25 pm
    To be honest, I was only familiar with the one on Clark St. Were there any glaring differences between the two locations - I have yet to have the fabled Yak-Zie wing.
    Writing about craft beer at GuysDrinkingBeer.com
    "You don't realize it, but we're at dinner right now." ~Ebert
  • Post #5 - August 6th, 2007, 3:36 pm
    Post #5 - August 6th, 2007, 3:36 pm Post #5 - August 6th, 2007, 3:36 pm
    whiskeybent wrote:To be honest, I was only familiar with the one on Clark St. Were there any glaring differences between the two locations - I have yet to have the fabled Yak-Zie wing.

    Far less meatheads at the Diversey location, it got a pretty good mix of folks. If you want to eat wings surrounded by guys high fiving each other and yelling JAGER BOMBS, BRO!!! then Yak-Zies on Clark is the place for you.
  • Post #6 - August 7th, 2007, 12:42 pm
    Post #6 - August 7th, 2007, 12:42 pm Post #6 - August 7th, 2007, 12:42 pm
    When i lived in the area, from about 84-94, The diversey Yak-zies was my number 2 hangout, after the Burwood Tap. They had the best wings that I have ever eaten. Having not been there in 13 years, I cant say that I will miss it, but I am definitely sad that it closed.

    -Will
  • Post #7 - August 7th, 2007, 1:36 pm
    Post #7 - August 7th, 2007, 1:36 pm Post #7 - August 7th, 2007, 1:36 pm
    WillG wrote:When i lived in the area, from about 84-94, The diversey Yak-zies was my number 2 hangout, after the Burwood Tap. They had the best wings that I have ever eaten. Having not been there in 13 years, I cant say that I will miss it, but I am definitely sad that it closed.

    -Will

    Sadly, in the last few years the Burwood has turned into a DePaul bar and is no longer the same bar it was even 5 years ago.
  • Post #8 - August 7th, 2007, 4:45 pm
    Post #8 - August 7th, 2007, 4:45 pm Post #8 - August 7th, 2007, 4:45 pm
    I wonder if the legal reason for closing the Diversey location only was that the business was directly owned by Kenneth Miller according to Chicago food inspection records while the 3710 North Clark Street location is owned by YANKEE ZULU INC. IIRC a liquor license in the name of an individual expires with the individual's death while a corporation lives on.
  • Post #9 - August 7th, 2007, 8:15 pm
    Post #9 - August 7th, 2007, 8:15 pm Post #9 - August 7th, 2007, 8:15 pm
    I seem to recall that Miller also owned the venerable Diner Grill on Irving Park at some point as well as the coffee shop at the northeast corner of Broadway and Irving (Arnold's?).

    It is a fuzzy memory, but I seem to recall striking up a conversation with Miller at the Diner Grill following a film at the Music Box about 15 years ago. My girlfriend then (now wife) lived in the courtyard building just to the west of Yak-Zies and we must have been there 2-3 a week back in those days. He even picked up our check at the Diner Grill.

    Can anyone confirm?

    Either way, sad to hear about Miller and Yak-Zies, as well.
  • Post #10 - August 26th, 2007, 6:58 am
    Post #10 - August 26th, 2007, 6:58 am Post #10 - August 26th, 2007, 6:58 am
    Late bump here -- I live pretty close to this place and always felt underwhelmed (never thought you'd hear that word, huh?) when I go there. The wings seem to be REALLY small. My fiancee calls them ... pigeon wings.

    Maybe it's the Hooters, BW3's and the likes that I'm accustomed to, I don't know, but I don't think wings should be that small.
  • Post #11 - August 26th, 2007, 10:27 am
    Post #11 - August 26th, 2007, 10:27 am Post #11 - August 26th, 2007, 10:27 am
    LTH,

    Two and a half plus decades ago I was a regular at Yak-Zies, lived close, didn't, at that time, cook much, went so often they put my favorite burger combination on the menu. I loved the wings, still can't get behind the breaded variety, bartenders, patrons, even the curmudgeony Kenny Miller.

    To me Yak-Zies personified Chicago, a nondescript joint in an out of the way basement that thrived on the force of personality of it's (extremely) irascible owner and two main bartenders, Stu, of the booming voice, and Jeff Olsen, who eventually became the owner.

    Kenny moved to Florida shortly after selling the two Yak-Zies, got bored with the easy life and opened a Yak-Zies in Pompano Beach. My wife and I stopped in about a year ago, Kenny looked good, at least as good as a hard drinking man who has smoked multiple packs of camel straights for 50-years can, and seemed pleased to have Chicago visitors.

    I met my wife at Yak-Zies and, for that fact alone, the quirky subterranean tavern rates an honored place in my fondest memories.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #12 - August 27th, 2007, 1:02 am
    Post #12 - August 27th, 2007, 1:02 am Post #12 - August 27th, 2007, 1:02 am
    The reason for the bigger wings at Hooters may have something to do with a push-up bra. :lol:

    I liked this place. It wasn't special. I wouldn't go out of my way for it. But if I was in the nabe, it was my go-to spot. I also liked that the extra-hot (suicide) wings were truly what you would expect.

    The fact that Gary met his lovely wife here just charms me to death. Talk about meet cute.
  • Post #13 - January 22nd, 2008, 3:50 pm
    Post #13 - January 22nd, 2008, 3:50 pm Post #13 - January 22nd, 2008, 3:50 pm
    Just caught wind that this may be re-opening. Stay tuned.
    If it's 3rd and long, try a draw play.
  • Post #14 - January 22nd, 2008, 6:50 pm
    Post #14 - January 22nd, 2008, 6:50 pm Post #14 - January 22nd, 2008, 6:50 pm
    I hope those rumors are true! I've lived around the corner from Yak-Zies for the past six years and it's always been one of my neighborhood favorites. When I was a bit younger, I was in there 3-4 times a week 'til late. In recent years, it was my primary source for carry out wings, which I think were definitely the best in town.
  • Post #15 - April 23rd, 2009, 12:20 am
    Post #15 - April 23rd, 2009, 12:20 am Post #15 - April 23rd, 2009, 12:20 am
    The rumors are true. The original Yak-zie's on Diversey is in the process of lowering the ground (or extending the ceiling, I forget already) and will be reopened later this summer. Stay tuned.
  • Post #16 - January 30th, 2018, 11:34 pm
    Post #16 - January 30th, 2018, 11:34 pm Post #16 - January 30th, 2018, 11:34 pm
    Deja vu all over again. I was sitting at the bar at Yakzies on Diversey tonight when I read the article on Eater about Wednesday being the last day. I thought it was odd that it was more crowded than normal at 6:00 on a weekday. Ended up with slightly conflicting info from the two bartenders but the gist is that they sold this location to a group that owns other bars and it will reopen soon with a new name. Never got the name of who purchased the location though but it was clear that the one bartender did not have a high opinion. We did agree that it was never the same after Kenny died. Wings were still pretty good and better than the Wrigleyville location, I've lived within a block or two for the last 20 years and spent a lot of time there before they closed the first time but not as much since. I will miss it though.

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