Wishbone in Berwyn closes

Owner says breakfast, lunch business weren't where they needed to be


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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

The Berwyn location of Wishbone restaurant, 6611 W. Roosevelt Road, closed on Monday after five years in business.

Owner Joel Nickson said at dinnertime and on the weekend, the eatery has been relatively busy. But weekday breakfast and lunch business, which they tried in the first year of business, weren't up to snuff. Their original five-year lease is up at the end of the month, and he decided to end things this past weekend.

He acknowledged that the never-ending state of construction on Roosevelt Road hurt business, but stopped short of blaming it on leading to the closure.

"It sure didn't help," he said. "It seems like it's been three summers in a row of ripping up the road and all that, but I don't want to blame it totally on that. It made it a little rough last year."

Wishbone also has locations in West Lakeview and the West Loop, and Nickson said a handful of Berwyn employees will be transferred to those locations. They had originally hoped to move the local location to the Beverly neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, but that deal never came together.

Nickson, 55, an Oak Park resident, said it's possible they could return to the area, if they find a larger location with more foot traffic.

"We've put in the time here," he said. "I feel like people know us and it's kind of a shame to walk away from all of it."

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Gary Ghertner from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: May 23rd, 2011 10:55 AM

I dined at Wishbone Berwyn one or two times a month and am so sorry to see the eatery leave the area.


Posted: May 22nd, 2011 9:09 PM

J, I think we all know about the other Wishbones, but a lot of us like to shop locally, even if it's semi-locally, across the street from OP. It was also nice to be able to walk there for brunch. If I have to drive, I will probably go somewhere else, because the Washington Ave WB is always packed on Sunday morning.

j.oak park  

Posted: May 22nd, 2011 5:26 PM

you all do know that there are two more Wishbone restaurants in Chicago, right? The best was the original on Grand Ave. long ago. There is a Giant one on Washington and another on Lincoln ave on the northside. Cry no more...but do adventure outside of Oak Park sometimes.

Cindy G from Oak Park, IL  

Posted: May 22nd, 2011 5:19 PM

SOOOOO sad to lose such a unique and fantastic restaurant. My daughter literally cried when I told her. I too hope for a new location in OP. They will be sorely missed.

epistrophy from Oak Park  

Posted: May 17th, 2011 8:03 AM

Wishbone was just good enough to be really frustrating (that it wasn't better).

Oak Parker  

Posted: May 16th, 2011 3:36 PM

Tanya, Now your on to something, How about a marriage of the two. Micro Brew/ Wishbone. That is a bit more complex and involves the owners but I like it a lot.


Posted: May 16th, 2011 3:31 PM

Thanks Oak Parker for the clarification. The old Honey and Thyme building was brought a few weeks ago. I think that would be great location for the Off Key Microbrewing.

Marty Stempniak from Wednesday Journal  

Posted: May 16th, 2011 3:24 PM

To answer Tim H's question: Joel said they tried weekday breakfast and lunch for a brief time during the restaurant's first year in business. He said it was around then that they started contemplating leaving the Berwyn location. They tried to line up a deal to relocate to Beverly on the south side of Chicago, but the deal never came together.

Oak Parker  

Posted: May 16th, 2011 3:13 PM

Thanks Marty. The corner of OP Ave and South Blvd is looking for a restaurant tenant. Tanya, The Pasta Shoppe is being rebuilt for another restaurant.


Posted: May 16th, 2011 2:59 PM

They should move into the Pasta Shop's old location on Oak Park Ave. Oh, I think they're planning construction on it too.

Marty J. Stempniak from Wednesday Journal  

Posted: May 16th, 2011 10:25 AM

@Oak Parker: The announcement of them closing was posted on Wishbone's Facebook page on Friday.

KrisG from Oak Park  

Posted: May 16th, 2011 9:30 AM

Had the worst meal my family ever experienced here. Just how can you burn a hamburger that badly and still serve it? My only surprise is that they stayed open as long as they did. Maybe we can get a decent restaurant in there now.

Oak Parker  

Posted: May 15th, 2011 5:28 PM

Whats really behind the story coming out on FRI for a closing on MONDAY. Something seems very strange here that is not being told. Marty, did he come to you or how did you find out?

Liz from Oak Park  

Posted: May 15th, 2011 3:55 PM

I am super bummed about wishbone leaving. We loved walking over and would always run into someone we knew. Then it was great to grab a beer at the sidebar afterwards. Such a loss...the neighborhood just got a lot more boring.

DMG from Oak Park  

Posted: May 15th, 2011 7:56 AM

What the owner doesn't point out is their service was hit or miss- mostly miss.

Valerie from Oak Park  

Posted: May 14th, 2011 7:43 PM

So sorry! One of my favorite restaurants--they'll be sorely missed.

Oak Parker  

Posted: May 14th, 2011 5:39 PM

Broad, No Bank tho.


Posted: May 14th, 2011 5:01 PM

Oak Parker - no, 22nd Ave is a north-south street in Broadview, so there is indeed an intersection of Cermak and 22nd.

Susan from oak park  

Posted: May 14th, 2011 3:01 PM

Sorry to see Wishbone go, this is my neighobrhood so this will be a major loss for the redevelopment of Roosevelt Road. I wish the owner could just have waited unnti the construction ended to see how business would go. Yes, there is little foot trafic because Roosevelt Road is not prone to foot traffic. But, if the food is good, people will come and find a way.


Posted: May 14th, 2011 2:46 PM

Wishbone used to be open for lunch Wed-Fri. I don't ever remember them being open for breakfast during the week. The Roosevelt Rd. project do doubt hurt business. With the road torn up the last 2 summers you'd think someone could work out a deal with the owners of the vacant Blockbuster building to allow parking. I've seen dozens of cars towed from there, so I'm sure someone is making money off that lot.

Sarah from Oak Park  

Posted: May 14th, 2011 12:35 PM

Actually they are not open every weekday for breakfast as I have tried to go during the week so I assumed they did not need the business weekdays to stay afloat...but I LOVE this place for breakfast!!! Please consider ways to stay open. It will be a great loss to the community!!!!!!

Kpm713 from Oak Park  

Posted: May 14th, 2011 9:55 AM

I hate to see Wishbone leave! It's such a great place. Why not try a space on Lake Street in the downtown Oak Park area or even River Forest? There is space AND parking. The only time I'm south of the 290 were the few times I went to Wishbone. Roosevelt needs the work done but the impact to businesses like this is sad. That area is not great for foot traffic either.

No No No, You Can't, We Won't Let You Go from Local  

Posted: May 14th, 2011 8:51 AM

Wishbone is a Brand and a Destination. You can't leave!! We will do anything! Pullease...what can we do to make you happy?! Don't leave us!! We put up with so much around here, don't take our good food away. We love you! When did you start feeling so unappreciated?! Give us another chance...(but moving to a better location locally is a good idea).

Oak Parker  

Posted: May 14th, 2011 4:38 AM

Jennifer, Cermak and 22nd are the same street?


Posted: May 13th, 2011 11:31 PM

I'm sure this was a tough call for Joel, I know both him and his landlord Bill Fitz and it had to be hard to pull the plug, I will sorely miss my Jambalaya. I hope that indeed he will consider a location closer to central OP like perhaps south blvd and OP ave. Thanks for the five years Joel!

Chris Koertge from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 13th, 2011 10:36 PM

That's such a cool building, Jennifer. I'd love to see it renovated and go to a productive use.


Posted: May 13th, 2011 10:35 PM

A vacant bank building at Cermak and 22nd has your name on it. It would have atmosphere, parking, room for banquet rooms, and live music as well. Think about it. My husband could help with this (seriously).

Chris Koertge from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 13th, 2011 10:27 PM

Sad, perhaps a bit surprised, to hear Wishbone is going. It was one of the better restaurant choices in the area.

Laura from OP from Oak Park  

Posted: May 13th, 2011 6:58 PM

Total bummer! I love this restaurant and have eaten there often. Please reconsider, Mr. Nickson!

Linda B from OP from Oak Park  

Posted: May 13th, 2011 6:31 PM

Say it isn't so! That's my family's favorite restaurant!

Marty J. Stempniak from Wednesday Journal  

Posted: May 13th, 2011 5:53 PM

@ Tim H. from Berwyn: That's a very good question. I'll circle back and ask Joel before the print version of the story comes out on Tuesday night. I looked back at my notes and I'm fairly certain that I didn't misquote him.


Posted: May 13th, 2011 5:17 PM

My wife and I would walk up there every weekend, and sometimes Mon/Tues during the week forgetting it was closed. It was a great addition to our neighborhood. Getting carry outs and sitting at the bar was awesome. Wishbone is head and shoulders above any place in Oak Park proper. It'll be missed.

Tim H. from Berwyn  

Posted: May 13th, 2011 5:05 PM

What was Joel Nickson talking about? They don't have weekday breakfast and lunch. Sounds like he was "feeding" Marty a line.

Kathy W from Oak Park  

Posted: May 13th, 2011 3:32 PM

This is so sad! That location was really tough. I've thought all along that they were one of the best in the OP area. Let's hope they'll keep their eyes open for a new space in OP/FP/RF.


Posted: May 13th, 2011 2:44 PM

Sad. I dined there often and always had excellent service. It will really be missed!

OP Guy  

Posted: May 13th, 2011 2:31 PM

Yes, come to Oak Park! I'm sure rent will be a little bit more, but there will also be significantly more foot traffic. Plus, a good portion of customers which frequented the old location will be close enough to the Oak Park location (many being Oak Parkers). Seems like a win win solution.

Teresa Powell  

Posted: May 13th, 2011 2:13 PM

I, too, enjoyed Wishbone and would love to see them consider Oak Park. Regarding construction on Roosevelt Road, the second and third (final) segments will be completed this year, and the new streetscape will be ready to enjoy.

Deb F from Oak Park  

Posted: May 13th, 2011 2:09 PM

NOOOOO! Please don't go! We'll eat there more often, I promise! Puleeeeze?

Dan Lauber from River Forest  

Posted: May 13th, 2011 1:55 PM

Darn! Sure glad we had Mother's Day dinner at Wishbone last week. The owners might want to try to get into the River Forest Town Centre or even downtown Oak Park (although I wouldn't be surprised if the rent is prohibitively expensive).

Lori Malinski  

Posted: May 13th, 2011 1:52 PM

Say it ain't so!

Julie from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 13th, 2011 1:42 PM

So disappointing! My family and I loved your place. I hope you're able to return to the area soon!

David from Oak Park  

Posted: May 13th, 2011 1:28 PM

Oh Joel, don't give up now... I KNOW Oak Park needs Wishbone, there's nothing else like it and you will do very well. Check out the corner of Oak Park and S. Blvd., and the future hotel at Forest and Lake St.

Donald Diressen from Berwyn   

Posted: May 13th, 2011 1:18 PM

Well, the food and service left allot to be desired.

Dave from Oak Park  

Posted: May 13th, 2011 1:13 PM

Best wishes with the next venture - hope you return soon!

Allyson from Oak Park  

Posted: May 13th, 2011 1:10 PM

Bummer! Reconsider! I didn't even know you were open for lunch!!! Every time I come to Wishbone, I have to wait in line! Come one, don't give up. ADVERTISE!

Geof from Oak Park  

Posted: May 13th, 2011 12:56 PM

Sorry to see you go. We've enjoyed a number of really good meals there. We'll definitely support another local location.


Posted: May 13th, 2011 12:49 PM

Come to forest park! Wishbone would be a great addition! How about building out the old tragedies bros?


Posted: May 13th, 2011 12:46 PM

What a loss!!! (and the amount of construction constantly being done on Roosevelt Road is completely RIDICULOUS!!!!) Joel - we will be first in line to eat at your new Oak-Park Wishbone location (hint, hint).

Mari from Oak Park  

Posted: May 13th, 2011 12:38 PM

What a bummer! We've enjoyed many a breakfast at Wishbone on the weekends. I'm really sad to see it go.

Oak Parker  

Posted: May 13th, 2011 12:29 PM

Rent too high? Not enough sales? Increasing the rent in the new lease? More detail please.....


Posted: May 13th, 2011 12:28 PM

totally bummed :(

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