via Pork and Mindy's

For months, local food lovers have been looking at the newspaper-covered windows at 7528 North Ave in Elmwood Park anticipating the opening of Pork and Mindy’s — the lively BBQ chain helmed by Jeff Mauro of Food Network. 

According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Pork and Mindy’s filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection early in November and all locations have been closed.

Pork and Mindy’s, established in 2016, had been steadily growing its Chicagoland locations over the years. In addition to establishing an Elmwood Park location, the pork-focused restaurant was in the process of opening dozens of small eateries in Mariano’s grocery stores at the time of filing.

While the sandwich-loving celebrity chef appeared comfortable building a restaurant empire, the OPRF graduate and current River Forest resident, took his hometown debut seriously.

Mauro spoke candidly to Oak Park Eats in April about his desire to make the Elmwood Park location the flagship Pork and Mindy’s location.

Oak Park Eats reached out to Mauro for comment, and he responded via email while traveling back to the United States from a classified location in the Middle East, where he was cooking and entertaining the troops last weekend.

“For the last four years, I have supported Pork and Mindy’s as the brand ambassador,” Mauro wrote. “It was a great consumer brand however, it had its challenges in the restaurant operations side of the business. I am saddened to see the direction of the company. However, I am moving forward with many other great things on the horizon.”

“I’m knee deep writing and shooting my first cookbook, more TV projects in the horizon, ‘Thanksgiving Live,’ a lead talent on the new Food Network Kitchen App, many more seasons of ‘The Kitchen’ and a new line of products. I’m also planning on some food truck pop-ups in the very near future to just get back in the kitchen and slang some sandwiches that are near and dear to me.”

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