A ‘pause’ not full stop for District Kitchen

Update: After announcing District Kitchen and Tap would be closing, Patrick O’Brien back peddled on April 14. Operations at District Kitchen and Tap, 220 Harrison St., Oak Park, are “paused” indefinitely, but O’Brien anticipates he will reopen his restaurant in the Harrison Street Arts District at some point.

“We did have an interested party and we entertained the idea of selling, but I misread an email,” said O’Brien. “With the patio opening and vaccines we decided to recoup some of our losses over the summer.”

Though O’Brien spoke too soon, the challenges facing District Kitchen and Tap remain unique. Communal tables, shared plates and live music made the restaurant a community gathering place pre-COVID. These same aspects of District Kitchen and Tap’s business model have caused the restaurant to suffer throughout the pandemic compared to other Scratch Restaurant Group establishments and O’Brien anticipates they will not be as appealing as they once were post-pandemic.

“We are probably going to remove the stage, rearrange the seating and redesign the menu,” said O’Brien. “All of this will take time and money. We are in line for a grant, but this isn’t a fun place to be.”

–Melissa Elsmo, Oak Park Eats Editor

credit: Emma Elsmo

The orginal article appears below:

District Kitchen and Tap, 220 Harrison St. in Oak Park, has permanently closed. Patrick O’Brien, chef-owner of Scratch Restaurant Group announced April 10 would be the final day of service at the Harrison Street Arts district restaurant.

O’Brien continues to helm Scratch on Lake in Oak Park as well as Scratch Kitchen and Lathrop House Café in Forest Park. While he was proud of District Kitchen and Tap’s two-year run, he admits the restaurant, known for communal dining and live music, suffered more than his other establishments through the pandemic.

“We had intended on staying but were approached by a motivated buyer with a great concept and a great fit for the neighborhood.”

O’Brien was clear he is not looking for sympathy and expressed excitement about his new cafe and event space. He also teased the expansion of the Scratch brand in the future. 

Details are not yet available regarding the incoming business.

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