Tim Chladek doesn’t have many regrets, but opening a restaurant in the midst of the pandemic is one.
Last week, the co-owner of Etc. Eatery permanently closed the eatery at 1472 S. Pearl St. in Platt Park.
“The hardest challenge was the inconsistency from every angle, whether that’s product availability, labor pool, pricing or sales,” Chladek said. “It made it financially difficult to plan for.”
The restaurant billed its menu as multicultural comfort food, serving dishes such as chicken shawarma, shrimp and grits, Mexican street corn and banh mi sandwiches. The interior aimed for a sense of nostalgia, decorated with what Chladek called “modern relics” like denim booths, deflated balloons, and tiles made from old skateboard decks.
“If we’d opened any other time, we would have been very successful,” Chladek said. “Every new restaurant has new struggles, but we had 10 times as many after opening during the pandemic.”
The business still has 12 years left on their lease for the 2,700-square-foot building. Chladek said he and his partner put the lease and assets on the market this week.
For now, Chladek said he’s going to take a break from the restaurant industry.
“I wouldn’t take anything back because we gave it our all, but I wish I could have sustained a successful restaurant,” he said.