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Restaurant News: Moderno, Park 52 Both Closing

By Anthony Todd in Food on Dec 22, 2012 7:00PM

The custom sausages at Markethouse.

It's not a great day for restaurant news, frankly. Let's get to it.

- That didn't take long. Moderno, John Des Rosiers new Highland Park restaurant that we visited when it opened in May, has already closed. Were the burbs not ready for the high-end Italian it served? Was the quality inconsistent? Des Rosiers clearly thinks the former, as he said in a statement yesterday. "We built a great restaurant. It wasn’t the right place and the right time for Moderno but we’ve got a lot in store for the future." The restaurant space isn't going away, though; Rocye, a "chef-driven casual restaurant" (code for: we don't quite know what this is yet) that sounds like it may pander better to the neighborhood: burgers, wedge salad, french onion soup and shrimp cocktail will be on the menu.

- Park 52 is closing. Eater Chicago reported Thursday afternoon that the restaurant, one of the last of the Jerry Kleiner empire, was finally giving up the ghost on January 9, 2013. The restaurant opened as a comfort food hotspot meant to provide an upscale option in Hyde Park, but it never quite took off. No word yet on what will go into the space, but Hyde Park is scheduled to get a ton of new dining options in 2013. If they do well, we can't imagine the location will stay empty for long.

- Chef Scott Walton is leaving Markethouse. Markethouse has always been a strange restaurant for us; Walton constantly did amazing things (great rooftop garden, amazing retail sausage program) but due to a combination of the location, the incredibly generic name and the blah decor, no one ever seemed to notice. He posted to Facebook earlier in the week that he is "moving on to bigger and better things, a new challenge. A great challenge. New opening early Spring." No details yet, but we'd keep an eye on him.