Tony Hu’s Mag Mile restaurant files for bankruptcy
Restaurateur’s fails to make his Northbridge mall location work
There’s little good fortune at the North Bridge mall.
Tony Hu’s Lao Sze Chuan has filed for bankruptcy claim at its 520 North Michigan Avenue, where it’s been renting space since 2014, Crain’s reported.
The bankruptcy case also poses problems for building owner Alaska Permanent Fund, which acquired Macerich’s 50 percent stake last year. Alaska’s $21 million purchase was far less than the $515 the joint venture paid in 2008 — a sign that the owner is underwater on the $375 million mortgage.
Very few details have been revealed from the Lao Sze Chuan bankruptcy filing, but it lists a disputed claim of $1.37 million from the restaurant’s landlord. The Chinese restaurant had a net loss of nearly $353,000 in 2021, according to court documents.
Hu has been at the center of controversy for years now. In 2016, he pleaded guilty to tax fraud, claiming that he hid more than $1 million in sales taxes to state and local governments. He was sentenced to one year in prison for the crime.
A person named Yujia Hu signed the filing and identified as the owner of the Lao Sze Chuan. Yet, a company employee who answered the phone when the outlet requested comment said Hu was the owner.
Restaurants in Chicago’s commercial real estate scene have shown some signs of recovery since last year. Nearly 300 hundred restaurants had closed by the end of 2021 as the pandemic pummeled the service industry.
Restaurateur George Archos, who also owns the $1 billion cannabis company Verano, recently put his faith in the Mag Maile by taking over the 7,000-square-foot former Bandera restaurant and jazz venue at 535 North Michigan Avenue to open Evie Grill.
In addition, the upscale Signature Room at 875 North Michigan Avenue just hit the market, which will serve as a test for the neighborhood and the city’s restaurant market.