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Closing of an institution - Biggs

Closing of an institution - Biggs
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  • Closing of an institution - Biggs

    Post #1 - July 30th, 2004, 8:33 pm
    Post #1 - July 30th, 2004, 8:33 pm Post #1 - July 30th, 2004, 8:33 pm
    Walking home this evening I noticed that there is a "for rent" sign on the mansion that was Biggs - and that the Biggs name on the canopy has been removed.

    While I am not surprised, as it had not seemed very crowded for many years now, it is the end of an era, and a space that deserves a truly excellent and capable restaurant.

    Anyone know exactly why they closed? Or what might go into the very large building now vacant?

    Shannon
  • Post #2 - July 30th, 2004, 9:50 pm
    Post #2 - July 30th, 2004, 9:50 pm Post #2 - July 30th, 2004, 9:50 pm
    Shannon,

    I've never been inside Bigg's, but during the late 70s, the Wife and I managed a half-way house in a brownstone right across the street. I was an impoverised college professor at the time, so Bigg's was way out of my league, but on many a cool summer night, I'd sit on the stoop with a posse of schizophrenics and manic-depressives, and watch well-coifed and well-fed patrons walk to their cars under the big canopy.

    My impression of the place was that it was more about atmopsherics than cuisine, but I could be wrong. Like I said, never been in.

    Hammond
  • Post #3 - August 2nd, 2004, 12:07 pm
    Post #3 - August 2nd, 2004, 12:07 pm Post #3 - August 2nd, 2004, 12:07 pm
    There was local media coverage several weeks back of a rent dispute between the building's owner and the operators of Biggs. Ultimately the owner was succesful in evicting the operators from the property because they had not paid the rent in several months.
  • Post #4 - August 2nd, 2004, 3:44 pm
    Post #4 - August 2nd, 2004, 3:44 pm Post #4 - August 2nd, 2004, 3:44 pm
    It had become a steak house the last few years, right? As opposed to the Continental cuisine they used to serve.

    When I used to dine out regualrly with my Grandma in that neighborhood we went to Biggs once or twice, but their specialty always seemed to be ostentation, rather than food. The original Chez Paul, in a similar building a short distance away, always had much better food, IMO (and the one in Rolling Meadows was also pretty decent back in the 80's), but I think it closed years ago. I suppose that is because it cost more to make good food than to just sell ostentation. The very name, Biggs, is sort of a caricature, isn't it?

    Based on some experiences in the 70's and 80's, I will not miss Biggs at all. If they have done better work since then, I have not heard about it, and I think they focused on the convention trade.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #5 - August 2nd, 2004, 4:10 pm
    Post #5 - August 2nd, 2004, 4:10 pm Post #5 - August 2nd, 2004, 4:10 pm
    The most recent incarnation of Biggs was literally a "take the money and run" type of operation geared to the tourist trade. I had a dinner there when they first opened as a steak joint as part of a Chamber of Commerece event I was attending. It was not memorable in any way.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #6 - August 2nd, 2004, 4:39 pm
    Post #6 - August 2nd, 2004, 4:39 pm Post #6 - August 2nd, 2004, 4:39 pm
    I went to Bigg's once in the 70s, and my recollection is that it was very similar at that time to The Bakery with a prix fix menu and perhaps only a few selections. Very "clubby" inside, similar to Les Nomades in atmosphere but far more simple in food and presentation. Kind of a classic midcentury haute cuisine Continental restaurant, although it's been some time, I think, that any of its pretension has been justified.
  • Post #7 - August 2nd, 2004, 6:16 pm
    Post #7 - August 2nd, 2004, 6:16 pm Post #7 - August 2nd, 2004, 6:16 pm
    Every time I walked by Biggs, I wondered if it was the restaurant known as Chez Quis in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, or if it was Chez Paul. Anyone know?

    Chitrader
  • Post #8 - August 2nd, 2004, 6:58 pm
    Post #8 - August 2nd, 2004, 6:58 pm Post #8 - August 2nd, 2004, 6:58 pm
    Every time I walked by Biggs, I wondered if it was the restaurant known as Chez Quis in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, or if it was Chez Paul. Anyone know?


    Yes, that was Chez Paul, which has since been turned into a law office.

    Another interesting anecdote is that for the scene when Ferris and company pick up a cab in front of the restaurant, they re-routed Rush Street to run north to south instead of its usual south to north. But I digress...

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