Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Nouveau Tavern Makes Racial Claims Against Chicago Police Dept.; Says They Were 'Shut Down' Because Owners Are Black

Nouveau Tavern's intimate interior (Photo: Nouveau Tavern)

The New Orleans-inspired Nouveau Tavern opened in River North only six months ago, yet it was abruptly shuttered last Friday by the Chicago Police Department, according to Eater Chicago:

"Sources say that current Nouveau ownership is ineligible for a liquor license because of a felony conviction and the establishment was operating under previous ownership's expired licensing. Police responded to a complaint last week which lead to an investigation and the subsequent closure."

NT consultant Teddy Gilmore—who admits to a tax evasion felony conviction from the late 1990s—tells 312DD that the restaurant's partners do not have felony records. He adds that Nouveau, which re-opened Monday, is being unfairly targeted because the neighbors and police do not want an influx of African Americans frequenting the neighborhood.

Additionally, partner Marsette Magnum released a full statement regarding the situation exclusively to 312DD:

"WE ARE OPEN FOR BUSINESS! At some point we have to be judged on the quality of our food and not the color of our skin! On the evening of April 11, Nouveau Tavern was arbitrarily and unreasonably shut down by the Chicago Police Department due to an apparent misunderstanding about the details related to various license renewals.

"A simple form was completed Monday morning...and Nouveau Tavern was re-opened. It is our firm belief that Nouveau Tavern is being targeted for racial reasons. The tactics used were harsh and unnecessary. No other business would have been treated this way.

"African Americans aren't welcomed in River North....Chicago is one of the most racially divided cities in America. Everyone that lives in Chicago.... knows its two Chicagos! We have a right to be in River North! We've built a world-class establishment. We have great cuisine with great service.

"Race shouldn't be an issue, but unfortunately in Chicago, it is. Please understand that this is bigger than just a license. This is genocide....the extermination of an African American Business in River North. Nouveau Tavern will rise to challenge and continue to strive for excellence in Chicago. The proper and correct processes have been followed for all the City of Chicago licenses."


Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the same tactics used to keep All Jokes Aside out of River North too. Refer to the documentary, "Phunny Business" for the full story there.

312 Dining Diva said...

^^ I am so happy you brought up All Jokes Aside. A similar issue and didn't last long after they were denied a liquor license. I don't even think they were allowed BYOB, which would be awfully strange for a comedy club. That "two drink minimum" is how those places rack up the $$$!

Anonymous said...

So are they open for business?