Update (October 2, 2009 @ 9:22am): We got an e-mail from Club Lago letting us know that things are back to normal and there's going to be a grand re-opening party. Check this blog post for details.
It's been almost a year since the first time I stumbled across Club Lago (331 West Superior Street) in River North. The eatery was a great find -- basic Italian food served by people who seem to enjoy their jobs to people who live and work in the area. A true neighborhood joint.
You may have noticed the word "was" in there. That's because this past March, the place was destroyed. Photos posted in the windows of the building document the carnage.
Here's the summary from one of the bigger ones:
"On March 18 just after 7 am, the chimney of the neighbor's building exploded. Collapsed masonry fell on the parking lot, alley, and Club Lago. The damage is extreme: at the very least our roof, second floor, and kitchen are destroyed. The Fire Department arrived to find an empty restaurant. The chef arrived late that morning; no one was hurt. But for the first time in our history, Club Lago is closed for business."
I've been out of town most of this month and last, so I haven't had a chance to check on the recovery process, but these pictures are from August and a peek inside showed there was still quite a lot of work to be done.
If you're nearby, pop over. And if the place looks like it's open, have a drink and some pasta. You'll be glad you did. Any place that has its customers writing sweet nothings on the door after its destruction must be special.