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Two Dining Landmarks in Chicago: Last Call

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It's last call at two fine dining landmarks in downtown Chicago, the 90-year-old Don Roth's Blackhawk and the 32-year-old Nick's Fishmarket.

According to reports in Chicago newspapers, the Blackhawk, famous for warm hospitality, great service, steaks, seafood and its "spinning salad bowl," will close the downtown location at the end of the year, but will keep the northwest suburban location in Wheeling open. It has been at the same downtown location for 40 years.

Nick's Fishmarket has already shuttered its Loop locale, leaving its suburban Rosemont outpost to carry on the venerable name.

Both restaurants were upscale, old fashioned dining rooms popular with business diners, renowned for quality food, and polished professional servers.

Roth's Widow, Ann, said in a statement quoted in the Chicago Tribune "I come to this meeting ... with mixed emotions and heavy heart. It became crystal clear, that with my pushing 90 and with none of my children choosing to run the business, that 40 great years here were really quite enough for me."

In the Chicago Sun-Times, Nick's owner Lee Suckow said business was down 30% this year. The space, leased from Chase Bank, was too expensive and he could not negotiate a discount. "I don't see fine dining coming back until 2011," Suckow said.

One wonders if the prime locations will be filled by pizza parlors or sandwich shops.

Tell us about your memories of these two fading icons.

Craig "Meathead" Goldwyn publishes AmazingRibs.com.