Chicago, IL —
Following an abrupt closing by the City of Chicago, Pie Hole Pizza Joint
, 3477 N. Broadway, announced it will reopen at 5 p.m. on Mon., January 23.
"The support was overwhelming," said Doug Brandt, owner. "The comments and concern from friends, family, fans, followers really drove us to get this place back open as quickly as possible.
As ChicagoPride.com first reported
Thursday, the popular Boystown eatery was closed by the city for for operating without the required $600 business license.
Brandt confirms that he was able to raise the needed funds privately to settle the outstanding debt and get the business license re-issued.
He credited online support from the community for the quick response and reopening. "It came together much faster than I could ever have hoped, but really, the best part was being able to print out pages and pages and pages of comments and show [the investors] all the love people had for us online. All those amazing comments pretty much closed the deal," he said.
License and permit charges from the city are part of what drove the restaurant to close, including fines of $750 every month for operating without the $600 city license, as well as other fees on both the municipal and state level. The sluggish economy also seemed to play a part in the struggling business's surprising shutdown, something Brandt still sees an issue.
"We're not out of the water yet," said Brandt. "The best way to help small businesses – whether it be Pie Hole or any of the many other struggling businesses – is to simply buy from them. The best way to help now is to stop in and order a pizza or buy a gift card from us."
Brandt has been a strong business leader in Chicago's LGBT community, including collecting canned goods for the Lakeview Pantry and other numerous charitable activities. It seems the community is doing its best to give back now that his business is in need. After all, the neighborhood just couldn't allow this favorite late-night food spot to stay closed for long.