The latest chapter in the wild tale of the Pie Hole Pizza Joint went down Jan. 18, when officials from the City of Chicago arrived at the Lakeview restaurant at about 5:30 p.m. It reopened Jan. 23 at 5 p.m.
Pie Hole owner Doug Brandt texted Windy City Times the morning of Jan. 23 that the business was reopening. The publication later confirmed the time with him.
On Jan. 18, authorities stuck a bright orange sticker on the door, closing the pizzeria immediately due to financial woes Pie Hole owner Doug Brandt has battled for about a year.
Last winter, "I got behind paying the sales tax," Brandt said.
So fees and penalties were imposed, and they kept accumulating.
At one point in 2011, Brandt was six months behind in paying, he said.
"The only reason I was late was, well, I hate to blame the economy, but it just hasn't been easy; things are always slower in the winter," Brandt said.
Brandt's tardiness paying state tax impacted his $600 city license, since the city does not renew a business that is delinquent or even late in paying.
"I can't really say I was surprised. I guess it was inevitable, eventually," Brandt said.
Brandt would not say exactly how much he owes, but said the total is enough to buy "a nice used car."
Brandt spent Jan. 23 going to multiple city and state offices in downtown Chicago to repay all that he owes. The business reopened later that same day.
"It's been a colossal headache," Brandt said.
Brandt had left Pie Hole about 10 minutes before city officials had arrived. Employees at the restaurant sent Brandt a text about who had shown upand he immediately returned.
Brandt, 40, lives in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. He said there are nine employees at Pie Hole, all part-time.
Pie Hole is one of several businesses impacted by the economy within Chicago's LGBT neighborhood, with numerous bars and restaurants closing. Examples include Cocktail and Firefly, while Ful posted a sign on its door that it was "in hibernation" for the winter. However, as of Jan. 24, there was a 'For Sale' sign at the restaurant..
Pie Hole opened at its current location Oct. 1, 2010, after closing at Roscoe and Halsted in May 2010.