Upcoming Restaurants at Lake View’s Southport Lanes

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The former Southport Lanes in Lake View will house three dining concepts operated by Boka Restaurant Group.

Chicago-based Boka confirmed Tuesday that it will open the restaurants next summer in the building at 3325 N. Southport Avenue. Boka leased the property from Steve Soble, who closed the more than 100-year-old Southport lanes in September 2020 due to the pandemic and chose not to reopen.

Boka, confirming a report from Chicago eater, said one of the new restaurants will be GG’s Chicken Shop, a business run by chef/partner Lee Wolen. A spokeswoman said Boka would release details of the other restaurants in the space in early 2022.

GG’s Chicken Shop started life as a “ghost kitchen,” a pandemic-only delivery service. It operated out of Boka’s namesake restaurant in Lincoln Park. Since then, the company has shifted its focus to indoor dining. “We really want to be a family forward where you can get a fried chicken sandwich for the kids and a four-sided roast chicken,” Wolen told Eater Chicago.

Southport Lanes was a bowling alley-restaurant-bar which, in the early 1900s, was a tavern linked to the Schlitz brewery. The neighborhood’s longtime hangout has repeatedly been a brothel, speakeasy, and gambling den.

Soble auctioned its memorabilia and décor last summer, but the Schlitz insignia on the building remains.

He closed the business despite securing federal and state aid to help him through the pandemic. Records show he got a canceled loan of $200,400 from the Payroll Protection Program, as well as a state grant of $70,000. PPP rules allowed loans to be forgiven if the company used most payroll proceeds and other qualifying expenses.

Soble owns the Seven Ten Social bowling alley and restaurant in Hyde Park.

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