Celebrity chef Jeff Mauro’s Chicago-based barbecue sandwich shop chain, Pork & Mindy’s, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, according to bankruptcy forms filed on Nov. 5 with the Northern District Illinois United States Bankruptcy Court. The fast-casual, barbecue shop/sandwich joint has also closed all three of its Chicago-area locations, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The news happened less than a year after the PHI Holdings-owned restaurant brand announced a March 2019 deal with Kroger Co.-owned Roundy’s Supermarkets Inc. that would have opened 28 more locations inside Mariano’s grocery stores.
When Mauro opened the first Pork & Mindy’s in 2016 in Bucktown, Ill., the “Sandwich King” host had plans of international expansion for the “creative barbecue” concept with a menu of mainly pork-based “sangwiches,” salads and tater tot dishes.
The partnership with Mariano’s, the popular Chicago supermarket chain, was originally supposed to be a growth vehicle for Pork & Mindy’s, which at the time had goals of expanding to 30 locations by 2020.
But that all changed in August when Mauro closed the flagship Pork & Mindy’s location, the first sign of trouble for the apparently struggling chain. Mauro said at the time that the space would be converted into a delivery-only restaurant, private event space,and training headquarters called QU, according to Eater Chicago. QU would act as a barbecue university for Pork & Mindy’s team members and creative space, but would not be open to the public.
According to the bankruptcy filing, the company’s assets and liabilities are worth between $1-$10 million, and one of the top creditors associated with the case is the NFL football team the Chicago Bears. In 2017, Pork & Mindy’s had partnered with the Chicago Bears to sell its candied bacon product “Pig Candy” as a concession at the team’s football games.
An initial hearing to hear the bankruptcy case was held on Nov. 12.
The website and social media pages for Pork & Mindy’s are still up and running — with no signs of closure announcements — but the phone numbers for the restaurants appear to have been disconnected.
Representatives from Pork & Mindy’s did not respond to request for comment.