The Depot American Diner Goes on Hiatus

City of Chicago inspectors shutter a West Side breakfast favorite.

Looking for some comfort food?

Stay away from the Depot, at least for another week.

The Depot American Diner, owned by a pair of Oak Park residents, has shut down temporarily after a handful of health code violations were reported there, according to Wednesday Journal.

The restaurant, 5840 W. Roosevelt Road in Chicago's Island neighborhood, is a favorite among West Siders for its wide range of comfort food, from the famous pot roast sandwich and fried chicken to the homemade donut treats and chocolate egg cream drinks. Those are just some of the offerings that lured Food Network personality Guy Fieri to the restaurant for a segment on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in 2009. (He tried the red beans and rice, a steak hoagie and the pot roast sandwich.)

Co-owner Anna Marie Nava told WJ that city inspectors threw the book at the restaurant for small infractions like torn booths, busted tiles and loose door hinges. The restaurant was also cited for keeping its coolers two degrees warmer than what's allowed — a hiccup she said was caused by inspectors rooting around the cooler. Records show they've passed follow-up health inspections after failing a July 2011 inspection for violations like poor temperature logs, greasy kitchen equipment and a "pink and black slimy substance" in the ice machine. Follow the link to see the complete reports.

The owners closed shop to make the necessary repairs, and the Depot is expected to re-open "at the beginning of April," according to an answering machine at the restaurant.

Tom Burke April 06, 2012 at 04:57 PM
The owners have neglected the Depot for years. The torn furniture makes it look like a dump. Too bad they didn't have enough sense to fix it up themselves. It was a great concept and the food is fine - but who wants to eat in a dump?
Judith April 07, 2012 at 01:00 AM
"Handful" as you state is much different than "myriad" as in the story you link to. Also the article you link to has the owner saying that the cooler was off due to the workers and yours incorrectly says the Inspector caused it. If critical violations can be fixed while the inspector is there in the city, they won't close you down. Very seldom does a restaurant have to close for weeks. You also might want to take a look at the database of inspections before writing such a sympathic article. The Diner failed an inspection in July 2011 with some of the very issues mentioned here. Food temperatures in the 50s or too low a temp for hot foods (122 instead of 140), slime in the ice machine, the booth seats were already listed in July, door gaskets worn on the freezer, filthy with grease and food debris in many areas, etc, etc. None of this should have come as a surprise or thinking the health inspector was from "hell". https://data.cityofchicago.org/Health-Human-Services/Food-Inspections/4ijn-s7e5, .
Casey Cora April 07, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Thanks, Judith. "Myriad" vs. "handful" is semantics, I suppose. According to the article, (2012 health code inspection records aren't online yet and I haven't reached the city's health department yet) there were eight violations. To me, that's a handful. Or myriad. Also according to the article, the cooler was "off by two degrees" not off entirely. And you're absolutely correct that the restaurant failed a health inspection in July 2011. But if I'm reading those records correctly, it looks like the Depot failed an inspection on July 14 2011, then fixed the serious violations and passed two subsequent inspections. I'll clarify that in the story above. Thanks again for your comments. We always welcome the feedback.


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