Almost exactly a year after opening, Side Chick—Justin Sutherland’s Lyn-Lake fried-chicken restaurant—has closed. A hand-scrawled sign posted in the window earlier this week bears the news.
People were not happy about Side Chick when it opened last year, a rare misstep for celebrated chef Sutherland (Handsome Hog, Iron Chef, Fast Foodies, that season of Top Chef). Heavy Table, which also first noticed Side Chick’s online disappearance, did the heavy lifting in reporting on the controversy in June.
People were justifiably pissed about the branding, which “reaffirms that women can be marketed as pieces of meat and as objects, and not as whole human beings,” according to Melody Hoffmann, professor at Anoka-Ramsey Community College (and now editor of Southwest Voices). As a frequent visitor to the fourth-floor Hooters at the Mall of America, I politely nodded through the discourse.
Closing after a year is never a great sign, which probably means a majority sided with critics, or Sutherland and co. saw that their critics had a point, or some combination of the two. Side Chick’s Instagram account has disappeared, and their Facebook profile has been scrubbed of posts, with the same URL but a new name—Luna Uptown—and a bio that promises “New vibes coming soon 🌚”
(That little moon is a perfect emoji, isn’t it? Gotta think top five.)
And it looks like Sutherland is still involved—”Head Chef: Justin Sutherland,” per the updated Facebook bio. That guy loves keeping busy; in addition to Luna Uptown, he’ll soon open Noyes & Cutler steakhouse in Lowertown, and earlier this month the celeb chef debuted an egg sandwich shop called Big E in Portland, Oregon.
Racket’s two cents? Open a Big E in Uptown! We need more breakfast sandwich joints in the Twin Cities!
Update: Axios reports that Justin Sutherland will not be involved at the new Luna Uptown; he left in 2021, according to a spokesperson.