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Posted on Thu, Jul 16, 2009 : 7:40 p.m.

Last call for Zanzibar

By David Bardallis

This door is now closed
Saturday, July 18, marked the last day of business for Zanzibar, the “Pan-Tropical” restaurant on 216 S. State St. known fondly since 1996 for its colorful murals, sprawling brunches, and signature cocktails.

Owing to a business environment he described as “lethal,” operating partner Dick Schubach said the cost of maintaining such a large space (Zanzibar has two floors as well as an outdoor area in the summer) finally overwhelmed sinking revenues.

“We have right now what I think is the best lunch menu we’ve ever had, but we’ve still seen a 50-percent decline in our lunchtime business in the last year,” he said.

Schubach and his partners, who also own Red Hawk Bar and Grill just down the street, explored the possibility of shrinking the restaurant’s space to save on long-term operating costs, but, he says, such a renovation would cost a lot up front and “no banks are lending to restaurants right now.”

Schubach added he and his partners were planning to open a coffee shop cum bistro by E. University and Willard, by the old Red Hot Lovers space, which is presently seeking a new home for its renowned Chicago-style hot dogs.

I confessed to Schubach it was really my fault Zanzibar was closing, as I didn’t eat there much (maybe twice in four years). But for those with fond memories of the place, here is a loving tribute from a former regular. To pay your respects, see Zanzibar’s Facebook page here.



Mon, Aug 17, 2009 : 3:23 p.m.

I love this sad that I went to check out the menu this weekend and noticed that it was "closed forever."

Ryan Munson

Sat, Jul 25, 2009 : 12:07 a.m.

Doh! I purchased a gift certificate to here during the late spring! I wonder if that can be redeemed?


Fri, Jul 24, 2009 : 7:51 p.m.

Haha thanks for the link! This is a true tragedy. I really loved that place :(

David Bardallis

Wed, Jul 22, 2009 : 1:28 p.m.

Dick Schubach said he didn't know what was going to happen with the space, though he also seemed to echo the idea that it could and maybe should be split up into two or three storefronts, FWIW.