A Boston Firm Is Pretending to Be a Fundraiser for Chicago Eating places


A Boston-based company operating under the guise of “Purely Chicago” has bought the domain name helpchicagorestaurants.com to sell t-shirts with art, slices of deep-dish pizza, and a baseball pennant in blue and green blue Chicago Cubs contain red motif. The company has used targeted ads on Facebook that users link to the site, claiming that “all profits from each shirt will be donated to a specific fund that the Illinois Restaurant Association put together for this fundraiser.”

However, an IRA representative told Eater Chicago that this had nothing to do with the fundraiser or the Purely Chicago group and that they were now “taking the appropriate steps to remove their business in any way.”

Since the spring of 2020, hundreds of restaurants and bars across the country have sought help from the public as these venues try to stay viable and pay workers during the pandemic. The donations have helped restaurants with government-mandated pandemic shutdowns. However, not all donation requests are what they seem

The Purely Chicago brand dates back to a sports website called Purely Boston, which set up a similar t-shirt fundraiser in New England for the Massachusetts Restaurant Association. The association confirms that it is aware of the fundraising campaign listed on helpmassrestaurants.com. On this website, company owner Jonathan Holden posted a note encouraging Bostonians to buy shirts: “If you’re reading this, you are probably a Dunkin ‘Drinkin’ Wicked Pissah Bostonian who loves his hometown’s roots and community.”

On the Chicago website, the note appears with a streamlined line: “If you’re reading this, you are probably a deep dish I am eating. I hate the cold Chicagoer who loves the roots and the community of his hometown. “

Both shirt designs are from a Boston artist. A message to Purely Boston asking for comment was not returned immediately.

And in other news …

– Supporters of Lou Malnati’s, the popular deep-dish pizza chain made famous by the Netflix show Emily in Paris, are considering a sale of the company, Bloomberg News reported on Friday. The company could be worth up to $ 700 million, an unnamed source told Bloomberg reporters. Founded in 1971, the company now operates more than 50 locations and ships items directly to consumers.

Fast-casual Roti is closing six of its Illinois locations as part of a major downsizing. The chain recently opened larger stores in places like Lincoln Park that invite customers to linger. However, the downtown location has not performed as well as office workers continue to work from home during the pandemic. The grandstand has details.

Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema laments his brothers’ losses in Chicago in a story about how the departures of former bleacher critic Phil Vettel and Steve Dolinsky of ABC 7 Chicago will affect the city’s national standing. The story avoids the trap of reducing Chicago’s restaurant scene to deep dish pizza (a common habit of national releases), but it also fails to take into account the impact of the Alden Capital Group appearing above the stands like the Death Star. However, there could be good news on that front thanks to a new offer to buy the paper. One note, Mr. Sietsema, it’s Eater Chicago, not Chicago Eater.