College kids are noisy. Drunk people are noisy. Trains are noisy. Chicago is a humongous, noisy city. If you happen to live in Chicago, a short walk away from a major university, in a part of town that is popular for drinking (and in a town whose residents drink more aggressively than Mad Max characters drive and play guitar, no less), and your place is right next to the L train, then you should probably expect noise. A lot of noise. If there happens to be a late night eatery within your immediate vicinity as well, then maybe expect a little bit of extra noise on top of that.
And if you do happen to live in an area such as this, you should deal with that noise, because chances are you weren’t kidnapped from your quiet country residence, driven into the middle of the city in a windowless van, thrown into an empty apartment, confronted by an insane landlord who put a gun against your head and a lease in front of your face, and told, “Sign this lease and live here for a full 12 months or I WILL KILL YOU AND YOUR WHOLE FAMILY! Oh and the info for utilities is on the kitchen counter.” Nope, chances are you probably chose to live in this area of your own free will. The worst case scenario, most likely, is that maybe you didn’t do enough research on what exactly surrounded your potential residence before moving in. If that’s the case, you’re just stupid, and that’s on you, not the people and businesses who were already existing around you.
All that makes sense, right? Seems reasonable, yeah? LOL TOO BAD! GTFO WITH YOUR REASON! THIS STORY IS ABOUT PEOPLE COMPLAINING, YOU FOOLS! There is no common sense here.
And, indeed, none of that is reasonable to residents of Lincoln Park who live near beloved DePaul University late night food spot Devil Dawgs on Sheffield. They are sick and tired of all the damn noise caused by the post-bars Devil Dawgs crowd (which originally closed at 3:00 a.m.). The rest of the roaring, incoherent urban symphony? No big deal. But some drunk kids eating and laying terrible, slurred game on each other? That is too much for certain residents, who do not see any irony in the fact that, considering where they live and what else surrounds them, they’re essentially complaining about somebody blasting an air horn during a metal concert.
This summer [Devil Dawgs owner Alan] Katz changed his closing time from 3 a.m. to 11 p.m. due to an ongoing dispute with neighbors. They argue the restaurant’s late-night crowd, including intoxicated DePaul University students and other 20-somethings, was too noisy and that they left garbage everywhere, which led to cleanliness and security issues, among other concerns.
The garbage concerns I legitimately understand, to an extent. Nobody wants to wake up to wrappers, half eaten hot dogs and sliders, and empty cans of Miller littered all down their block. (Now that the restaurant closes at 11 it’ll just be the cans of Miller! Problem solved!) So yes, the restaurant could certainly attempt to do a better job of trying to police that. So maybe the Devil Dawgs neighbors could reach a compromise with the restaurant? Maybe they could say something like, “You make extra sure to clean up the garbage and we’ll lay off on the noise complaints because, oh shit, we forgot we already lived inside of the sound equivalent of a dryer full of coins and rocks and an actual screaming drunk guy?”
Nope to that as well, unfortunately. The neighbors are pretty insistent that Devil Dawgs close at 11:00 p.m. so they can fall asleep in peace to the sounds of rickety, speeding metal tubes and some random mid-20s girl who works in PR or something barfing in their gutter.
The noise complaints neighborhood residents have with Devil Dawgs also may be unfounded. According to one former DePaul student who used to live a mere two houses down from Devil Dawgs, the restaurant crowd is by no means the neighborhood’s worst noise pollution. Far from it, in fact.
“Just about everything else in the neighborhood of Lincoln Park (including the L) is louder than the crowds at DD.” He added, “It’s fucking Chicago. Get used to it.”
At least the neighbors don’t want the restaurant to fail. They just don’t want to allow it to succeed. There’s a huge difference, you guys.
“The picnic tables don’t fit in this neighborhood. When they’re there, people will come out of bars and come around the corner and hang out there. They sit on the curb,” he said.
“I’m absolutely in support and sympathetic to anyone who wants to sustain a worthwhile business, but the noise and the pollution and the security hazard is beyond description. I can’t even fathom [how] the neighbors directly across the street [feel.]”
Yeah there’s really nothing more important than aesthetics, especially in a neighborhood I personally have never, ever been sober in during my visits to Chicago. But don’t worry, Devil Dawgs owner. Yes the neighbors have their demands, but they are sympathetic. That helps, right?
“It’s basically ruining me. Now that we’re closing at 11 p.m., there’s nothing happening there. There [are] no crowds. The kids are in the bars and the bars don’t close until 2 a.m.,” he said of his restaurant, which is referred to as a “late-night staple” on Yelp.
While he said he’d comply with the neighbors’ requests, he also said closing early is causing him to lose about $12,000 a month.
The owner of Devil Dawgs said he would like to reach an agreement that would allow his restaurant to stay open until 2:00 a.m., which he hopes to accomplish by next spring.
In the meantime, if you’re wandering around 2147 N. Sheffield Ave. in Chicago, Illinois between Midnight and 3:00 a.m. in the near future, be sure to scream at the top of your lungs, “WHERE THE FUCK ARE THE HOT DOGS?!? ALL I WANT IS A GOD DAMN HOT DOG!” Then bang some trash can lids together, howl like a wolf, and run off..