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Goodbye, Shiroi Hana

Goodbye, Shiroi Hana.  For people in the know, Shiroi Hana was this long-running and fairly cheap sushi and Japanese restaurant near Clark & Belmont.  It held a dear place in my heart since I had gone there off and on since the early 1990s.  Back then, you had to search for a place that had sushi and most restaurants were super elite and way out of my price range.  Myself and some adventurous friends were willing to keep an open mind about raw fish and sushi in general, and we found the Hana next to Chicago Comics.  I told my mom I ate sushi back then and she nearly had a stroke.  (“You ate WHAT??”)  Most people usually reacted with the sort of slow horror at such a revelation back then, like you told them you ate live lizards or cow eyeballs dusted in heroin.  Helpful friends would offer insights into how bad your potential food poisoning would be and voice hope that you would not see the inside of an emergency room from your sushi dinner.

The sushi would often be kind of crooked, and sometimes the sushi chef was Mexican, but I was never too picky.  The food tasted good but sometimes looked a little janky, the service was always friendly and the price was in my perpetual poverty range.  It’s not like I could do any better myself -what did I know about Japanese cuisine?- so I was loathe to criticize.  Shiroi Hana was a stopping off point for shows at the Vic, bars and clubs in the area, and the occasional scamper around retail shops in the area, including Ye Olde Alley and Chicago Comics.  They were often open later than most restaurants providing much needed nocturnal dinners on urban outings.  Now after a decade and a half, the comforting familiarity of seeing the sign still on is gone.

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Categories: Chicago
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