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Acclaimed West Loop restaurant Yūgen to close as chef leaves the business

Mari Katsumura is “taking time to focus on personal needs.”

Duck à l’Orange at Yūgen, scheduled to close next week.
Madison Olszewski

Another acclaimed Chicago restaurant is shutting down, and this time, management is assigning no blame to the coronavirus.

Yūgen, a contemporary Japanese restaurant in the West Loop, will serve its last meal on May 29, its team announced, adding that chef Mari Katsumura has decided to step away from the culinary industry.

The announcement said Katsumura, daughter of the late Yoshi’s Cafe chef Yoshi Katsumura, “will be taking time to focus on personal needs, which the executive team wholeheartedly supports.”

Yūgen debuted in November 2018 in the space formerly occupied by the much-lauded Grace at 652 W. Randolph St. Through most of its two-and-a-half-year run, Katsumura’s restaurant held a Michelin star, earning its latest just last month.

“Its entrance is unassuming, but one step inside this vast arena — punctuated by natural hues, abstract art, and luxuriously spaced tables — and you’ll find yourself enveloped in elegance,” the Michelin judges wrote. “The best seats in the house are those with views of the open kitchen, where Chef Mari Katsumura and her team can be seen preparing and delivering thoughtfully composed meals.”

The Yūgen executive team says it is working on creating a replacement restaurant.