Chicago Restaurant News
One of Chicago's most beloved and romantic restaurants ushers in a new era on Oak Street. The French-Vietnamese boîte Le Colonial has planted roots at 57 East Oak Street, a ritzy strip dotted with high-end boutiques (Above Le Colonial? None other than Chanel and Van Cleef & Arpels.) Le Colonial had a 22-year run on Rush Street, only 150 steps from the new location. Executive chef/partner Quoc Luong has refreshed the menu with seafood and meat dishes enhanced both in flavor and presentation. Look for more than 200 global wine selections, including Le Colonial 2017 AOC Côtes de Provence Rosé created exclusively for Le Colonial by French producer La Cave du Lac. Le Colonial, 57 E. Oak St., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-255-0088.
Ocean Prime, the glitzy modern American restaurant-lounge from restauranteur Cameron Mitchell, will debut its Chicago home at LondonHouse on April 3, 2019. The upscale restaurant has sister locations in Denver, Beverly Hills, Washington D.C. and other cities, and will boast expense account-worthy steaks, seafood, signature cocktails and vino. The second-floor space will seat up to 350 diners and include three private dining rooms, and two bars. Ocean Prime, 85 E. Wacker Dr., Chicago, IL 60601, 312-428-4344.
Chef Dave Park and Jen Tran opened Jeong in West Town following the success of their chef-driven food court concept Hanbun. The team named the restaurant after Park's grandmother, and the Korean idea of soulful connection and community. The menu highlights a seven-course $87 tasting option, plus à la carte dishes featuring in-house specialties such as silken tofu and kimchi. Korean touches permeate the 40-seat space, from rice paper dividers to servers wearing traditional Korean hanbok dress designed by the couple's friend Joanna Um. Expect this to be a tough table to score; reservations on OpenTable are limited the first month. Jeong, 1460 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago , IL 60642, 312-877-5016.
Chicago diners ate, and Lettuce Entertain You listened. Now the restaurant group adds its first Beatrix in Oak Brook, where shoppers can pick up coffee, stop for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner or host a private event. This will be the fourth Beatrix under Lettuce's umbrella. The Oak Brook location boasts the largest coffee bar and lounge with seating for up to 100 guests. The healthy menu offers signatures including burnt honey toast, grilled swordfish kebab and pepper steak with sweet peppers, pearl onions and peppercorn sauce. Come spring, diners will be able to sit on the patio to enjoy their fresh-squeezed juices, juice cocktails or wellness shots. Beatrix, 272 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, IL 60523, 630-491-1415.
The budget hotel once known as Essex Inn gets an elegant revamp come April, when Hotel Essex, its $75 million replacement, makes a play for high-end travelers on Michigan Avenue. With that comes SX Sky Bar, a bi-level nightlife destination where guests will nibble on elevated small plates and sip on craft cocktails. Floor-to-ceiling windows bring the city in, even though there'll be plenty of eye candy inside, from black and white geometric designs to a grand staircase winding up to a dance floor. Essex will also be home to LM Restaurant Group's Grant Park Bistro, a 40-seat restaurant specializing in French fare. SX Sky Bar & Grant Park Bistro, 808 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60605, no phone.
Benny’s Chop House & All That Jazz
Benny's Chop House returns to Chicago's jazz roots with performances in the North Lounge every Wednesday to Saturday featuring artists Carmen Stokes, Julie Ponce, Leandro Lopez Varady, Lynn Hilton and Margaret Murphy-Webb. The live series starts on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. Performances straddle traditional to modern contemporary funk and fusion styles. Benny's Chop House, 444 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-626-2444.
Travelle Kitchen + Bar Hosts Brunch & Calligraphy Class
The culinary arts meet the long lost art of handwriting during a calligraphy workshop series followed by brunch at Travelle Kitchen + Bar on April 13, May 18 and June 1. Guests will learn the strokes from local teachers Ricki DiCola of r + ink and Julie Wildman of Wildman Designs followed by a three-course brunch by chef Jeff Vucko, which will feature chicken and waffles and avocado toast, various Benedicts or a burger, and chocolate cake or banoffee bread pudding. Cost of $65 includes the meal, a glass of Champagne and supplies for the class. Reserve your spot by calling 312-923-7705. Travelle Kitchen + Bar, The Langham, Chicago, 330 N. Wabash Ave., 2nd Fl., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-923-7705.
Beatnik On The River Goes Year Round
When Bonhomme Hospitality Group renovated the sister outpost of the original Beatnik in the Loop, it faced a tall order: conjure the same visual magic that drew Chicagoans to the boho chic brand in the first place. Fast forward from July 2018, and Beatnik On The River is unlike any of the restaurants on Wacker Drive: fun, funky and Insta-worthy. The remodel includes taking a 20 by 20 foot Nashville jewelry store – complete with chandeliers and sconces – and making it the centerpiece of the space. Plop down some Persian rugs, hand-painted glazed tiles and pillow-topped Indonesian daybeds and you have a true oasis on the river. Open weekdays 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat. 4 p.m.-10 p.m. and for post-work cocktails. Beatnik On The River, 180 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago, IL 60606, 312-526-3345.
New Home for Entente
Entente will soon have a new home. Come this spring, the upscale modern American restaurant will move from its Lakeview location to 700 N. Sedgwick in River North. The new site will allow the team – Ty Fujimura of Fujimura Hospitality and executive chef Brian Fisher – to leverage a larger kitchen and front-of-the-house area. The original location will be transformed into an event space where locals can experience new chefs and new cuisines from around the city. Entente, 3056 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60657, 872-206-8553.
U.S. Pizza Museum Lengthens its Tenure
U.S. Pizza Museum won't be leaving Chicago anytime soon. The pizzaporium, which included interactive exhibits, art, rare pizza boxes, vinyl records, vintage ads, toys, video games and more, is extending its stay through the fall season, with tickets available as late as January 2019. The museum's popularity prompted the decision to add more tickets. The location is open on Fridays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Arts District downtown will welcome an LA location of Chicago’s famous Girl & the Goat restaurant, overseen by Iron Chef champion Stephanie Izard. Look for an opening in summer 2019, with a menu featuring some of the more popular dishes like escargot ravioli, duck tongues with piri piri, and wood oven roasted pig face. Girl & the Goat, 555 Mateo St., Los Angeles, CA 90013, no phone.
Lincoln Park's White Oak Tavern & Inn has closed. The restaurant served American cuisine utilizing the output of local farms. White Oak Tavern & Inn, 1200 W. Webster Ave., Chicago, IL 60614, no phone.
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