Perched on the 20th floor of the Conrad Chicago, Baptiste & Bottle has a view of River North that is hard to be matched. I had the opportunity to photograph the space recently for Eater Chicago, and was really amazed at how well the design came together. We also got the chance to preview the menu over the weekend and were blown away by the food from Chef James Lintelmann. There may be a lot of tourist traps in the area, but this definitely doesn't feel like one of them. Excited to go back and get another serving of the 48-hour short ribs :-)
As a native of Grand Rapids, I had to jump on the opportunity to photograph Hopcat's newest location in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. The new Clark St. space is practically two full restaurant spaces joined together. On top of that, there will be over 130 beers on offer. I have a feeling that this will become a staple much like it is in my hometown. Be sure to check out the full coverage over at Eater Chicago.
In celebration of it's 10th birthday, Rockit Bar & Grill spent five months redesigning their entire River North space. The interior designer, Kara Mann, successfully married River North sophistication with a rock-and-roll edge. The two styles join together seamlessly with upscale fixtures and materials in a dark space. Street art and floral upholstery, brick walls and brass taps, raw steel and marble - proving the phrase 'opposites attract' to be entirely true. Read more about the grand re-opening here.
On the border of Ukrainian Village and Humboldt Park, Boeufhaus has claimed a space to call home. The German influenced steak-house offers not only a great food and drink menu but a charming atmosphere, too. The space is filled with vintage pieces including the old icebox that was found on the property and originally used by a German butcher who used to occupy the same space. This stretch of Western Ave. is definitely growing quickly and is looking like a great spot to spend the evening. Check out the Eater Chicago article here.
Anyone who knows me knows that there are few things on this planet that make me happier than a delicious burger. In its most basic forms it combines two wonderful things; a sandwich and the grill. Eater's Burger Week, however, features the cream of the crop on Chicago's burger scene.
Tony Quartaro of Formento's & Nonna's created the "Juicy Lucy" burger. "A burger patty stuffed with mozzarella (made in-house), 1-year aged provolone ('It has a nice bite to it. Nice, strong depth of flavor. Not stinky cheese strong, but more of a peppery finish.'), garlic and neonata ('It's chili based, slightly acidic, kind of rich and oily. [It] will add some brightness and some heat.')".
Edward Kim Chef/Partner of Mott Street created the Mott Burger for Burger Week 2015. "featuring two quarter-pound chuck patties with sweet potato shoestrings, hoisin aioli, pickled jalapenos, dill pickles, miso butter, diced onion and American cheese on a toasted bun".
Jimmy Papadopoulos of Bohemian House, entered the monster "Bohemian Sleeper Hold". "The 8-ounce grilled burger is topped with Emmentaler cheese, braised sauerkraut (fermented in house for three weeks, then braised with onions, caraway, bacon and garlic), a fried egg and a special secret sauce on a house-made bun and is served with house dill pickles along with salt and vinegar chips".
Chef Alex Pilas at Osteria in Eataly Chicago created the aptly named "Eater Hamburger alla Eataly Chicago". "a combination of local ingredients, with an Italian twist - think ramps salsa verde as an ode to Chicago's name, and mayo made from local eggs, combined with traditional Italian flavors, such as Parmigiano Reggiano."
And of course, we can't forget the Au Cheval burger. Since they have already been crowned with the title of 'Best Burger in Chicago,' Chef Annie Gano didn't need to add any crazy twists or flare, instead just sticking with the classic recipe. "The burger gets "dressed" with Dijonnaise (lemon juice, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard) and housemade pickles. You can add a fried egg, thick-cut peppered bacon and, if you really want to gild the lily, a three-ounce slab of foie gras."
Chicago has graduated from plastic wrapped microwavable noodles to a more authentic and gourmet dish, sparking the beginning of the Ramen Renaissance. I was sent out by Eater Chicago to shoot the brand new Ramen Takeya in Fulton Market brought to us by the owners of Logan Sqaure's popular Wasabi. The decor was top notch and immediately transports you to a small steamy alley somewhere in Japan complete with neon lighting (Pac Man spotting!) and custom made chochin (paper lanterns). Plus, I was really excited to try out a new lighting technique - I really love the outcome and would love to know what you guys think! Check it out below...
The atmosphere at Miss Ricky's was humming and alive, well representing the idea behind the diner-esque restaurant located Downtown Chicago in the new Virgin Hotel. One menu item I'm pretty excited to try is the piece of chocolate cake with an edible steak knife stabbed right through the middle to stop the towering dessert from falling over.
From the creator of the gastropub The Portage comes Community Tavern, a 'New-American' boutique steakhouse with a menu inspired by French cuisine. Driving up to shoot this new restaurant, I found myself thinking how little I have explored Portage Park. I was pleasantly surprised to find a great stretch of shops along Milwaukee Ave. that made me look forward to getting the chance to spend more time in the area. Just down the street from the Portage Theater, Community Tavern has a luxurious vintage flare that accurately reflects the history of the neighborhood. Really looking forward to seeing the coming success of this restaurant!
Going out for cocktails in the West Loop is a chore. A chore, because of the countless fantastic bars and restaurants to choose from. Fulton Market Street, already populated with some of Chicago's most popular bars and restaurants, has a new neighbor with a lot to show. The Betty (839 W. Fulton Market) is a vintage inspired cocktail bar by Footman Hospitality complete with a taxidermy peacock and an antique player piano. I had a great time shooting this space and all of the little details that make up the warm inviting atmosphere, curated and designed by Studio K. Looking forward to going in and trying the build-your-own gin and tonic!
Check out The Betty's sister bar, Bangers & Lace - Evanston, which we had the pleasure of shooting a few weeks ago just before it's opening.
Where can you find delicate and ornate lace adorning the windows of a bar rated year-after-year as one of the Top 100 Beer Bars in America? Only in Wicker Park one might have said, but thanks to Bangers & Lace's northern expansion, this unique experience can now be had in Evanston as well. The new location may be significantly bigger, but Footman Hospitality has done a wonderful job filling it with elements that immerse you in a truly cozy and lodge-like atmosphere. I had the opportunity to spend some time photographing the new space just before the New Year, and even though I froze my butt off shooting the exterior, the icy-blue morning made for the most amazing light pouring in through the front facade. Thanks again to Darcy at The Door for giving me the tour!
Be sure to check out all the coverage at Eater Chicago.
Oak + Char may be simply named, but that is where the simplicity stops. I had the opportunity to tour and photograph the space for Eater Chicago prior to its opening, and whether you're rating the restaurant on its design/atmosphere or by the culinary output and experience of its staff, its most definitely a place to experience. I appreciated the detailed work that went into the construction, and the great organizational apparatus behind the restaurant in MBL Hospitality and Grapevine PR. Be sure to check out the entire article at Eater Chicago!
In search of a straight-to-business high end burger joint in Wicker Park? The quest is over. Los Angeles based Umami Burger is now open to the public on Milwaukee Ave. The wildly popular chain has expanded from coast-to-coast and now has a foot in the Midwest market. First up on my list is the "Truffle Burger" with truffle a aioli, cheese, and glaze. Be sure to check out the full coverage on Eater Chicago!
Walk into Yusho Hyde Park on the slightly quieter end of rapidly developing 53rd Street, and you can immediately tell this bold and colorful little space is going to pack a serious punch. Chef Matthias Merges (Charlie Trotter's Executive Chef of 14 years) has taken the "yakatori-inspired" restaurant from Logan Square to Las Vegas, and his newest Yusho outpost is now open to the public. I've been finding myself making the trip down to Hyde Park much more often as of late (check out my previous coverage of Promontory), and I can't wait to try the "Japanese Loaded Fries w/Bacon & Kimchee Gravy!
Taco aficionados rejoice! Bar Takito is expanding upon Takito Kitchen, its Wicker Park sister restaurant, in the Fulton Market neighborhood of the West Loop. Adding to the veritable restaurant boom that is happening in the area, Bar Takito will offer a bright and colorful dining alternative. Having just sampled my first tacos at Takito Kitchen a couple of days ago (Oxtail Tacos with an amazing fresh corn salsa), I'm really excited to give this new place a try! Even while completely empty, the space on Morgan St. was uplifting and fun to be in. I'm sure it will be a great atmosphere when it is buzzing with diners too. Be sure to check out the whole article from Eater Chicago here!
London, New York, Berlin, Toronto, Miami, Hollywood, and now Chicago. Soho House, a private member's club for those in the film, media, and creative industries, has just opened the doors to its newest "house" in Chicago's Fulton Market neighborhood. I photographed the site for Curbed Chicago back in March when there was still scaffolding on the facade and plenty of snow on the ground, so spending some time documenting the nearly completed space on a sunny August day was a treat. Check out the full article here!
As to be expected, especially at the $2,000 price point for membership, the design and furnishings inside the Allis Building (formerly a factory building producing rubber belts) were gorgeous. My favorite part about the space though was the subtle use of the wood behind the front desk and around the elevator bay. The wood came from the water tower that used to sit on top of the building, and if you look closely you can still see some of the original lettering!
The lobby/lounge space, although a bit narrow, was soaked in beautiful bright light. I could definitely see it as a nice place to do some work and have a cup of coffee, cocktail, or small bite to eat. This space, as well as the Soho House's two restaurants Chicken Shop and Pizza East, are all open to the public.
The Soho House will be adding 40 hotel rooms to the West Loop marketplace. The rooms, available in three sizes (small, medium, and medium-plus) are available to the public starting at $240 a night. The space pictured below is a medium-plus, and felt quite spacious. The furnishings were nice and very consistent with the style of the lobby/lounge.