October 27, 2015

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Chicago - A New Earls Opens in Lincoln Park, IL

Earls Restaurants (Earls Kitchen + Bar) has opened a location in one of the most iconic restaurant cities in North America, Chicago.  Jumping into the food and beverage scene in Chicago is not for the faint of heart. It’s competitive, and not just for the sheer volume of restaurants, but for the outstanding quality.

The chefs and restaurants in Chicago are legends. Chef Paul Kahan,  Big Star, The Publican, Blackbird, Avec, Nico Osteria; Chef Stephanie Izard, Girl & the Goat,  Little Goat Diner; Chef Grant Achatz, Alinea, Aviary, Next Restaurant while Graham Elliot Bowles, Graham Elliot Bistro, and Oprah’s former personal chef Art Smith, Table Fifty-Two, belie their celebrity status delivering outstanding food.

The old guard are still rocking the culinary scene with Tony Mantuano of Terzo Piano, Bar Toma and Spiaggia and Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill & Topolobampo, and we can’t forget the influences of Charlie Trotter, Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand.

Our people in Chicago are spoiled for restaurants and we know Jimmy Bannos Jr’s Purple Pig, Yusho by Chef Matthias Merges and Izard’s afore mentioned Girl & the Goat are huge favourites with our own chefs.

We think Earls is going to fit right in with the culinary scene, offering something a little different in upscale casual dining. We know our fresh ingredients, interesting made- from -scratch dishes and craft cocktails are getting rave reviews and the warm, friendly service is creating some nice relationships with locals.

In warm seasons we’ll open the floor-to-ceiling garage door style window along the warm side of the building and the custom designed three season patio will be open on most days with the fire pits lit up within the covered terrace.  We expect the sun drenched front breezeway facing portion of the patio to be packed from lunch though Happy Hour to late night (it’s a gorgeous patio and one of the nicest ones in Chicago...maybe we're a little biased though).  

Our Chicago location, while not on “magnificent mile” is in downtown Chicago, located in the Lincoln Park area, not far from the loop, in a brand new development called NewCity. It’s not a dense mall, rather, a new community that incorporates, recently awarded gold LEED for environmental building, condo towers, business towers, two of America’s most iconic grocery emporiums, Mariano's and Whole Foods, and the state-of-the-art 14 screen Arclight Theatre Complex right next door to us. We have great food and neighbors as well with Yardhouse, Nando’s and LifeKitchen.

It’s a development Chicagoan's are just getting to know and we are pretty thrilled to be one of the businesses invited to open with the complex.

Construction & Design

Each of our restaurants is designed uniquely based on the location of the restaurant and footprint of the site. Our in-house design team takes a fresh approach to everything from furniture to windows, lighting, and our gorgeous washrooms! As in our other restaurants, local art is both curated and commissioned to support local artists and reflect the city or region, while making a major impact on the look of the restaurant. At our Lincoln Park location street artist Fresh is featured, as is a nod to Chicago’s music scene with an original piece featuring Muddy Waters by Erik den Breejen and Vancouver artist Ricky Alverez's full wall feature copper and brass instrumental installation.

Food, Wine & Cocktails

Chicagoan’s might not know this yet, but we are a chain of restaurants - family owned and operated and as such our core menu, about three quarters of it, is common to many of our locations - but our Lincoln Park restaurant also features unique items, using local ingredients only available there. The dishes are ingredient forward, authentic when we’re working with ethnic dishes,  and a fresh American/Canadian style.

Craft cocktails - Well known Beverage Director Cameron Bogue (Daniel Boulud, NY,  Fairmont, Oregon’s Heathman Hotel) has created cocktails that use pure fresh ingredients, whimsical vessels and both classic and trending combinations. His beer list features only local craft beers from the Chicago area.

People

Vancouverite’s will see a familiar face in General Manager, Brad Bilick. A 20 year veteran of Earls, his background includes 7 years in our kitchens, eventually as head chef, and he spent some time working at Earls Kitchen + Bar corporate office in a procurement position, educating himself on the importance of purchasing great ingredients consciously, ethically and sustainably - but his longing for the personal connection made daily with guests prompted him to return to the front lines of the restaurant.  Say hello if you are in, you’ll get a warm welcome back. 

Check out the menu at Earls Lincoln Park, Chicago.