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Nellcôte Team Working on Champagne Salon With Top NY Sommelier Jason Wagner

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While Nellcôte is still weeks away from completion, the guys behind the project—Jared Van Camp, Chris Freeman and Chris Dexter, who also own Old Town Social—are already working on their next concept. The still-unnamed project, scheduled to open in January, will actually live behind Nellcôte, but will be an entirely separate business. The team has partnered up with top New York sommelier, Jason Wagner (L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, A Voce), to create a Champagne and wine salon.

Entering from a hidden cobblestone courtyard off Green Street, the 1,500 square-foot salon will gain inspiration from Grace Kelly and her "perennial embodiment of sophistication, glamour and stunning self-possession coupled with a classic, understated simplicity," the team said. The space will have an essence of femininity with candles, antique crystal perfume bottles and vintage hand mirrors as well as constant fresh flowers.

Wagner will curate a wine program featuring domaine and estate-grown wines from around the world with most coming from across the U.S., Western Europe and Eastern Europe, where he'll bring in wines from places like Hungary and Slovenia that aren't yet featured in this market. And many of the bottles will be affordable and accessible, but he'll also include large-format bottles and glass pours becase, "Nothing says party like a big bottle," he said.

The beverage program will be supported by a cheese service (presented from a cheese cart), finger sandwiches, canapes, chocolate program, petits fours and pastries; a top pastry chef will be announced at a later date.

Wagner talked to many restaurateurs before deciding to work with this team, which he felt a connection with. "They seem really solid and they know how to do business and their aesthetic is not that stuffy," he said. "It's fun, but serious at the same time." Most of all, Wagner is most excited about being able to create a new program from the ground up, which he said will allow him to showcase his personality and do something interesting. In the end, he wants to have a good time with it.

"You want [wine] that's fun that people can enjoy and you don't have to sit and write a novel about it," he said. "But at the same time, if you want to, you can."

[Photo: The salon entrance off a courtyard]

Nellcote

833 W Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607 312.432.0500 Visit Website

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