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Ryan McCaskey Reveals More Info About Acadia, Shooting to Open in Early December

Ryan McCaskey (2nd from right) and his team
Ryan McCaskey (2nd from right) and his team

While a trend in new restaurants over the last year has been to go more downscale, Ryan McCaskey is hoping to reverse that when his approximately 100-seat new restaurant, Acadia, opens this December. That's not to say that the menu won't be accessible as McCaskey wants to deliver a more enlightened culinary experience at an affordable price point in a warm, inviting space.

The opening of Acadia realizes a lifelong dream of McCaskey's to have his own place, inspired by his summers spent in the seaside towns of Maine. In fact, it's in that area where the name of the restaurant hails. That region, stretching from Maine into Canada, was a French colony called Acadia and it had great impact on McCaskey's youth. As an adult, he appreciates the passion of the folks there who spend their days fishing the crustacean-rich waters and will source much of his seafood-heavy menu from them.

The restaurant with 14-foot ceilings is divided into a front bar, a spacious dining room and a private dining space and has a warm color palate of cream, gray, chocolate, taupe and celery. Guests will enter into the bar with floor-to-ceiling windows that flood the space with late afternoon sun, and settle into small tables for 12 and 10 seats at the bar.

There, they can enjoy a smaller menu featuring items like mussels, oysters, lobster rolls (made traditionally with chive, lemon, a touch of mayonnaise and paprika, served with salt and vinegar chips), arancini, cheese and house-made charcuterie, like wild boar terrine, chicken liver mousse and duck ham. An extensive wine and beverage program, pulled together by Jason Prah, will come from the 2,600-bottle wine room behind the bar, that can be viewed through a peek-a-boo window.

A long hallway leads guests to the open 55-seat dining room where four large windows will look out on a 1.2-acre park, which the city will soon renovate to feature pedestrian space, a dog run and a bandshell for live music. The dining room will have banquettes on one wall while the rest of the room features dark chocolate square tables. A server credenza will divide the room and allow for food runners to deposit the dishes on a silver tray for servers to then intercept and deliver food to the tables. "I want the attention to remain on service and the diners," McCaskey said.

McCaskey didn't want to reveal too much about the menu as it's still a work in progress. And a glance through the restaurant's blog reveals dishes like a faux risotto, where the dish substitutes a brunoise of yukon potatoes for rice and includes leeks, truffle, garlic, lemon and creme fraiche and is topped with a green apple veil. Another dish is the sunchoke veloute with hazelnut, chai granola, verjus-compressed grapes, puffed wild rice and pancetta. The chef said while he will bring in the shellfish from Maine, much of the other proteins and produce will be sourced from local farms. And bread will be made in house.

While McCaskey aims to open for dinner in December, he wants to start a Sunday brunch in spring, that will be accompanied by a family-style Sunday night dinner.


1639 South Wabash Avenue, , IL 60616 (312) 360-9500 Visit Website