Andersonville's restaurant surge continues tonight with the opening of Kingfisher Seafood Restaurant & Bar. The spot, which takes over the former Arkadash Cafe at the top of the neighborhood's Clark Street corridor, is being opened by chef Peter McCarthy and his business partner, Jeff Shane.
The restaurant will officially open its doors at 5 p.m. and already has about 70 reservations on the books, McCarthy said. "We've had customers that are dying to dine with us again," he said. "The phone is ringing off the hook."
The pair gutted the 110-year-old building and brought in all new electrical and plumbing and outfitted it with hardwood floors, exposed brick and local art, including five large prints from the old Gold Star Sardine Bar. But the real draw will be the fresh seafood brought in daily. "We don't have a freezer," McCarthy said. "The trucks come up every day. You know you're getting the best. We only order a certain amount and when we're out we're out."
Some specialty items, like the crab cakes and lake perch, will carry over from Pier 5736, McCarthy's former restaurant on the city's Northwest Side. Also look for jumbo shrimp cocktail, pastrami salmon and oysters Rockefeller as appetizers; chowder, bisque and warm scallop salad; shrimp tacos, fish & chips; lobster medallions, clams, crab legs, mussels and a variety of other fresh fish and seafood. Kingfisher will also feature choice cut meat from Stockyards Packing, so look for BBQ ribs, filet mignon and chicken Vesuvio, among other things. And the menu is pretty affordable with many items coming in under $20.
The restaurant, which starts lunch service on Thursday and brunch on Sunday, will start off as a BYOB while it awaits it liquor license. Because it sits near a church, Kingfisher has to obtain a special permit from the state to serve alcohol. McCarthy expects that process will take anywhere from two to six months.
Come summer, Kingfisher won't have a patio, but will be able to open up all its bi-fold wooden doors onto Clark Street and the restaurant plans to start with about 80 seats and eventually grow to serve 130. "I don't want to be greedy and take everyone in and not give proper service and quality they need on our first few weeks," McCarthy said.
· Kingfisher Seafood Restaurant & Bar [website]