Hot off his Best New Restaurant win at the James Beard Awards for ABC Kitchen, word is that Jean-Georges Vongerichten is looking to set up shop in Chicago once again. The restaurateur who once had Vong's Thai Kitchen in River North with Lettuce Entertain You, is reportedly teaming up with Ian Schrager to open this new to-be-named eatery inside the former Pump Room space.
The JGV team is apparently courting local chefs to head up the kitchen. As far as we know, no one has accepted, but some have declined the offer. Bringing in a New York restaurant group is somewhat of a surprise, but we also heard at least one major local restaurant group was approached by the hotel, but walked away.
In an interesting twist, a year ago, Schrager, who bought the hotel for a reported $25 million, said he wouldn't change the name and ethos of the property. "It will still be the Pump Room and the Ambassador East, only better," Schrager told Chicago Real Estate Daily in April of 2010. "We're going to use our good design and our creative ideas and unique approach to pull off something very special."
Since then, the majority of the furnishings at the Pump Room were auctioned off, but whether the restaurant will once again be called by the same name, it hopefully will retain some of the old school charm it had back in the day. Whatever the case, word is that the hotel will open in October so they'd better start working on getting that chef.
· Ian Schrager Plans to Prime the Pump Room [Chicago Real Estate Daily]
· Ian Schrager's New Ambassador East Hotel to Open in October [Hotel Chatter]
Jean-Gorges Vongerichten [Photo: LAT]