Last month word came that the team behind Longman & Eagle would open the Promontory in Hyde Park. Now the South Side restaurant expansion continues with news that former Charlie Trotter's chef de cuisine and owner of celebrated Logan Square spot Yusho Matthias Merges will open not one, but two restaurants in Hyde Park in 2013, including a scaled-down version of Yusho.
Merges tells Eater exclusively that he just inked a deal to open a new concept in the fall in the Harper Court development in a historic building at 1466 E. 53rd Street on the southwest corner of Harper. While he isn't divulging the concept just yet, he said the restaurant, which will seat less than 100 people, is a departure from what they're doing at Yusho. "It's going to be a different expression of what we love to eat," he said. "It's a departure from Asia. It'll be European based." When Eater jokingly asked if it's going to be a Hungarian goulash restaurant, Merges said, "It could be. You never know" and laughed.
Merges' wife Rachel Crowl, who owns FC Studio and designed Yusho as well as Telegraph, will be charged with the design of the new restaurant. The building was constructed around 1910 and they discovered some original beautiful tile work that will get incorporated into the new spot. "We want to maintain that old school Chicago feel," Merges said. "It has a beautiful European feel to it with high ceilings," and added that it's a corner space with a great area for an outdoor patio.
Merges added they're planning to work with a chef he's worked with in the past and that this will also have a focused craft-cocktail program. He said that Yusho mixologist Alex Bachmann will serve as the beverage director for all of their projects, including the forthcoming Billy Sunday tavern in Logan Square.
A Scaled-down Version of Yusho
While the first project will depart from Yusho, Hyde Parkers can get excited that Merges' second project, which will open toward the end of 2013, will be a form of Yusho. That space, which will be near the other restaurant at 1301 E. 53rd Street, will be 1,000 square feet and take aspects of Yusho's current offerings. "It's a scaled-down version of what we do and [we're] keeping the aesthetic and philosophy of what we do," Merges said. "It'll be more approachable with a take-out component." Merges further explained that the menu here will somewhat morph the current menu at Yusho and its Sunday Noodles program into one.
Merges explained that both his and Crowl's fathers attended University of Chicago and the area was always attractive to them. "We always wanted to explore the possibility of doing a project in Hyde Park, but there hadn't been a feeling of a larger commitment," he said. "But now that the University of Chicago is putting in a lot of resources in restaurants, retail and their own buildings, it was a great time to revisit the idea. [U of C is] creating this epicenter of culture that has been underserved down there for a long time."
· Billy Sunday Coming [~EChi~]
· Longman & Eagle Team Opening the Promontory in Hyde Park in 2013 [~EChi~]
· All Matthias Merges Coverage on Eater Chicago [~EChi~]
Matthias Merges [Photo: StarChefs]