Tony Hu is finally readying his first downtown restaurant, Lao 18, throwing his empire's newest jewel into the trendy River North scene. Hu is still tweaking the menu before the Thursday opening, but the space is designed, built, and ready for the party.
A collaboration with designers Hiki Feng and Jeremy Stanulis, an 8000 square foot, 265-seat space houses a dining room, bar, lounge, private event room, and outdoor patio. Design elements trend more towards elegance than Hu's Chinatown spots: golden Chinese birdcages hang above tables, glass artwork behind the bar depicts a fiery Chinese scene, and a brass cloud-shaped sculpture hangs above the dining room. With the exception of the art pieces, the color schemes run neutral, from whites to tans to grays to black.