When La Grande Vie on Chestnut shuttered in February, word on the street was that a new operator was already zeroing in on the space. It turns out that the new operator is Minibar owner John Dalton, who's opening his second mEAT location and bringing skewers, molecular cocktails and meat puns downtown.
The decision to expand is a quick one, as the first mEAT opened just four months ago in Boystown. Dalton says that restaurant is "taking off" and that he visualized a larger restaurant all along. "The idea couldn't be fully realized until we had a bigger space," he says.
The La Grande Vie space is certainly bigger, nearly 100 seats plus 118 on the patio, more than three times the size of the original mEAT on Halsted. Dalton says the menu will "very much mimic" the Boystown original but he visualizes patrons perusing an array of meat skewers lined up on the wall before settling into their seats.
The cocktail selection will be similar as well, with Tony Potempa (The Boarding House) fusing molecular gimmicks with classic flavor profiles. For example, Dalton mentions adding a liquid nitrogen champagne popsicle to classic cocktails.
Will the downtown set latch onto the concept as much as the Boystown crowd? Dalton thinks so and is planning to be a neighborhood spot for the Gold Coast and Streeterville residents. Check back in the middle of June to find out.
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