Phil Stefani's daughter Gina Stefani wants to forge her own path, and she'll start this December with a new restaurant near the United Center. MAD Social aims to provide patrons with a new neighborhood restaurant in the tradition of her renowned restauranteur father.
It's the first new restaurant in 14 years for Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants, but Gina Stefani wants the new space to showcase her touch at 1140 W. Madison St. Though they haven't hired a chef yet, she envisions a casual, new American menu with familiar small plates, hoping to keep all items under $20. MAD is decidedly not a sports bar, although she wants to capitalize on pre- and postgame crowds from the United Center, and they'll have televisions showing games. Stefani also said she's not worried about competition from the United Center, which has upped its concessions game, hoping fans eat at the arena.
"We added the 'social' part because when I think of a hotspot for when I go out with my friends or family, I want an environment where I can communicate with a person, where I'm able to hear each other in a vibrant atmosphere," Stefani said.
There will be 74 seats inside and five or six tables outside. They're still figuring out a decor theme, Stefani said, but they'll utilize plenty of reclaimed lumber from nearby. The kitchen will stay open late, they'll have a few craft draft beers, and a selection of classic cocktails with a twist.
Gina Stefani shows reverence toward her father and took notes on his hospitality, but she made it clear this new project is hers. She remembers the old Stefani's on Fullerton Avenue in Lincoln Park, which shuttered just before she enrolled at DePaul University.
"My dad knew the customers by their name, and they became extended family," she said. "The vision for this place is I'll be there every day to meet the people in the neighborhood, to make this an extension of their homes, to make this a place to offer them good food and drink."