Could Avec, one of Chicago's most-revered and sometimes most-cramped restaurants, be heading toward an expansion? Earlier this year, the first-floor restaurant expanded by starting lunch service, but now there's word they could physically expand into the upstairs of their existing building. One Off Hospitality has purchased the four-story building for about $2.5 million, according to Crain's.
One Off partner Donnie Madia, this year's recipient of the Beard Foundation Award for Restauranteur of the Year, wouldn't outright confirm expansion plans. But he told Crain's that long wait times at Avec account for a loss of 15 to 20 percent of potential business from frustrated diners who instead opt to eat at neighboring West Loop spots. An expansion would seemingly address that problem. The upstairs is currently filled with loft and office space inside the building that workers erected in 1899.
Avec opened in 2003, Paul Kahan's follow up to Blackbird. One Off's since grown to include Publican, Big Star, Dove's Luncheonette and others. That includes a Wicker Park project at North, Damen and Milwaukee avenues, where Francesca's Forno once stood.