Dormant since May 2014, something new is finally headed to the River North space that once held Baume & Brix and The Grid. Former American Junkie owner Brad Parker, who sold and shuttered his massive clubstaurant in January, is working towards opening two separate concepts in the two-floor space at 351 W. Hubbard: The Hampton Social, a "Hamptons-themed" restaurant and bar, and The Bassment, a live music venue. He's hoping to unveil both in the early summer, with Hampton Social opening a month or two prior.
The seafood-driven The Hampton Social will take up the ground floor area that once housed the short-lived progressive restaurant Baume & Brix. Parker says his design inspiration is "like Ralph Lauren's beach house," with blue tufted couches set against white-washed tables, walls and floors. Three areas will be included in one space that "flows through": a "formal" dining area, a 65-seat bar, and a casual lounge and dining area with a fireplace.
Chef Andy Gibson (Chicago Q, Bull & Bear) will churn out fish, crabcakes, and oysters at a raw bar; and an entire section of the menu will be devoted to lobster. "The menu is geared towards a woman's palate," Parker says of the seafood and other light dishes in development.
Despite the Long Island, NY Hamptons area's reputation as extremely upscale and full of celebrities, Parker says his restaurant will be "approachable" and operate on a mid-scale price point. He also says the design is "very posh," however, and cater to the affluent East Bank neighborhood its surrounded by.
Meanwhile, a live music venue and cocktail spot The Bassment will replace the downstairs space that was The Grid before that concept eventually swallowed Baume & Brix upstairs too. Parker says he wants to "bring Blues back" in the space, which will have a separate entrance and stay open later than upstairs. He estimates that both buildouts are 75 percent done.
Parker says he came across a for-rent sign in the window while living across the street, five days before his sale of American Junkie to Four Corners Tavern Group was finalized. He sat on it for two months, when he would "stare at it for eight hours a day trying to come up with a concept." He hopes the concepts he came up with are more successful at drawing in local patrons than the establishments that operated in the spaces before. "What you have to give the neighborhood is something they can relate to," he says. He'll find out if patrons relate to his concepts in early summer.