Detroit-area import Peas & Carrots Hospitality Group hopes their first Chicago restaurant gains as much of a following as their restaurants in the Mitten State when Bernie's Lunch & Supper opens for the first time at 5 p.m. on Monday. They're hoping that the restaurant becomes a versatile River North hot spot, drawing the after-work crowd, couples and groups of friends.
There's a neighborhood feel inside the 7,500 square-feet space with seating for 100. The floor's mostly hardwood, but there's subway tile near the old school-style bar and earth tones throughout the interior at Erie and Orleans. Diners can peek into the kitchen in the back, and the restaurant gets an accent of bright color thanks to the turquoise, plush benches on the sides of the restaurant. Bottles of booze hang above the bar that's decorated with leather-backed stools. Eventually, workers will finish a rooftop area on the second floor that provides a view of the city. But that won't be ready for the opening.
It's a Mediterranean-influenced menu for Peas and Carrots' chef Zack Sklar and the rest of his staff. They're known for Social Kitchen & Bar in Birmingham, Mich. and Mex in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., among others. Over at Bernie's, they've revised their menu from the preliminary offering, reshuffling some items and opting to cut dishes like a wood-fired pizza and tartine. But those needing a hangover savior benefit from the addition of hand-cut fries served with garlic aioli.
It's not the only Chicago project for Peas & Carrots, as they're opening Chicago's first outpost of Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken later this year in Fulton Market. Sklar, who won't stop raving about the Memphis fried chicken joint, also notes they'll serve alcohol at this iteration, making the Chicago location of Gus's unique among the chain's restaurants.
But for now, check out Bernie's new menu below and the photos above. And yes, they'll eventually be open for lunch and brunch.
Bernie's Lunch & Supper, 660 N. Orleans St., (312) 624-9892, opening at 5 p.m. today. Opening hours: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday through Wednesday; 5 p.m. to midnight, Thursday through Saturday.