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Kokonas: Roister Construction Should Be Complete By End of January

There's a few more clues about what Grant Achatz's next project will bring.

Ashok Selvam
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Workers will likely complete construction at Roister by the end of month, but Nick Kokonas and Grant Achatz remain unsure when they'll open their Fulton Market doors to the public. Kokonas dropped a couple more clues about their much-anticipated restaurant in an interview with Hungry Hound Steve Dolinsky and Rick Bayless on their "Feed" Podcast.

Kokonas and Achatz are busy with Madrid where the Alinea pop-up launches on Tuesday. Kokonas spends the majority of the interview talking about Alinea-related information, including the Lincoln Park relaunch. They're looking at ways to encourage conversation between parties, including a gallery room on the first floor where diners could mingle and grab their first bites. Fooditor first noticed the audio.

But at the end of the interview, the focus turns to Roister at 951 W. Fulton Market. Kokonas lays blame for construction delays on the changing infrastructure of the neighborhood and new guidelines thanks to the city's designation of the Fulton-Randolph Historic District last year. That's what led to that infamous neon sign west of Halsted. Here's a little summary of the Roister highlights:

  • Look for three experiences: 1) An a la carte menu for walk-ins 2) The chef's tasting menu 3) "The whole beast experience" in which Kokonas says diners can call ahead to accommodate a larger group —say a party of six— so the kitchen could prepare them a meat six different ways.
  • For the first time Achatz will have a deep fryer at his disposal. It might not be the first thing diners think of when they think of Achatz, but Kokonas admited: "You know what? Fried food tastes pretty damn good." While Bayless consented fryers are fun, he said that he won't have a deep fryer at the upcoming Cruz Blanca/Leña Brava, his nearby West Loop nanobrewery,
  • "The whole place is basically a kitchen," Kokonas said. There's 18 seats around the kitchen which sits in the middle.

Between Alinea's relaunch, the pop-up in Spain, Tock and Roister, the team's busy: "We're a little overwhelmed," Kokonas concluded.


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