Jewish delis provide the inspiration for Bill Montagne and Jennifer Kim's new seafood counter service space in Lakeview. The new restaurant's called Snaggletooth and gives Montagne a landing spot after his November ouster as chef at C Chicago. They're gunning for a mid-February open, as the duo this afternoon signed the lease to take over the A Plate on Southport Thai restaurant space at 2819 N. Southport Ave. Kim and Montagne met while at C Chicago, after Kim spent three years at One Off Hospitality Group's Blackbird and Nico Osteria.
It's a small space, and they'll concentrate on the morning commute and lunch crowds with about 17 seats inside, according to Chicago, which first reported the news. Kim said she wants to transform the room into an inviting space where guests can grab their food along with a good coffee or tea. They'll have a custom blend, pour overs and French press (they've yet to decided on a roaster, Kim said). Look for Rare Tea Cellars to provide the leaves.
"As we kept talking and growing together, we really thought about this concept that came about from our mutual love of seafood," Kim said.
They're not looking to serve expensive or pretentious dishes. The restaurant's website reads "fit for anywhere. anytime. any occasion." Think salads and cured fish. Kim stressed that they aren't trying to be a Jewish deli, but time spent in New York City, home of a great number of quality delis, influenced Montagne's cooking.
It will be just Kim and Montagne working without any additional investors. This gives the pair plenty of time to speak with guests, something they didn't have much a chance to do while working in the kitchen. They may add dinner at a later date, but for now simplicity is the key, with Montagne hoping to regain the control over the kitchen that he felt like he ceded while at C Chicago.