In March, the CEO of the London ping-pong hotspot AceBounce said the Chicago import wouldn't treat food as an afterthought and promised a big-name local chef to run its food program. To that end, the social club and restaurant is announcing that chef—former Virgin Hotel and David Burke's Primehouse kitchen maestro Rick Gresh.
Gresh, who's moving from one major London export to another, will be using his relationships with local farms in an array of dishes at AceBounce's 48-seat restaurant in The Loop, according to the announcement. Expect many pizzas, which are a staple of the menus in Britain, as well as pepperoni meatballs, tartare and crudos. Gresh's official title is Director of U.S. Culinary Operations and will theoretically oversee AceBounce's future expansions, if and when those open. The ping-pong venue, slated to open June at 230 N. Clark St., is also teasing that "one of Chicago's top mixologists" will handle the bar program, but aren't revealing who that is yet.
With the February opening of Susan Sarandon's SPiN in River North, ping-pong venues are certainly becoming a thing. AceBounce's hiring of Gresh ups the culinary ante and shows that they're hoping to attract Chicagoans with more than balls and paddles.