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Tip Top Inn Shutters To Give a Black Chef a Rare Downtown Restaurant Opportunity

Derek Rylon of Batter & Berries is preparing to open a third restaurant

Chef Derek Rylon is opening a restaurant downtown.
Nick Fochtman
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.

The owner of French toast stalwart Batter & Berries is opening a third restaurant, this time dowtown near State and Division streets. Rylon’s On Easy Street should open in February inside the short-lived Tip Top Inn space at 1204 N. State St., according to DNAinfo. Chef Derek Rylon opened his second restaurant, Rylon’s Smokehouse, in October on the near South Side.

Apparently, the Tip Top (which opened in April) was a filler concept inside the former P.J. Clarke’s. It’s already closed. The space’s owner, Bob Itzkow, was waiting to finalize a deal with Rylon. Don’t expect Batter & Berries’ delectable French toast flights at the new spot, as Rylon told DNAinfo he wants to ensure variety between his restaurants. They’ll be open for breakfast and the menu will include sandwiches. Additionally, they’ll have a late-night menu which will be great for Rush/Division and Viagra Triangle denizens. Also, call off PETA, because Rylon said he wants a lobster tank at the restaurants so diners can pick their meals.

Rylon’s success is important to note, as there’s still few African-American chefs at downtown Chicago restaurants. While Rylon’s On Easy Street isn’t black owned, there’s definitely a desire for these businesses.

If Itzkow’s name is familiar, it’s because the attorney was a consultant for Rosebud Restaurants. He’s owned a few strip clubs including Pink Monkey and Club Allure in suburban Melrose Park. He was also involved with Illusions, former Bull power forward Dennis Rodman’s nightclub.