Gideon Sweet, the new collaboration between celebrity chef Graham Elliot and Matthias Merges’s Folkart Restaurant Management, opens Friday inside the space that formerly held Graham Elliot Bistro at 841 W. Randolph Street. This is a bar and restaurant where Merges and Elliot hope to tempt customers with a variety of small dishes — they describe service as “naschen style,” from the German word for “nibble.” Merges brought on his opening cocktail maker (Alex Bachman) from his Logan Square bar — Billy Sunday — to mix a selection of internationally inspired drinks for trendy West Loopers.
Merges is keen on retro spaces, from the baseball nostalgia at Lucky Dorr outside of Wrigley Field to the old-school neighborhood vibes of A10 in Hyde Park. Gideon Sweet features an L-shaped 18-seat bar — it’s been refurbished since GEB closed. Look for murals, white light fixtures, and a 1940s-era wine menu board on the back wall. There’s also an open kitchen so customers can get a little bit of a show while passing dishes between friends. The space also features an enclosed back patio.
For Merges, Gideon Sweet represents his first restaurant on Randolph Restaurant Row, as he’s been teasing a project for years. Earlier this year, he closed his first restaurant — Yusho — in Logan Square, signifying a shift in direction for his company. Merges met Elliot while working at Charlie Trotter’s, the Lincoln Park fine dining icon. The restaurant is also important for Elliot. For the most part, the general public has only seen him on television, judging reality shows like MasterChef and Top Chef. Gideon Sweet represents a return for Elliot, finally giving him back a Chicago restaurant presence.
Check out the photos below. Gideon Sweet opens on Friday.