After two years, Rural Society—chef Jose Garces’ restaurant inside the Loews Hotel in Streeterville—has shuttered. The Loews has already replaced Garces’ restaurant: ETA serves guests a simple menu of American-ish for breakfast and dinner services.
ETA’s name comes from the lobby bar as there’s no indication if it is a permanent concept or a filler until Loews draw another chef with star power. Rural Society’s last day was March 1, according to a hotel concierge. Former chef de cuisine Cory Morris had already left the restaurant, as he’s now in charge of the kitchen at Ronero, which opened in February in the West Loop’s Randolph Restaurant Row. Rural Society focused on hearth-fired Argentinian flavors in a meat-heavy menu.
Garces, the celebrity chef known for his Iron Chef America appearances, suddenly has a reduced presence in Chicago. His South Loop restaurant, Mercat a la Planxa, was closed for renovations. Garces also is no longer involved in Latinicity, the Latin American food court off State Street in the Block 37 development. Celebrity chef Richard Sandoval, who is working with the Conrad Hotels in River North on their restaurant projects, confirmed Garces’ departure. Sandoval continues to be involved with Latinicity.
UPDATE: Mercat a la Planxa has reopened.