The era of elaborate menus is waning and Four Corners Tavern Group’s upcoming restaurant inside the Talbott Hotel continues that trend. The new restaurant, 20 East, should open on May 1 along with the rest of the hotel which has been closed since Jan. 1 for renovations. The menu at 20 East, developed with help from Hogsalt Hospitality (Au Cheval), will feature cleaner and healthier food, ushering in a more modern vibe at 20 E. Delaware Place in the Gold Coast.
“The old thought of a Gold Coast restaurant was a big menu with 500 different things,” Four Corners culinary director Ryan Devitt said. “We’re different with 17 to 23; we definitely aren’t going in that direction.”
Devitt promised a more modern experience for the neighborhood with an unbuttoned atmosphere. The restaurant replaces Mercadito Kitchen which has been closed for almost a year and a half. The Talbott Hotel and Four Corners officials last week hosted a media walkthrough of the under-construction space. The 80-seat space features large windows that swing out and a variety of seating options. Designers want to give visitors versatility with nooks and communal tables. There’s a second room with a fireplace that flows to the entrance to the sidewalk patio which will open a few weeks after the restaurant debuts.
The menu is described as familiar American foods prepared with French technique. Four Corners staff has learned much collaborating with Hogsalt at SteakBar in Old Town and Federales in the West Loop. Hogsalt is only a food consultant on 20 East and Devitt talked about the group’s influence. Take 20 East’s burger. It’s a single patty (unlike Au Cheval’s famous double stack). But they’re using the same quality beef and using similar techniques including how the beef is seared and how the meat rests after cooking. Hotel guests can even order room service and get that burger and other items. Shake Shack showed when they started burger room service inside the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, there is a market for premium burgers inside hotels.
The restaurant will also feature a grab-and-go counter with pastries, including doughnuts, from Four Corners’ executive pastry chef Amy Arnold. They’ll pour a special Metropolis Coffee blend Hogsalt uses at their coffee shops. Devitt also touted Arnold’s desserts, highlighting a chocolate mousse cake that he called destination worthy: “It’s light, airy, and still rich and decadent. It’s a really fun end to your evening.”
Though Four Corners is bar focused, Devitt insists they don’t live in a vacuum. They pay attention to culinary trends and want to ensure their kitchens are up to date. The salads will use fresh and sustainable ingredients. “We want to offer exactly what guests want,” Devitt said.
For more on the hotel renovations, check out Curbed Chicago.