One Off Hospitality’s Terry Alexander collects coasters and that hobby—plus a trip to California—helped give Publican chef Cosmo Goss and Nico Osteria chef Erling Wu-Bower the new name for their upcoming River North restaurant. It’s called Pacific Standard Time, embracing a more laid-back West Coast philosophy with plenty of fresh veggies and baked fish. It’s pegged to open in the fall, possibly November, inside the former Tavernita space, 151 W. Erie St.
One Off is partnering with Goss and Wu-Bower on the new restaurant—the two chefs have formed their own company, Underscore Hospitality, alongside a third partner, Joshua Tilden, One Off’s strategic operations director. The collaboration necessitated an R&D trip, so One Off’s Alexander, Paul Kahan, and Donnie Madia traveled to California with the Underscore trio. Luck struck the first night of the trip as Alexander pulled out his collected coasters and spelled out “Pacific Standard Time.”
“We loved it immediately,” Goss said on Monday. “But then we said we couldn’t go with the first thing that we loved. So we waited a month for everybody to come up with more ideas. But I don’t think there was anything better than ‘Pacific Standard Time.’”
Chicagoans are anxiously awaiting what the talented chef duo of Goss and Wu-Bower have planned. Whole oven-roasted fish—using the same sustainable practices Goss used at Publican—and house-made flatbreads will be part of the menu. The name represents the desire to transport Chicagoans from their bustling metropolis back to the more-relaxed vibes of California.
“Light, fresh, bright produce,” Goss said. “I just met with the woman who runs the Santa Monica farmer’s market about getting two truckloads a week of Santa Monica farmer’s market produce into Chicago. That was my big win of the week.”
Not to say that the new restaurant won’t feature plenty of food from local growers. Goss estimates they’ll use local farmers about 99 percent of the time, but they’re obviously limited when it comes to growing citrus and avocados during the colder months.
“It’s the way I shop, too, it’s way I eat with my wife,” Goss said. “I think there’s the stereotype that people that cook go home and eat cheeseburgers or whatever. But I like to eat really healthy at home. I eat vegetables most of the time with my wife. I know Erling takes a lot of care in what he prepares for his child and his family, and I know Paul’s been doing that for years.”
They’ll try out some new dishes next month in New York, part of the Seaport Food Lab pop-up from June 19 through July 2. Goss said he’s “the most-excited that he’s ever been.” But the New York pop-up won’t be a pure preview of what to expect in Chicago.
“We’re planning on a November opening and we’re going over to cook summer food,” Goss said. “It’s not like anything we’re doing in New York we’re going to do in November.”