The upcoming Ace Hotel, 311 N. Morgan St., in Fulton Market is the talk of the food industry in Chicago, already securing Giant’s Jason Vincent as a partner for the hotel’s ground-floor restaurant. Now Vincent, still riding the success of his acclaimed Logan Square restaurant, is enlisting the help of his friends. He’s brought Pat Sheerin onboard as the hotel’s executive chef. Sheerin was last seen working in Bucktown over at Trenchermen.
The restaurant will feature brunch service every day, and Sheerin wants the space to be kind of a living room for customers, drawing from all of Chicago, not just nearby locals. Sheerin texted Vincent of his interest in the job even before Vincent had finalized his agreement with Ace. Sheerin’s possible involvement persuaded Vincent to sign up.
“Pat’s unbelievable at what he does,” Vincent said. “He’s had my respect for years and years and years.”
The restaurant, which will start service sometime before the hotel officially opens on Sept. 1, still doesn’t have a name. Ace set up a website for updates. The company’s focus on hospitality attracted Sheerin, who said Ace company culture is leaps and bounds above most restaurant groups.
“It’s not about the check average, it’s about making relationships—that was it for me,” Sheerin said. “I get more satisfaction when the guests come back and by getting to know them.”
Besides brunch, Sheerin also plans a late-night menu and lounge snacks. Sample menu items include a “gas station sandwich” made with hash browns, American cheese and eggs on an English muffin. For the evenings, there’s Dungeness crab with tomatoes, sweet butter, and house bread. Sandwich selections include a lobster BLT and a turkey grinder.
Vincent and partner Ben Lustbader are assembling a team with complementary skills. Vincent and Sheerin talked about the need to set aside kitchen egos. That means having no apprehensions about asking friends in the industry for help on certain dishes: “I hear Pat’s brother is a decent chef,” Vincent said with a laugh, referring to Mike Sheerin, the current chef at Rockit Bar & Grill in River North.
But chemistry and friendship aren’t the only things important. There may be a mutual-admiration society convening at the Ace, but it’s nothing without kitchen skills.
“If you can’t make an omelette, then who cares,” Vincent said.