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Inside Split-Rail, A Nostalgic Love Letter to American Cuisine in West Town

Former Ada Street chef Zoë Schor aims to rekindle the magic of yesteryear

Nick Fochtman

Zoë Schor is growing her vinyl collection. Diners will hear those records when the former Ada Street chef opens her new West Town restaurant, Split-Rail, on Monday, June 12 at 2500 W. Chicago Ave.

The space, which once housed Clyde’s Donuts, has been transformed to match the warm feeling Schor’s menu aims to give guests. Its throwback decor includes Persian rugs, plants, and a variety of photos and paintings depicting scenes of classic Americana hang on the walls. Equestrian drawings of galloping horses decorate the yellow banquette backs that are juxtaposed by crimson-painted walls opposite a light-drenched ornate bar.

The dining room has room for about 110 people, while a private room will hold 30. Schor will eventually add outdoor seating too.

Schor described her menu as food her parents grew up with—fun comfort foods that tap into American nostalgia. Using the term “New Americana” to describe Split-Rail’s food, she’ll serve heartwarming items such as chicken nuggets: “They’re delicious and soul satisfying,” Schor said. She said she may eventually serve her own doughnuts for dessert, an homage of sorts to the building’s previous restaurant.

Vinyl music plays a big part at Ada Street, and tunes will also play a large role at Split-Rail. When cooking at home, Schor prefers to set the mood by listening to entire albums rather than setting the playlist to random. That whole-album philosophy will apply to Split-Rail where guests will hear a variety of soulful artists from Miles Davis to Tracy Chapman to Regina Spektor.

Check out the photos below, and check out Schor’s first highly-anticipated restaurant in person in less than a week.


2500 West Chicago Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 697-4413 Visit Website