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Rascal Flatts-Themed Restaurant/Country Music Venue May Open in Chicago

Is Fulton Market becoming an entertainment district?

2017 iHeartCountry Festival, A Music Experience By AT&T - Show
Rascal Flatts
Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images for iHeartMedia
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Country music stars Rascal Flatts have their eyes set on opening a bar/restaurant in Fulton Market, according to a published report. The Ohio-based country trio is looking at a space at the corner of Fulton and Green, according to Crain’s. The venue would be the first country themed spot in the neighborhood.

Rascal Flatts have released seven Platinum-selling albums since debuting in 1999. However, a June performance before the NBA Finals introduced the band of Cleveland Cavaliers fans to many. The only location of their would-be chain, simply called Rascal Flatts, opened in July in Stamford, Connecticut. The proposed Chicago space is at 816-820 W. Fulton Market, according to Crain’s.

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The band has designs on licensing their name for a chain of restaurants across the country with planned locations in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and more. The southern-inspired menu in Stamford features sandwiches, burgers, and entrees like slow-cooked apricot ribs.

Crain’s touted a live-music component, as the Stamford location does host country concerts. Right now, City Winery is the only bonafide live music venue in the area. An attempt to open a Brooklyn Bowl floundered, as Punch Bowl Social has taken over the space. There hasn’t been an update on when Punch Bowl would open at 832 W. Fulton Market. They were targeting an October opening.

Country music has been a reliable money maker for Chicago restaurant owners. Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises has Bub City locations in River North and in suburban Rosemont. Coincidentally, LEYE took over the Rosemont space from a bar licensed by country star Toby Keith (the place closed in spectacular fashion). Wrigleyville is home to the Country Club, and the owners of Chicago Q have plans for a country bar/restaurant in River North at the former Reza’s Restaurant space.

Rascal Flatts isn’t the only band looking to open a spot in Chicago. Kiss members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons stuck out their tongues in July and said they were interested in opening a Chicago restaurant.