One of Chicago’s most-successful restaurant companies, Boka Restaurant Group, has opened their first Gold Coast restaurant, Somerset, adjacent to the new Viceroy Hotel. Despite the neighborhood’s sometimes finicky tastes, Boka promises approachable food. However, the interiors feature lavish touches including a 40-foot ceiling and a late-60s “All-American” yacht club feel.
Boka’s Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz know that the restaurant world can be an unpredictable one. They’ve been coveting a Gold Coast location for years. The Viceroy Hotel is at the corner of State and Cedar streets, where the Cedar Hotel and Melvin B’s — the infamous bar with an outdoor terrace overlooking State Street — once stood. While Melvin B’s was great for post-college kids wanting to people watch, Somerset’s target demographic is more sophisticated. However, the neon Cedar Hotel sign has been saved, proudly on display on the second floor.
Lee Wolen wears two chef hats. He’s handling food duties at Somerset, as well as Boka’s namesake Michelin-starred restaurant in Lincoln Park. Somerset will serve a variety of wood-grilled items including roast chicken, and also an intriguing fried chicken basket with “limited availability.” Lighter veggie-friendly dishes include a smoked-beet tartare and broccoli with black garlic and almonds. Since it will serve hotel guests, Somerset will have weekday breakfast and lunch, as well as weekend brunch. Desserts should be on point thanks to the award-winning work of pastry chef Meg Galus.
The firm that designed Boka’s Duck Duck Goat, Swift and Sons, and Momotaro — AvroKo — also designed Somerset. The restaurant seats 180 people indoors, and 90 outside. Boka will also open a rooftop bar, Devereaux, on the Viceroy’s 18th floor. Barman Lee Zaremba (Billy Sunday) will mix Playboy Club-inspired vintage drinks.
Take a look at the photos and the menu below. Somerset is now open in Gold Coast.
Somerset, 1112 N. State St., next to the Viceroy Hotel, open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends. Reservations available via OpenTable.