clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Explore Fort Willow, an Elston Avenue Throwback to Treehouse Forts and Childhood

DMK’s latest opens on Saturday

Fort Willow is about to open along Elston Avenue.
Barry Brecheisen
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.

Fort Willow, the soon-to-be-open restaurant and bar along the Elton Industrial Corridor, wants its adult customers to use their imaginations in the same ways they did as children. The 75-seat restaurant at 1721 N. Elston Avenue should bring back backyard memories when kids played in treehouses. If the metaphor is lost upon diners, don’t fret — there’s a tree that’s sprouting at the end of the bar. It’s one of many design elements aimed to transport customers back to their younger years.

DMK Restaurants already runs Ada Street and Werewolf Coffee Bar nearby, so they’re familiar with the neighborhood. Expects unique cocktails and a menu with global flavors as far as India (vegetable curry) and as close as San Francisco (oysters).

It’s a 2,500-square-foot space designed by Chris Talsma of Filoramo Talsma architects and Arlan DeRussy, a local craftsman. Yes, there’s a swing in the dining room.

Take a look at the photos below. DMK finally late Friday confirmed that Fort Willow is opening on Saturday.

The lit neon sign shows visitors were to walk to off Willow.
Another look at the tree sprouting to the side of the bar.
After a few drinks, the adults can pretend they’re building a treehouse fort.
Barry Brecheisen
The bar has a unique layout.
The tree’s leaves also cover the bar.
DMK wanted to create an immersive experience.
There’s a map on the wall in case customers get lost off the Elston Corridor.
Come get cover at the communal standing table under the tree.
There’s no word if drinking and swinging will be allowed.
Charred broccoli (garlic chips, pickled chilies, spicy peanut sauce)
Crispy cauliflower (serrano-poblano hot sauce)
Labneh with naan (whipped goat cheese, zaatar, lemon)
Fluke crudo (shaved black radish, pickled chilies, scallion vinaigrette)
Bengali daiquiri (rum, grapefruit, Chinese five spice)
Cape Route Mule (turmeric, cumin, coriander)
Flamenco Sketches (rum, lemongrass, ginger, lime)
Vespa (vodka, akvavit, dill, lille, St. Germaine)
Green Tea Punch (whisky, sencha green tea, mint)
Noble Square (rye, curacao, amaro)

Fort Willow

1721 North Elston Avenue, , IL 60642 (773) 687-8898 Visit Website