Ten months after chef Curtis Duffy left Grace, forcing the West Loop fine dining mecca to close, news has surfaced on his next project. As Duffy waits for his non-compete clause to dissolve, he’s prepping to open a restaurant in nearby Fulton Market. He’s reached a deal to take over a new space at 1330 W. Fulton Market, according to the Tribune.
The restaurant would be on the ground floor of Fulton West, a nine-story office building from Sterling Bay. Sterling Bay, which has a restaurant/bar branch — Four Corners — is one of the most prominent developers in the city and responsible for dozens of projects in the West Loop and Fulton Market. That being said, there are no details on the restaurant that have been released just yet.
Grace’s closure at the end of December 2017 was one of Chicago’s biggest stories in the restaurant industry. Duffy, an acclaimed chef who gained celebrity, had been trying to buy the restaurant from owner Michael Olszewski, a real estate developer. Duffy and Grace GM Michael Muser grew frustrated and couldn’t negotiate an agreement. That led to Duffy leaving the restaurant with the rest of the kitchen staff walking out in solidarity.
Olszewski then closed Grace and they’ve spent some time in court. Duffy and Muser’s contracts include clauses preventing them from opening a restaurant in Chicago and the neighboring suburbs until mid-2019. Meanwhile, the Grace space should soon see life again as Yugen, a modern Japanese restaurant.
At the time of its closing, Grace was one of two Chicago restaurants with a full three-star rating from Michelin. Alinea in Lincoln Park is now the only restaurant with three stars in Chicago. Former Grace employees have hinted at Duffy’s plans for the last several months.
The Trib didn’t have any more information on the restaurant. Messages to reps for Duffy and Olszewski weren’t immediately returned. Check back for updates.