It seems almost every major Chicago restaurant company has announced a project near Wrigley Field in recent times — even Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon is opening one. So where does that leave Boka Restaurant Group, the revered company behind a parade of hits including The Girl and the Goat in the West Loop and GT Fish & Oyster in River North? Well, they’ll unveil a new restaurant across from Wrigley’s famous marquee, hopefully in May, according to Boka’s Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz. The pair buried their plans for the new Wrigleyville restaurant in a brief segment contained in a video played at a Boka employee holiday party.
A Boka spokesperson acknowledged the video last week. It’s since been taken down from YouTube. The company isn’t ready to share details and hasn’t released a name.
Boehm and Katz are huge Cubs fans. The day after the Cubs won the World Series in 2016, they served roasted goat from chef Stephanie Izard at Wrigley Field so Cubs’ GM Theo Epstein and other execs could savor the end of the Billy Goat curse.
The announcement came toward the end of the video, as Katz and Boehm gave employees a sense of what to expect from company in 2018. The Wrigley project is Boka’s only opening that’s slated for 2018 as of right now. The restaurant could be part of the Cubs’ owners continued plan to give Wrigleyville a facelift, as the Ricketts family has overseen several new construction projects around the stadium, including a plaza adjacent to Wrigley Field. Some have expressed worries that small business owners, including bar and restaurant operators, are being pushed out of the neighborhood.
Boka operates 15 restaurants and bars in the Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, Fulton Market, River North, and the West Loop. Another, Balena in Lincoln Park, has been closed since a fire in August 2017.
Pitchers and catchers report for the Cubs (and White Sox) on Wednesday, marking the unofficial start of the baseball season. The May opening timeframe from Boka isn’t official. Stay tuned for more news on the new restaurant as Opening Day approaches.
The following is a transcript from the deleted video:
Rob Katz: The future is going to be B-U-S-Y. There’s lot going on, but the good news — I think really — for us is that 2018, right now we do have just one project. We’re very excited about it. It’s going to open…What, May of 2018? We feel good about the fact that there’s just one. Now there’s a little bit of runaway...
Kevin Boehm: ...And the only thing we’re going to overlook at this restaurant run is Wrigley Field.
Katz: That’s it. Right over the sign at Wrigley: Clark and Addison.
Boehm: ...Thirty-three feet from home plate. (Editor’s note: It’s unclear if Boehm meant 33 feet from the stadium, not the actual home plate on the field)
CORRECTION: This story was edited after a Boka spokesperson said the restaurant is not inside the Hotel Zachary.