Rumors began swirling three years ago that TAO, the over-the-top clubstaurant, was headed to Chicago. Ownership waited and officially announced their intentions to open inside the historic — and supposedly haunted — building that housed Castle Chicago nightclub before it closed in 2014. Now, it appears TAO could finally open in July at 632 N. Dearborn Street.
Traffic cones and scaffolds surround the massive building at the northwest corner of Ontario and Dearborn. Passersby can’t glimpse the interior and reps haven’t had any updates for months, but workers say the place is coming along and should be ready in July. TAO has restaurants in New York and Las Vegas where they attract big spenders and celebrities. They serve Chinese, Thai, and Japanese food. Dishes include a $91 wagyu ribeye teppanyaki and an $82 Peking duck for two. TAO Vegas is routinely the highest-grossing independent restaurant in America. For 2016, it brought in $42.4 million, according to Restaurant Business.
TAO Group is working with Four Corners Tavern Group as the operators in Chicago. Four Corners has been partnering with a variety of groups including the Cubs and the Ricketts family over in Wrigleyville with The Brickhouse Tavern, and Brendan Sodikoff’s Hogsalt Hospitality with Federales, SteakBar, and 20 East.
The 126-year-old building was the original home to the Chicago Historical Society, which was the original name for the Chicago History Museum. After the historical society moved to Lincoln Park, the building became home to a series of nightclubs including Limelight, Vision, and Excalibur. TAO’s interiors take inspiration from East Asia. It will be quite a change from the space that at separate occasions housed the likes of Rihanna, Moby, and Madonna.
Ownership is keeping a close lid on any details, but check back in this summer for the latest addition to River North’s dining and club scenes.