Years ago, the stretch of Grand Avenue, near Ogden, was bustling — especially at night. The area was home to a vibrant mix of restaurants and bars like the Grandview Tavern and Beer Garden. AMK Restaurant Group, the team behind AMK Restaurant Bar in Bucktown and the upcoming Sam Hill Eatery & Saloon in the West Loop, want to restore some of that luster by opening a new Mexican restaurant in the Grandview space. The Gringo should open in May at 1202 W. Grand Avenue.
AMK executive chef Barney Smith is working on a menu of tacos, elotes, and taking a page from La Bodega Del Barrio, Barrio’s River North sidekick, he’ll serve unique churros garnished with toppings like Lucky Charms cereal. A news release touts a fried chicken burrito. The release preferred to describe itself as “Mexican inspired” rather than deal with any trappings of authenticity.
The insides are currently gutted, but management wants to bring some natural light into the space and preserve the vintage cherrywood bar. They’ll have room for 60 people inside and install black and white Spanish-style floor tiles.
But the real prize is the 80-seat patio that once roared during Grandview’s heyday. They’ll keep the ivy and add a back bar. One of Grandview’s neighbors compared the garden to the beautiful tree-lined space at Moody’s Pub in Edgewater. The Gringo’s drink list with include frozen slushies including rosé and mezcal cocktails.
AMK founder Steven Tsonis and partners Ryan Kowalis and Jon Ruiz have been quietly working on the project, transforming the venue that’s been a restaurant/bar for most of the last 50-plus years. Check out what AMK does with the space in May and keep it here for more details.