Six months after telling the public that they intend to open a cocktail bar, the team from Oriole — including acclaimed bartender Julia Momose — have finally revealed the location of their hotly anticipated project. A city liquor license application revealed that Kumiko will open at 630 W. Lake Street. It’s on the northeast corner of Lake and Desplaines, less than a block east of another acclaimed bar, Moneygun. It’s to be an intimate and unique space with a tidy selection of about 15 drinks. The bar’s ticketed for an early summer opening.
Momose, a 2016 Eater Young Gun, left her job overseeing drinks at GreenRiver in Streeterville to pursue other projects, and Kumiko is one of them. Here Momose dips into her Japanese roots for inspiration, presenting a bar in the omakase vein. High-end cocktail bars are a rarity in Chicago with exception of a few acclaimed spots including the Aviary in Fulton Market and the Milk Room inside the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. Kumiko is one of Chicago’s most anticipated openings.
Collaborating with Momose are Oriole chef Noah and GM Cara Sandoval, as the latter is helping Momose design the space and will handle front of house duties. Meanwhile chef is preparing a menu to complement Momose’s drinks. Momose is a champion of spirit-free drinks, and recently declared her disdain for the word “mocktail.” She contends that alcohol-free drinks are as proper as those that include alcohol. There’s no need to evoke negativity.
While Momose and team have been active on social media with peeks inside the construction zone, including photographs taken by her husband, Sammy Faze, she and the Sandovals haven’t provided an official update on Kumiko in a while. A note to a spokesperson wasn’t immediately returned.
Oriole is a Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant in the West Loop. Its sibling hopes to garner just as much attention with drinkers. Stay tuned for more updates as Kumiko approaches its debut.