If the bar and restaurant company formerly known as Four Corners Tavern Group has its way, patrons in Miami, Nashville, Austin, Texas, and Las Vegas will soon feel the exhilaration of throwing empty shot glasses of tequila at a bell. That’s the bro tradition at Federales in Fulton Market and Four Corners has announced plans to open multiple locations across the city and country. The company, which also runs Benchmark in Old Town and Brickhouse Tavern in front of Wrigley Field, has also shortened its official name to Four Corners.
Locally, Four Corners is planning to open a pair of new Federales: One on the North Side and another inside the upcoming Lincoln Yards development. They’ve also announced they’ve taken over Motel Bar at 600 W. Chicago Avenue in River West. They’re renovating the space and should reopen this summer, according to a news release.
Meanwhile, Chicagoans who have been tormented by the question “will the world ever be feted with more Federales locations?” have their answer. The bar takes Big Star’s Wicker Park model of tacos, booze, and a large outdoor space and aims it at more of a post-college crowd. The place is packed for St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo and staff will set up giant piñatas for patrons to celebrate both days. Federales opened two years ago with a retractable roof and a space that could blend in with the rest of the pricey build-outs in the area.
Four Corners includes 15 restaurant and bars and the company debuted 17 years ago. Its expansion plans shouldn’t be surprising. Ownership has the deep pockets of one of Chicago’s biggest developers supporting them. Sterling Bay — the company behind the massive Lincoln Yards development — which includes residential, corporate, and entertainment components along the Elston Industrial Corridor, is also behind Four Corners. Four Corners co-founders Matt Menna and Andy Gloor are Sterling Bay principals.
But beyond Sterling Bay’s financial muscle, they also have a partnership with the man behind one of city’s most successful restaurant groups. Most Chicagoans know Brendan Sodikoff from Au Cheval and its popular burgers on Randolph Street. He’s also behind High Five Ramen and Maude’s Liquor Bar in the West Loop, among other restaurants. Sodikoff confirmed he’s entered into partnership with Four Corners, as his team at Hogsalt Hospitality helped developed the menus at Federales. Four Corners’ money could be useful if Sodikoff would want to take his mini-burger chain, Small Cheval, national. Such an expansion has been previously suggested.
The Tribune first reported the news, and within the paper’s report contains some curious material attributed to Sam Toia, the president of the Illinois Restaurant Association. Toia, through paraphrasing, said that Four Corners appeals to younger crowds, “particularly the overlooked Latino demographic.” A spokesperson for the IRA told Eater Chicago that Toia was talking about Four Corners’ full portfolio of restaurants and bars, not just Federales. Federales offers customers tacos and tequila, and singling them out like that would be akin to saying Olive Garden appeals to the Italian-American demographic.
Stay tuned for more on the new locations.