Despite recent buzz in the West Loop with Ramen-san and chef CJ Jacobson’s new restaurant, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises hasn’t forgotten about its loyal customers in River North where Chicago’s largest restaurant company runs 25 restaurants. The company is poised to make it 26 as it’s taking over the former Bottlefork space at 441 N. Clark Street. Rockit Ranch’s Billy Dec shuttered the restaurant in October, now Rich Melman and LEYE are opening a new restaurant/bar in the space that appears to be named Bar Ramone.
LEYE filed a trademark last month for the Bar Ramone name. But the filing didn’t include any details on what the company is planning. There’s also a liquor license application filed with the city that has Richard Melman and two partners’ names on it. A message to the company’s PR department wasn’t returned.
River North is a hub for LEYE. Besides Bar Ramone, there’s a plans for two more restaurants along the Chicago River in the former Bridge House Tavern. RPM on the Water is the name of one of the restaurants going inside the two-level space. There’s no info available on the second. Lettuce’s barbecue spot Bub City is also next door to the former Bottlefork space, which was previously Rockit’s barbecue spot Dragon Ranch.
Feel free to speculate what the new restaurant may be: Perhaps it’s an homage to the Ramones, the ‘80s punk rockers. Maybe LEYE is giving a long-time LEYE employee a shot, the same way it did last week when it opened Ozzie’s Pops and Pretzels at Navy Pier. If LEYE divulges details, the story will be updated.