River Roast, Tony Mantuano (Spiaggia) and John Hogan’s four-year-old restaurant in River North along the Chicago River, has unveiled a surprise — a new bar/coffee shop on the ground floor, just before customers walk down toward the restaurant’s main dining room. Reid Bar officially opens on Friday with Dark Matter coffee and gourmet doughnut holes.
Customers will enter through River Roast’s main door at 315 N. LaSalle Drive and veer off to the right before reaching Reid Bar’s host stand. A news release explained ownership wants a speakeasy vibe with boozy drinks inspired by coffee. At night, they’ll focus more on the drinks and have a full menu of burgers, a prime rib sandwich, and terrines and toasts.
But don’t underestimate the power of those doughnut holes which aren’t run of the mill Munchkins. They touted flavors including bourbon-barrel smoked sugar, mint julep Demerara, chocolate chili, and maple sugar. They’ll come in cake or brioche varieties. Some can even be served as cocktail garnishes. While Dark Matter handles the java, Rare Tea Cellars will supply teas and matcha. Reid Bar will also have kombucha and fresh juices.
River North was somewhat of a Red Light District for Chicago in the mid-1900s, and Reid Bar has a subtle reference to that history. Every night, Wednesday through Sunday, when bartenders start slinging cocktails like the Negroni di Mantuano (reposado tequila, aperitivo, Vermouth di Torino, espresso) they’ll switch on an exterior red light. Customers will then know it’s time.
For tomorrow’s opening at 7:30 a.m., the first 50 customers who order coffee will get free doughnut holes. Not a bad way to start out a Friday.
Reid Bar, 315 N. LaSalle Drive, coffee bar open 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on weekdays; 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on weekends; cocktail bar open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday; 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.