Venture capitalist and tech entrepreneur Kimbal Musk has big plans in the Chicago area for his healthy, “urban casual” restaurant brand. Musk, brother to Elon Musk and board member at Tesla and SpaceX, is planning to open 20 Chicagoland locations of his Next Door restaurant brand as part of a massive national rollout of the burgeoning chain that he hopes will replace T.G.I. Friday’s and Applebee’s. The first Next Door is coming to suburban Vernon Hills next spring.
Next Door is a growing Colorado-based chain that focuses on affordable “garden-to-table” fare and prides itself on its relationships with local farmers and communities. Its menus offer snacks, soups, salads, sandwiches, bowls and burgers which utilize locally-raised produce and meats and range in price from roughly $8-20, as well as full bars. Its most popular menu items are the “Pineapple Express Burger Bar,” kale chips, and roasted veggie bowl, reps say. The brand currently has five locations open in Colorado, one in Memphis, and one in Indianapolis.
But many, many more of the restaurants are slated to open in Chicagoland and around the country — Musk told Crain’s that he thinks he can open 20 locally and more than 2,000 nationwide. He plans to get the first in Vernon Hills running smoothly before he expands to other suburbs and the city, specifically mentioning River North. Musk already has a restaurant in River North — The Kitchen, his more upscale restaurant brand, opened at 316 N. Clark Street in October 2014.
Until he finalizes plans for more restaurants, expect the Vernon Hills location to join Kuma’s Corner, Whole Foods, City Works Eatery & Pour House, City Barbeque, and more in the new suburban retail development Mellody Farm that’s under construction on the Des Plaines River, the Tribune reports. Then stay tuned for more details on the many, many more restaurants Musk is planning to open in Chicagoland.