Back in March, chef Trevor Teich said he hoped to open his new fine dining restaurant, Claudia, on the North Side — perhaps in Lincoln Square. Teich has since pivoted and will now open his restaurant in the West Loop. Claudia, originally a pop-up dinner series, will serve its first meal on October 25 at 540 W. Madison Avenue.
“It ended not being the right place to call home for various reasons,” Teich said. “And then this came along, and it was just perfect.”
Reservations are live on Tock. Teich found the space through Art Mendoza. Art and son Tyler Mendoza ran Untitled in River North and have since moved on to open Slightly Toasted and Little Toasted in West Loop. Art Mendoza and Teich are now partners.
Claudia’s new space is intimate with eight tables. That’s a change from the communal seating the pop-up featured. Teich said he’s taking a cue from chef Philip Foss’s service style at EL Ideas. Guests will be served all at once. There will be more individualized service compared to the pop-up — servers won’t address the dining room all at once to describe the food.
Claudia will serve a 10-course dinner with some of Teich’s favorites, including a version of the pop-up’s bento box that comes with canapés. He intends to amp up what worked at the pop-up and refine the storytelling component, which is what helps make Claudia unique.
Teich moved to Las Vegas after struggling to find a Chicago space and worked at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. The Midwest called the Chicago-area native back home last year and he’s been searching for potential restaurant spaces. Claudia was one of the best-reviewed pop-ups.
The restaurant will start as a BYO operation with a three-wine bottle limit and suggested pairings for customers to bring along. Eventually, they’ll offer their own pairings — Teich has hired Alexander Carlin as Claudia’s general manager/sommelier. Carlin last worked at Eleven Eleven and was a consultant. Teich has worked with his sous chef, Katie Wilson, for years. She’s worked at Bottlefork with Kevin Hickey (the Duck Inn) in River North.
Just a few weeks ago, the Michelin Guide announced its coveted star list for Chicago. A fine-dining space like Claudia may interest Michelin inspectors, but Teich doesn’t want to get trapped in the star chase. The honor does excite him, but awards will come with time.
“We’re just focused on what we can do, but I think it would be more meaningful for friends and family.”
A meal costs $185 per person, and there’s a $35 corkage fee. Staff will start serving three days a week, but will eventually add a fourth. Stay tuned for more details on this comeback story.