Last December, former 42 Grams chef and co-owner Jacob Bickelhaupt resurfaced with plans to open a new Bucktown restaurant. Now he’s revealed the restaurant’s name and address. Stone Flower is pegged for a spring opening inside the former Dixie space on 1952 N. Damen Avenue. 42 Grams, a Michelin-starred restaurant, closed in 2017 in Uptown after Bickelhaupt attacked his business partner.
Bickelhaupt pled guilty to misdemeanor battery and was sentenced to conditional release in June of 2017 after he struck ex-wife Alexa Welsh with a bottle and caused injuries that needed stitches. The sentence came just months after Michelin inspectors once again awarded 42 Grams two stars. The restaurant shuttered in June and disappeared from the Michelin guide in October 2017.
Now Bickelhaupt will operate a restaurant again in the same space that once housed contemporary Southern restaurant Dixie from chef/owner Charlie McKenna (Lillie’s Q). Prior to that, it housed Takashi, the Michelin-starred restaurant named for famous Japanese chef Takashi Yagihashi. Scylla, the restaurant owned by Iron Chef Stephanie Izard before her Top Chef and Girl & the Goat fame, also called the space home. Despite the talent that’s worked inside the two-level space, it hasn’t found a tenant with long-time staying power. Bickelhaupt hopes to change that with Stone Flower, which will include a 12-seat chef’s counter and a tasting menu that “will evolve in the moment based on availability of the finest products [available] locally and around the globe.”
Late last year, without revealing names, Bickelhaupt said he found a single investor who would bankroll his new venture — a place where he wants to continue his pursuit of culinary acclaim. The liquor license application lists Harpal Singh as the collaborator, but it’s not immediately clear if Singh is that investor. Bickelhaupt declined direct comment on Monday, but a public relations firm issued a short news release on his behalf that made no mention of Singh.
There’s a small chance city officials won’t approve the liquor license application due to Bickelhaupt’s criminal history. Although the city’s liquor license ordinance is ambiguous, The city always conducts background checks. Additionally, criminals who have a state or federal felony on their record have to show they’ve been “sufficiently rehabilitated to warrant the public trust.” Bickelhaupt pled guilty to a lesser charge, a misdemeanor, so that last bit doesn’t apply, but he will go through a background check and be fingerprinted.
Now if all goes to plan, Stone Flower will go live this spring. According to its website, it will use a ticketing platform for reservations.