Politan Row, the food hall neighboring McDonald’s headquarters in the West Loop, is targeting a mid-May opening at 111 N. Aberdeen Street. This is Chicago’s spinoff of New Orleans’s St. Roch Market and the food hall’s management has announced a batch of four new vendors including a new project from the owner of Ravenswood’s smash hit Bayan Ko.
The company behind the hall is called Politan Group. Company co-founder Will Donaldson is excited to be in Chicago. He touted the space’s beer garden (called Perle). While they’re keeping a German aesthetic, don’t expect to conjure images of lederhosen in the garden. Donaldson said it’s a playful riff on New Wave and they’re using Bauhaus for inspiration with monochromatic matte black elements: “I guess you’ll just have to see it,” Donaldson said.
Unlike food halls in New Orleans and Miami, Chicago’s bar top will be black. Sophie Burton (Big Star, Cindy’s, Dove’s Luncheonette) is head of the bar program. Donaldson mentioned they’re working on an app that will allow customers to order from their seats. Food runners will bring orders directly to customers who won’t have to worry about disrupting their time with their friends to get in line for food. Given the bandwidth needed for that, expect Politan Row to overall have strong WiFi for customers.
Politan Row will also have a chef’s table in the corner for special dinners, Donaldson said. Another notable touch is a chandelier made from a plumbers’ chain. It sounds ridiculous to use a toiler flapper chain, but Donaldson said they were inspired by the local plumbers’s union in the West Loop: “I think it’s pretty,” Donaldson said.
Here are the previously announced restaurants. Donaldson said they’ve got one more vendor to reveal. Stay tuned for more news, but for now, here’s a rundown of the four newly announced restaurants:
While Bayan Ko is a mix of Cuban and Filipino food, owners Lawrence Letrero and Raquel Quadreny will dish out Cuban food at their new Politan Row restaurant. Letrero said he didn’t want to compete with any Asian food vendors in the hall. Expect a version of Bayan Ko’s Cuban sandwich to pop up in the West Loop. They’ll also serve ropa vieja and croquetas.
Kelly Ijichi (a former sous chef at Michelin-starred Parachute) and personal chef Randi Howry are teaming up serving Japanese comfort food including a pork katsu sandwich. Donaldson called the sandwich “off the charts good.”
The Fat Shallot’s sandwiches are well known as Sarah Weitz and Sam Barron have a food truck, a spot at Revival Food Hall, and a restaurant in Lincoln Park. They’re going more healthy with Smashed Radish which will feature an assortment of smoothies and salads.
Cafe Tola’s empanadas are found at a variety of places including restaurants in Avondale, Lakeview, Logan Square, and River North. Now chef/owner Victoria Salamanca is focusing on street tacos and pozole at Politan Row. There will also be breakfast tacos.