Tapas are only the tip of the iceberg for José Andrés’s plans in Chicago. The beloved chef and activist who’s already set to open Jaleo — his first full-service Chicago restaurant — later in 2020 is also planning to open a prominent new restaurant with one the city’s most successful hospitality companies, Gibsons Restaurant Group. Andrés’s ThinkFoodGroup and Gibsons have signed a lease for a 17,200-square-foot space inside the new Bank of America Tower, on Wacker Drive off the Chicago River’s South Branch, according to a news release.
The project includes plans for a fine dining restaurant with “an elevated cocktail bar experience,” according to the news release. More details, including its name and style of cuisine, have yet to be revealed. The collaboration also calls for Andrés and Gibsons to handle catering for the building’s third-floor 10,000-square-foot private event space that has room for 400. Workers should complete the building at 110 N. Wacker Drive in October, but the restaurant won’t be open until next year, according to a Gibsons rep. Multiple restaurants will occupy the buildings three levels on river, street, and second floor.
A Gibsons rep said the building will house multiple restaurants. At 815 feet, the Bank of America tower is slated to become Chicago’s tallest office building that construction crews have built since 1990. The tower will cost nearly $800 million, according to the Tribune, which first reported the story.
Andrés, the Spanish native who is now based out of Washington, D.C., is as well known for his humanitarian efforts as he is for his food. His charity work with hurricane victims has made global headlines and he was a Nobel Peace Price nominee. His food has earned Michelin stars.
Gibsons, owned by the Lombardo family, is Chicago restaurant royalty. The flagship Gold Coast steakhouse is an Eater Chicago 38 member, serving gargantuan cuts of red meat with an old-school vibe. It’s the highest-grossing independent restaurant in Chicago. The company showed it could modernize when it opened Gibsons Italia, a flashy restaurant with a retractable roof and views of the Chicago River to the east. In partnering with Gibsons, Andrés has found a local operator with deep Chicago roots.
Riverfront dining in Chicago is an emerging trend. Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises this month should finally open RPM Seafood. Other recent openings include Cafe Bonhomme, and the aforementioned Gibsons Italia which opened in 2017.
Andrés’s fast-casual restaurant, Beefsteak, debuted last year in Chicago. Jaleo, which has multiple locations across the country, could open mid-2020. But this new project with Gibsons seems tailor-made for the Chicago market.
Stay tuned for more details.