Untitled reopens Friday in River North for the first time since March to unveil a renovated space for indoor service only. The 9-year-old club now features an Art Deco aesthetic, a prix-fixe menu, and live performances. Dining capacity will be limited to 50 people per room, with parties spaced at least six feet apart.
During Chicago’s stay-at-home order and in the months since, a crew’s revamped the 18,000 square-foot subterranean space. Gone is the speakeasy-style joint meant to conjure images of glamorized gangsters and Prohibition. The new look is designed to evoke the flip-side of the 1920s-era coin: a glittering cabaret reminiscent of the Great Gatsby and supper club laden with feathers and a crystal chandelier.
“I like to think of it as a wardrobe change,” says Marc Bushala, president of parent group Atomic Hospitality (Recess, Morgan Mfg). “It’s jewel tones, it’s brass, it’s chandeliers instead of rusted lampshades — not bathtub gin, but champagne.”
Regulars may notice some substantial reconfigurations: staff have moved Untitled’s whiskey bar to the foot of the staircase to greet patrons as they descend. It was previously housed in the Library, once outfitted with dark leather upholstery and industrial light fixtures. Now the space is covered in emerald velvet and features a pink marble bar.
Other updates include an Art Deco-style frame around the stage where burlesque dancers and other performers appear, antique mirrors, and a pink ostrich plume chandelier. The restaurant was originally slated to reopen with three performances per night. Now there’s just one at 6 p.m., according to a rep, because of a new “business curfew” issued Thursday by Mayor Lori Lightfoot that requires restaurants to close dining rooms at 10 p.m.
Executive chef David Gebhardt (Katana) has created a five-course Italian prix fixe menu for $55 without a view of the stage, or $65 with entertainment. All diners start with a course of arancini (crispy rice, pecorino, cauliflower, spinach), and then choose from a short selection of appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts. Main course options include rabbit saltimbocca (rabbit loin, prosciutto, mashed potatoes, pickled asparagus) and grilled whole Atlantic mackerel (charred cherry tomatoes, salsa verde). Beverage options include classic cocktails like Manhattans, Sazeracs, and four whiskey flights.
Bushala says he’s thought about reimagining Untitled for some time. When the pandemic and stay-at-home order closed dining rooms across the state, he knew there was never going to be a better time to implement substantial changes. The renovation ultimately took five months.
While many upscale Chicago restaurants have redirected their efforts toward casual carryout and delivery operations during the pandemic, Bushala is planning ahead for a post-pandemic era when he hopes diners will want special, luxurious experiences. His approach is similar to that of owners at BLVD, a glitzy old Hollywood-themed Fulton Market restaurant and lounge that reopened in August as a fancy steakhouse.
“My view was, we have a very long-term lease and we had a good run for nearly a decade, so it’s a good time to reinvest and hopefully wait out the storm,” he says. “When things get better, I hope to have a place that people are excited to rediscover.”
Untitled reopens with three dinner seatings per night. Tickets and reservations are available online. Read the menu below.
Untitled, 111 W. Kinzie Street, Open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday.