DMK Restaurant Group planned to open the Exchange — Chicago’s first Japanese-style listening bar — last year, but COVID-19 pushed the project to 2021. Now DMK has altered its plans to give excited diners a peek at of what’s to come with a gourmet market that should open next month.
DMK and James Beard Award nominee Brian Huston (the Publican, Boltwood) will next launch the Arch, a market featuring soups, salads, and sandwiches, pizzas, pastries, and fancy ingredients for carryout and delivery inside the Railway Exchange Building at 224 S. Michigan Avenue. The team’s still at work on the Exchange, one of Chicago’s most anticipated restaurant openings, but with indoor dining only at 25 percent, the Arch represents a creative solution to a complicated situation.
Patrons can expect a seasonal menu items such as a veggie sandwich (burrata, avocado, pickled onions, harissa, baguette) and soups like miso butternut squash, as well as pizzas made with a three-day fermented dough. Huston and head baker Matt Pontarelli (Publican Quality Bread) have wedded their favorite elements of Chicago, Detroit, and Roman pizzas to create unique round pies like the Supreme (sweet Italian sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, zucchini, tomato, mozzarella). They’ll be available to take and bake at home, along with cookie kits and vegan croissants.
The Arch will highlight some of the talent that’s signed on its in-progress sister spot: customers can expect breads, baked goods, and pastries baked daily by Pontarelli and Gabby Sanchez (Bouchon Bakery), an alum of Food Network’s Chopped Sweets. Retail offerings will also include Huston’s bread and butter pickles, pints of ice cream made on-site, growlers of cold brew coffee, and house jams. Ingredients for prepared items will be sourced from regional purveyors like Nichols Farm, Janie’s Mill in Ashkum (nearly 80 miles south of Chicago) and Michigan’s Werp Farms.
Huston and DMK haven’t yet announced an opening date for the Exchange, a project first made public in October 2019. Equipped with a state-of-the-art system, the restaurant will provide a curated vinyl collection to patrons, as well as comfortable seating for maximum musical enjoyment. Ownership had hoped to introduce its unusual fusion of music and food in 2020, but the pandemic stalled those plans. In the meantime, would-be customers can whet their appetites with the Arch, which will be a permanent fixture when the Exchange debuts.
The Arch, 224 S. Michigan Avenue, Scheduled to open Wednesday, February 3.