Kendall Jenner brings a crowd wherever she goes in public, which is why the owners of Avli waited until after the model and reality TV show’s Tuesday visit to make their social media posts.
Avli on the Park, near Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street in Lakeshore East, hosted about 80 guests on Tuesday to promote Jenner’s 818 Tequila. She also stopped for lunch at Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ Pizzeria Portofino (which is in the same building where Dave Matthews recently dined), is on a media blitz. After spending the day in Chicago signing bottles at places like RPM Seafood and Binny’s liquor store, she headed to New York to do much the same.
Louie Alexakis, co-owner of Avli, says Jenner was gracious to him and restaurant management. He came away impressed with both her and the tequila. Avli, a Greek restaurant, managed to merge both Mexican and Greek cuisines in its food and drink for the event. The headliner was mini-chicken souvlaki marinated in Jenner’s tequila, extra virgin Greek olive oil, herbs, and lemon zest. Alexakis says he knows a Greek restaurant may not be ideal for a tequila launch, but they embraced the event.
“We knew that she was looking for a space that could promote her tequila and also had an outdoor venue,” Alexakis says. “And we fit the bill.”
The pandemic continues, but having the ability to host events like Jenner’s is a bright light through a dark time. Alexakis opened the restaurant in May.
“During COVID, it would have been easier for me to open a gyro truck,” he says.
Avli will soon start what they call “Greek Omakase.” Customers pick “land” or “sea” and show up for their reservations to dine on a special coursed-out dinner from Avli chef Nikolaos Kapernaros. Reservations will be available this week via Tock.
“Creativity is all that we have left,” Alexakis says.
Celebrities and tequila go hand in hand. Later this month, former Detroit Red Wing and Chicago-area native Chris Chelios will launch his own brand, El Bandido Yankee Tequila, a company co-run with ex-NFL player Jim Bob Morris. A tequila is consolation for Chelios, who has yet to open a Mexican restaurant he teased in 2018. Chelios also played with the Blackhawks and is Greek American (like Alexakis).
Ramova Grill construction to begin
Announced back in November 2019, officials on Tuesday held a ceremonial groundbreaking in front of Ramova Grill, the historic Bridgeport venue that Duck Inn chef Kevin Hickey is attached. McHugh Construction hopes to finish work in late 2022. The Ramova Theater was built in 1922 and has been vacant since 1985. The project, 3510-3520 S. Halsted Street, will also include a brewery, according to a release.
Drew Barrymore thinks a Chicago ice cream shop is pretty cool
First CM Punk, and now Drew Barrymore... Dana Salls Cree and Pretty Cool Ice Cream made an appearance on The Drew Barrymore Show yesterday as part of a segment on Chicago food hosted CBS 2 morning news anchor Audrina Bigos. Salls Cree presented Barrymore with her own pop, Drew’s Berrymore Cheesecake, based on Barrymore’s favorite flavor; the label features an illustration of Barrymore’s dog, Douglas. A dollar from the sale of each pop will go to the Girls Rock! Chicago scholarship fund. Barrymore was so impressed with both the pop and the charity that she announced she would be making her own $5,000 donation. The pops are currently available at the Pretty Cool shop in Logan Square.
Deep-dish love may lure baseball star
As Chicago White Sox fans (including Manny’s Deli owner Dan Raskin, who attended Tuesday’s game), lick their wounds from a Tuesday thumping by the trashcan-loving Houston Astros, the Tribune reports Houston star Carlos Correa has a weakness for Chicago-style deep dish. The paper jokes that pizza could lure Correa to city and the Cubs next season.