A sleek new neighborhood sushi spot from a pair of first-time restaurant owners is coming in spring 2022 to a long-empty storefront tavern in Lincoln Park just steps from notorious hot dog destination Wiener’s Circle.
Sushi Hall, slated to debut on April 1, aims to lure both sushi experts and novices with hand rolls, specialty maki, and an unpretentious atmosphere. The restaurant is taking over the former home of sports bar Crossroads Public House, which closed in 2018 after a decade in business.
Historically, Lincoln Park has plenty of sushi options, so Sushi Hall aims to set itself apart with a delicate balance of style and informality. Co-owners and neighborhood residents Jimmy Vetrano and Jacob Ringer hope to strike a friendly middle ground between the din of all-you-can-eat spots and the sometimes intimidating experience of spendy omakase meals.
Despite Sushi Hall’s proximity to the neighborhood’s infamous late-night sausage stand, the owners want to be clear: they’re not trying to appropriate its customers. “We are not Wiener’s Circle,” says Ringer, laughing. “We’re much more for the 30-something parent who wants a cocktail in the neighborhood.”
Though Vetrano and Ringer are dipping their toe into hospitality ownership for the first time, they say the groundwork for the restaurant began three years ago. Vetrano, a marketing manager who previously consulted with former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, worked on social media for Ringer’s unsuccessful 2019 campaign for 43rd Ward alderperson. “One of my key issues when I ran was vacant storefronts,” says Ringer. “So we decided to take it one step at a time and create a quality neighborhood restaurant.”
In pursuit of that goal, the pair has brought on well known local firm Siren Betty Design, the team behind hip restaurant spaces like fine dining spot Claudia in Bucktown and mellow new bar the Hi-Lo in Humboldt Park. The design team chose a contemporary color palette of dusty pink and dark blue alongside natural wood, light brown leather, and exposed brick from the 150-year-old building.
At 2,700 square feet, Sushi Hall will contain a main dining room and a separate space for larger groups, which together can seat 32 people, as well as a 10-seat sushi bar where diners can ask questions and watch chefs as they work. Delivery drivers — now an indispensable component of restaurant life due to the COVID-19 pandemic — will get their own separate entrance and waiting area with decor inspired by classic red-and-white “thank you” bags.
Ringer and Vetrano want to keep further details about Sushi Hall’s menu and staff under wraps for the time being, though they do promise that there will be both classic and original maki, hand rolls, and an “I don’t eat sushi” section for diners who seek flexibility. They’re also not ready yet to announce who will lead the restaurant’s kitchen, but say the chef in question is local and comes with plenty of sushi expertise. They have also applied for a liquor license and eventually plan to open a back bar with wine, beer, and sake.
“We wanted to create a stylish restaurant, but one that’s still comfortable and approachable,” says Ringer. “We’re very in tune with the local demographic and are doing everything we can to encompass what we’ve noticed in the neighborhood for a decade.”
Sushi Hall, 2630 N. Clark Street, Scheduled to open April 1, 2022.