clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
An impressive fish dish and rapini.
Apolonia opens in South Loop with wild swordfish and rapini.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Filed under:

Inside McCormick Place’s Breezy New Restaurant From the S.K.Y. Team

Read the menu for Apolonia, opening Friday in South Loop

Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

The South Loop is the home for one of the most anticipated Chicago restaurant openings of the year, as Apolonia has finally welcomes diners Friday near McCormick Place Convention Center. Chef and owner Stephen Gillanders hopes his second restaurant endears itself to locals while enticing residents who don’t live in the neighborhood to stop by and try items such as a jumbo-sized chicken Kiev for two (that’s still in development), smoked-kissed proteins like Berkshire pork presse, and fresh pastas like scallop tagliatelle.

Gillanders planned to open Apolonia last year, but the pandemic had other ideas. Wintrust Arena — home of the WNBA’s Chicago Sky — is a two-minute walk from Apolonia, and Gillanders hopes to serve event and convention center crowds. His first restaurant, S.K.Y., opened in 2017 in Pilsen and has become a destination. Prior to that, the chef managed Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ Intro Chicago in Lincoln Park and worked with renown chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten on several restaurants.

Apolonia has 18-foot ceilings and is designed by Seonkeung Yuk.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
A restaurant staff poses.
The staff at Apolonia.

The restaurant’s named for the chef’s grandmother and centers on European and Mediterranean cuisine. Before Intro Chicago — a concept with a revolving menu, akin to Next — Lettuce operated L20, the beloved seafood restaurant from chef Laurent Gras.

The connections continue as L20 alum Joseph Spretnjak will serve as Apolonia’s chef du cuisine. He’ll helm the kitchen on most days as Gillanders remains the chef at Somerset, the restaurant in side the Viceroy Chicago hotel in Gold Coast. They’ve also hired Marta Suchocka (Girl & the Goat) as general manager. Sommelier Jelena Prodan has also stocked a large selection of vermouth and created fun cocktails. Some garnishes will utilize the kitchen’s wood-burning grill.

Fiorentini al sugo (smoked tomato, pork)
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Gillanders’ wife, Seonkeung Yuk — her initials spell out the name of the Pilsen restaurant — designed the 5,300-square-foot space to give it a bright, airy, and modern feel. The space is new construction with 18-foot wall ceilings, large arches, and hallways. There’s also a private dining room which should be handy when McCormick Place again welcomes shows and conventions.

Walk through the space below and read the menu below. It’s been a long road to Apolonia, but the South Loop restaurant has finally arrived.

Apolonia, 2201 S. Michigan Avenue, open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily; lunch service begins April 20; weekend brunch starts Saturday April 24; reservations available via Resy.

Dinner Menu 4.16.2021 WITHOUT FOR 2.pdf

Apolonia Opening Dessert Menu.docx.pdf

A bar with light wood and fully stocked with liquor in the back.

The space also a private event room.

A colorful pastry on a round plate with edible flowers.
Familia de Quagila (berries, rose, creme fraiche)
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Vegetable carpaccio
Oyster Toast
Rugoso Torta Tenerina (dark chocolate, Turkish coffee gelato)
Fight or Flight (gin, creme de violette, vermouth)
When Life Grills You Lemons (mezcal, tart cherry, grilled lemon, aloe)


2201 South Michigan Avenue, , IL 60616 (312) 363-2431 Visit Website
Chicago Restaurant Closings

Caffe Streets in Wicker Park and a Pair of North Shore Restaurant Closures


Lincoln Park Discovers Its Soul

Coming Attractions

Chef Paul Virant Will Return to His French Roots