A new upscale Italian restaurant from a group of local industry veterans is coming soon to the ground-floor space in No. 9 Walton, a ritzy Gold Coast condo building at 912 N. State Street. Adalina is slated to open this summer with a menu that draws on both Northern and Southern Italian cuisines, in the two-story space that previously housed Walton Street Kitchen & Bar.
Soo Ahn, formerly of Michelin-starred brewpub Band of Bohemia, will lead the kitchen and work alongside chef de cuisine Sam Rosales (Monteverde) and pastry chef Nicole Guini (Blackbird, Avec). In his prior position, Ahn developed a reputation for his creative and thoughtful use of vegetables. It remains to be seen if that focus will reemerge at Adalina, but customers can expect offerings including porcini lumache pasta (porcini powder-infused pasta, castelvetrano olives, pancetta, ricotta salata) and Chilean sea bass Vesuvio (truffle, potato gnocchi, oregano, snap peas).
Ahn’s departure from Band of Bohemia, amid allegations of impropriety by ownership, coincided with the closure of the Ravenswood restaurant, the first brewpub in the world to receive a Michelin star. But now the chef gets a fresh start in downtown Chicago. Walton Street from Ballyhoo Hospitality closed last year, a victim of the pandemic.
Wines will also play a significant role at Adalina, displayed to all in a 3,000 bottle, floor-to-ceiling glass wine cellar in the center of the dining room, Crain’s reports.
Customers will enter into a first-floor lounge — used by the previous tenants as a library-inspired downstairs bar — that seats 45 for drinks and appetizers. It will also feature enormous bi-fold windows designed to help keep air circulating, as well as a 60-seat outdoor patio.
The second level will hold a 150-seat dining room, a 60-person bar, and space for private events. Ownership tells Crain’s that the restaurant is aiming for an upscale-yet-comfortable vibe that’s appealing to a range of patrons, from tourists and business travelers to downtown workers and locals. Operators have also invested in a number of pandemic-specific safety measures, such as a glass NanaWall system and bipolar ionization filtration to purify air in the dining room.
Many downtown restaurants have had an especially difficult time during the COVID-19 pandemic as tourism dried up and employees stopped commuting to offices in March 2020. This environment may raise concerns among some would-be restaurateurs, but the owners of Adalina feel confident in their ability to navigate Chicago’s restaurant scene. They include Phil Siudak, a former corporate manager at the famed Gibsons Restaurant Group and general manager at Chicago Cut Steakhouse, and Matt Diechl, who owned nightclubs Parliament and Enclave and has a stake in Bounce sports club in River North. He’s also a co-owner of LiqrBox.
“We began the project in July of 2020 when the outlook for our industry looked pretty bleak, but we believed in the resilience of Chicago and kept moving forward,” Siudak writes in a statement.
Stay tuned for news of an opening date.
- Adalina, 912 N. State Street, planned for a summer opening