Avli on the Park — the fourth restaurant in Greek-American chef Louie Alexakis and sports anchor Lou Canellis’ fast-growing modern Greek dining empire — opened this week. The new flagship represents next chapter of the brand’s bid for Chicago domination, putting down roots at 180 N. Field Boulevard, the former home of III Forks Steakhouse, just as the pandemic wanes.
The new 13,000-square-foot tavern is utterly transformed, trading black walls and dark wood accents for the bright, breezy aesthetic meant to make diners feel like they’re vacationing on the sun-bleached Greek coast. Rustic wood wall decor, loops of rope draped overhead, and sculptural light fixtures soften otherwise stark white spaces. Hints of the prior tenant remain, including enormous floor-to ceiling windows with lovely views of Lakeshore East Park, a huge U-shaped bar, and a pair of two-sided stone fireplaces.
The space is primed for outdoor dining — a pandemic necessity that will likely remain even after the city fully reopens. It features a huge rooftop deck with heated cabanas desired to lure customers year-round.
Executive chef and Greek native Nikolaos Kapernaros (Hyatt Regency Chicago, Grand Resort Lagonissi) has woven his own family’s recipes into the menu alongside longtime Avli hits such as Astakomakaronatha, or lobster pasta (tomatoes, white wine, ouzo), and Garides Kataifi, or filo shrimp (spicy mayo, Greek yogurt). Kapernaros is also featuring a chef’s table with special menus and a smattering of small plates and desserts for rooftop patrons.
There’s a wine list laden with Greek selections and natural wines, as well as house cocktails like the Teach Me to Dance (vodka infused with Greek wild mountain tea, bergamot orange, thyme, honey, lemon).
Alexakis and Fox Chicago sports anchor Cannelis, also operate Avli restaurants in Lincoln Park, River North, and suburban Winnetka. The new outpost in Lakeshore East was a collaboration with local real estate company Magellan Development Group.
Tour the space in the photographs below.
Avli on the Park, 180 N. Field Boulevard, Open 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday