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A white restaurant entrance with a sign that reads “Avli on the Park” and a large blue eye symbol.
Avli on the Park is the fourth restaurant from chef Louis Alexakis.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

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Inside This Modern Greek Empire’s Airy Downtown Rooftop

Avli’s bright and breezy restaurant in Lakeshore East is the group’s fourth

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

A white entrace to a restuarant
The new spot is well-located for drawing tourists.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
A large outdoor patio space
Outdoor dining is more popular than ever in Chicago.
An outdoor patio space in downtown Chicago
The patio spaces offers stunning views of downtown Chicago.
A large u-shaped bar with a dark wood top.
Sidle up to the bar for ouzo and more.
Green leaves and light wood soften the massive space.
A dining room space with a large stone two-sided fireplace
The prior tenant’s two-sided stone fireplaces remain, possibly reminding diners of wood-grilled meats.
A large, light dining room with a stone fireplace
Everything about Avli seems easy breezy.
A table and chairs inside a glass enclosure beside rows of wine bottles.
Greek wines are prominently displayed.
A wedge of gooey greek cheese with a slice of lemon
A row of four spreads on a white plate.
Spreads include taramosalata (cod roe), tzatziki (yogurt and cucumber), tirokafteri (spicy feta), and hummus.
Avocado and halloumi (wine poached figs, red grilled peppers, tomatoes, grape preserves)
Avocado and halloumi (wine poached figs, red grilled peppers, tomatoes, grape preserves)
wild-caught shrimp, cauliflower puree, smoked feta cheese, tomato sauce, ouzo, garlic
Garides Microlimano, or feta shrimp
branzino filet, sofregada, Mediterranean brunoise
Lavraki Fileto, or pan-seared Branzino
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
A square of chocolate cake
Flourless chocolate cake (Kalamata figs, walnuts, Commandaria Cypriot Wine)
A small pastry shaped like a basket
Bougatsa apple crumb tart (powdered sugar, cinnamon)
A cocktail in a martini glass with a big slice of cucumber
Village Cooler (Roots Mastiha Prairie Gin, cucumber mint liqueur, carbonated water, cardomom bitters)
A cocktail topped with a slice of lemon and sprig of thyme
Teach Me to Dance (vodka infused with Greek wild mountain tea, bergamot orange, thyme, honey, lemon)
Frappe martini (Tito’s, Baileys, frappe grounds)
Trellis (fig-infused rye whisky, Metaxa brandy, Roots Tentura tea bitters, ouzo rinse)
Two hands push a tall red drink in a huge wine glass wrapped with a thin slice of cucumber forward
Refreshing cocktails are a good balance for Mediterranean flavors.

Avli on The Park

180 North Field Boulevard, , IL 60601 (312) 600-9997 Visit Website
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