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Lettuce Entertain You Plans Two Restaurants in Luxury Skyscraper

St. Regis Chicago finds a replacement for Alinea Group which dropped out of the project in 2021

Chef Evan Funke stands looking at the camera with a large beard and stern eyes.
LA chef Evan Funke is opening a Chicago restaurant with Lettuce Entertain You.
Evan Funke

After plans with Alinea Group fell through, the operators of St. Regis Chicago, one of the largest skyscrapers in the city, began their search for a group to run the skyscraper’s two restaurant spaces. On Thursday morning, St. Regis announced they were turning to the city’s largest restaurant company, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises.

Lettuce is partnering with star L.A. chef Evan Funke on a Tuscan steakhouse. As Eater LA describes, Funke is “known for handmade pasta and a deep reverence for Italian food.” The LA Times raved about the Roman pasta at Mother Wolf, which opened in January in Hollywood. Funke’s Felix opened in 2017 and focused on Venice. Eater named it one of the Best New Restaurants in America. The chef will now tackle Tuscany.

“I’m incredibly excited about this project with Lettuce Entertain You at the St Regis,” Funke says in a statement to Eater Chicago. “It is a privilege to be working with two champions of hospitality in the great city of Chicago.”

Much like Boka Restaurant Group is partnering with New York chef Daniel Rose on an upcoming River North French restaurant, don’t expect Funke set up residence in Chicago and to trade Southern California sunshine.

Hisanobu Osaka is planing an all-day experience.
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises

The second restaurant will be Japanese, an “all-day experience” that will be handy for guests inside the 192-hotel inside the tower. The unnamed restaurant on the 11th floor will have LEYE chef Hisanobu Osaka leading the kitchen. It should open when the hotel doubts in spring. Funke’s restaurant, on the second floor, will open afterward. Osaka worked at Japonais by Morimoto, the famous River West restaurant that blended French and Japanese techniques.

Famed architect Jeanne Gang designed the 101-story tower, 363 E. Wacker Drive, touted as the third-largest building in Chicago with 393 condo units and the aforementioned hotel. Alinea Group announced it would operate the restaurant space in 2020, but COVID challenges forced them to cancel its involvement a year later. Magellan Development Group is handling the project.

St. Regis Chicago, 363 E. Wacker Drive, Japanese restaurant planned for a spring opening; steakhouse to open afterward.

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