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A spacious dining room with a sculptural light fixture.
Liva is tucked inside Chicago Winery.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

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Downtown Chicago’s Only Winery Opens on Saturday

Liva at Chicago Winery features food from an Alinea alum

CORRECTION: Liva will open on Saturday, November 5. The restaurant mistakenly left its reservation portal open and accepting reservations for Friday, November 4 until late into the afternoon. The story has been updated.

The eagerly anticipated River North restaurant from a pedigreed Chicago chef is on the cusp of a debut inside the cavernous downtown space that houses newish local vintner Chicago Winery. Liva, helmed by executive chef Andrew Graves, opens Saturday, November 5, in the former Zed451 building at 739 N. Clark Street.

The exterior of a corner building.
A working winery has replaced Zed451.

Graves is a longtime Chicago chef with a noteworthy list of credentials including three-Michelin-starred Alinea, Next Restaurant, and the Aviary, and at Terra & Vine demonstrated his ability to develop a menu that champions the marriage of food and wine. That experience should serve him well at Liva, which shares its home with a working winery, as well as an event space.

Despite his experience in fine dining, Graves aims to foster a more casual and communal atmosphere at Liva with a selection of contemporary Midwestern fare designed for sharing. These include vegetarian dishes such as ricotta-stuffed ravioli with sweet corn and black trumpet mushrooms; seafood like cast-iron mussels with grilled lemon and shishitos; and meats such as a cherry blossom-cured duck breast in porcini brodo. Especially ravenous patrons can scale up to a 52-ounce dry-aged prime steak Florentine or whole grilled branzino in a saffron broth. There will also be weekend brunch and a late-night menu.

A dining room with a curtain-like hanging light fixture. Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Two u-shaped booths with floral upholstry.
Tables lined up next to a two-sided fireplace.

A fireplace is a serious attribute for restaurants in Chicago.

In an effort to emphasize Liva’s lively and group-friendly nature, the team has installed a two-sided fireplace and used playful wallpaper to distinguish among various drinking and dining areas inside the restaurant. Arches placed throughout the space aim to evoke historic Chicago architecture and frame patrons’ view of the cask-laden winery itself from the main dining room. It seats 175 in total between bars, tables, and U-shaped booths upholstered with modern floral prints. An all-season sidewalk patio is also in the works along Clark Street.

Explore Liva and its menu in the photographs below.

Liva at Chicago Winery, 739 N. Clark Street, opening Saturday, November 5

Two red chairs sit in an entryway beside a flight of stairs.
Ascend the stairs into Liva’s 215-seat private event space.
A large dining room with rows of tables and chairs.
A six-top table in an inset portion of a wall with a large blue floral mural.
Slightly inset spaces for tables can add a dinner-party feel.
A rectangular bar with rows of stools.
Bar patrons get to admire the fringe-style lights fixtures too.
A corner of a dining room along a glass wall, through which patrons can see wine casks.
Peer through that window to see the winery at work.
A row of wine casks.
The wine is made on the premises.

A round bowl holds six crispy potato croquettes.
Potato croquettes (creme fraiche, bacon bits, scallion)
Anthony Tahlier/Liva
A whole grilled fish in yellow sauce on a plate.
Grilled whole branzino (celery root slaw, mussels, clams, saffron broth).
Anthony Tahlier/Liva
A chef holds a steaming cast-iron skillet filled with mussels.
Cast-iron mussels (shishitos, grilled lemon, harissa).
Anthony Tahlier/Liva
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