Alpana Singh’s newest restaurant — it’s technically in Gold Coast, just north of State and Chicago across from River North — is a venue built around the bubbly former Check, Please! host’s personality. Her name’s right above the door.
At age 21, Singh was the youngest woman to attain the master’s sommelier designation and she’s not only curating the wine list, but she’s also developed the menu. Beyond her own restaurants, her experience includes wine director at Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, one of the largest hospitality companies in the country. Beyond restaurants, Singh is an author and also considered a political career.
The approach to food is laid back and meant to pair with Singh’s wine list. The restaurant’s interiors are filled with walls adorned with art depicting famous women through history. There is an exception: Singh is a big fan of Keanu Reeves. And while no one wants to diminish Keanu’s glow, it’s the women who are the highlights: “Every woman on the wall means something to me,” Singh says.
The wall features a who’s who of entertainers through the years. Bette Midler, Gaga, and the trio of Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, and Jane Fonda in a publicity still for the ‘80s classic 9 to 5. Singh says she remembers working out to Jane Fonda tapes with her mother. There’s also Janet Jackson, Madonna, Elizabeth Taylor, Beyoncé, Tina Turner, and Rihanna. Artist Frida Kahlo also is given space.
Another photo of note, one many Westerners may not recognize, is a black and white image of South Indian actress Rekha, an edgy superstar known for going against the grain in Bollywood. She’s depicted in a black and white photo while smoking cigarrette. Singh says she wanted to pay homage to her family’s heritage.
Tour the space below.
Alpana, 831 N. State State, (312) 624-8055, open daily 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Friday lunch service to start Wednesday, April 6; weekend brunch to start Saturday, April 9.