Every shiny new skyscraper needs at least one restaurant for the office workers who will hopefully fill the space. The BMO Tower, which debuted last year with the bank as an anchor tenant, is no exception. The 50-story building, just south of Union Station in West Loop, already unveiled a grab-and-go market. The 11,000-square-foot project is all part of Canal Street Market which will this week unveil a full-service and 120-seat Italian restaurant to complement its food and beverage offerings. It’s called the Eatery.
“The food is familiar, and the price point is awesome,” says director of operations Laine Peterson. “It’s a place you can come to multiple times a week and don’t feel guilty about breaking the bank.”
Peterson is also in charge of the wine and beer selections. Adult beverages will take center stage in September when another component, Afterbar, opens. There’s a park open to the public near the space, and the bar will have a 42-seat patio. The market will supply canned wine (sorry, glass isn’t allowed outside) and charcuterie boards so customers could enjoy the outdoor space. Morning pastries come from Zachary Dawson who’s making treats including a Saigon cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting. Executive Forster Sorensen raves about a lemon sugar cookie that uses citric acid, giving it the same pucker as a Sour Patch Kid. Coffee is from Hexe and Brewpoint. The project is from Spearhead Hospitality, the operators of the Robey Hotel in Wicker Park and the recently closed Chikatana Mexican restaurant in Fulton Market. The space is developed by Riverside and Convexity Properties and designed by Goettsch Partners.
Sorenesn worked for several Chicago restaurants in his career, and he’s using some tricks learned at Public Quality Meats, the Fulton Market restaurant known for its sausages. Canal Street will make its own sausage and charcuterie, and Sorensen singled out fresh turkey sausages, which will pair nicely for breakfast with Dawson’s English muffins. The breakfast sausage uses maple crystals from gourmet ingredient vendor Rare Tea Cellar to give it a little bit more of a sweeter kick. Fresh bread will bookend the sandwiches like Cubans and Buffalo chicken varieties.
While the mornings and afternoons are casual, dinner time is full service and Dawson plays a major role there, as well. Fresh pasta will be on the plate and eventually for sale for the homecook on the market side, and Dawson’s experience at Tortello, the pasta restaurant in Wicker Park, will come in handy. The Italian restaurant is quite a red sauce American spot, nor does it gravitate toward a specific region. Sorensen is working with chef de cuisine Ross Sundberg. Sorensen says a cacio e pepe using mafaldine and confit tomatoes will be a star, as will a calamarata with grilled shrimp.
Lunchtime will include made-to-order items and food, like Neapolitan pizza or pre-made salads that can get workers in and out quickly. Sorensen says they’re not sacrificing quality for speed and that the morning prep time is a little bit more labor intensive to compensate. For example, their take on pepperoni pizza uses sopressata as a topping, but they’re juliening pepperoni into the tomato sauce for adding flavor.
“There’s so much work in the prep, everything takes a bit less time on the line,” Sorensen says.
Take a tour below.
Canal Street Market, at the 320 South Canal Building, 314 S. Canal Street, restaurant opening Thursday, August 25. Open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays