Few people remember that Tavern on Rush, which closed in late October after 24 years near Rush and Division Street, was a steakhouse. The restaurant and lounge gained popularity through the decades as a celebrity magnet and a good place to people-watch.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Tavern’s replacement won’t specialize in the steaks. While spendy steakhouses are still trendy places to celebrate for some — especially when backed by a corporate bank account — large cuts of meats aren’t as hip as when Phil Stefani and the late Marty Gutilla opened the restaurant in 1998.
The building’s co-owner Jim Banks served up an interview to Crain’s where he revealed his replacement’s name. The Bellevue, which will sit on the corner of State and Bellevue will soon be home to a 100-seat sidewalk patio across from Mariano Park. The restaurant should open sometime in spring, according to a news release.
Banks is collaborating on the project with partner (and noted trucking magnate) Fred Barbara. Banks and Barbara unceremoniously dumped Stefani — according to Stefani — as the building’s lease was set to expire to pursue their own project. Taven’s closure felt rushed; Stefani initially announced that New Year’s Eve would be the last call before speeding that up to October 26.
Banks tells Crain’s the building was badly in need of repairs, but wouldn’t say how much money he and Barbara were investing into the building. The news release mentions the addition of a new bar on the second floor and an open kitchen. Knauer, which designed Gibsons Italia, Le Colonia, and the Dearborn, is handling the redesign.
Beyond not being a steakhouse, Banks provided no clues to Crain’s about the menu other than the always popular “contemporary American cuisine,” a placeholder that reveals little if anything. A news release adds, “The Bellevue’s menu features timeless and elegant cuisine, signature craft cocktails, and a curated wine list.”
Bringing new variety on the strip could be refreshing with Morton’s, Gibsons, and Maple & Ash already slinging expensive chops to the masses.
The Bellevue, 1031 N. Rush Street, planned for a spring opening.