Chef Stephen Gillanders is moving his fine dining restaurant, Valhalla, from Time Out Market Chicago to Wicker Park.
A liquor license application shows Valhalla is set to take over the former MIrai Sushi space at 2020 W. Division Street. Mirai, which continues to operate a location in Gold Coast, closed in September after 24 years in Wicker Park.
Beyond the liquor license application, Valhalla management also sent out an email on Tuesday announcing the pending move and the closure at Time Out Market — the food hall that sports the media company’s name in Fulton Market. The plan is to close on December 31. The email didn’t specify an address, but confirmed the move to Wicker Park and projects an early February opening.
“Valhalla was always meant to be different and go through evolutions — that’s why we are excited to now open its next chapter in a permanent location,” Gillanders said in a written statement.
Valhalla remains an intriguing concept, one that was new to Chicago. For a food hall full of casual concepts on the first floor, adding a fine dining restaurant with a tasting menu was unusual on the second floor (ascending toward bliss inspired the Norse mythology name). When announcing its debut at Time Out Market in September 2022, Gillanders compared Valhalla to Geranium, the Copenhagen restaurant housed inside a soccer stadium. His point was not to judge a book by its cover, and he vowed no compromise in ingredients, to create a unique and luxurious experience that could compete with Chicago’s upper echelon. Then-Tribune dining critic Nick Kindelsperger gave the restaurant three and a half stars.
When Gillanders moved to Chicago, he began working for Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises and curated its now-shuttered rotating restaurant, Intro Chicago in Lincoln Park. In 2017, he opened S.K.Y. in Pilsen, which continues to serve one of the most accessible and satisfying tasting menus, along with an a la carte menu. In 2021, he opened Apolonia in South Loop.
Valhalla aims to give Wicker Park a bit of an edge, a rare tasting menu restaurant in the neighborhood, joining the Coach House by Wazwan, located a few blocks east on Division Street. Gillanders’ move is shaping as one of the most anticipated openings of 2024.
Meanwhile, there’s still time to snag a reservation at Time Out Market before the move. It’s unclear how Time Out Market, which recently imported restaurants from its Miami location to fill first-floor vacancies, will replace Valhalla.
“We pride ourselves to provide a platform for chefs to test new concepts and while we are sad that our time together is coming to an end, we are proud to have helped Valhalla enter the world as its first home and see chef Stephen Gillanders creating outstanding food,” Alex Berlingeri, Time Out Market Vice President North America said in the statement. “He truly is amongst the city’s best chefs, and he and Valhalla will always be part of Time Out Market Chicago’s hall of fame.”
Check back in the next few weeks for updates.
Valhalla, 2020 W. Division Street, planned for an early February opening.