The Oakville Grill & Cellar, a new restaurant from Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises designed to evoke the effortless ease of Napa Valley dining, opened Monday, April 24 at 167 Green Street in Fulton Market. The latest spot from Chicago’s largest hospitality group, helmed by chef and ex-Land & Sea Dept. culinary director Max Robbins, embraces escapism and aims to transport Chicagoans to Northern California with crowd-pleasing dishes, a tasting menu, and pairings from a rotating winery-of-the-month.
A counterpoint to Summer House Santa Monica, LEYE’s bright and breezy SoCal-inspired spot in Lincoln Park, Oakville highlights a different side of Golden State style. Drawing on the bucolic charm of Napa’s vineyards and tasting rooms, the group’s in-house design team softens the 200-seat ground-floor dining room and bar with natural wood and plant life. An imposing staircase leads patrons up to a second-floor space that houses a bi-level glass wine cellar as well as a year-round terrace and bar that seats 80. When the weather allows for outdoor dining, the team will add 40 more spots on a patio.
In May, those who’d rather opt for intimacy can try the Cellar Door, Oakville’s private six-seat tasting room where wine director Richard Hanauer (a LEYE partner with its RPM division) aims to replicate California vineyard wine tastings. He’ll feature a lineup of five pours from a roster of vintners that changes each month, as well as small dishes designed to pair with the wines.
Robbins' menu is attended to customer comfort, offering familiar proteins like Faroe Island salmon and mushroom eggplant ragout alongside dry-aged steak burgers and pork chops cooked on a white oak-fueled grill. Salads are plentiful, with selections such as the St. Helena Vegetable Market (Werp Farm greens, artichoke, peppers, avocado, lemon yogurt), as are classics like crispy fried chicken served with a bottle of pepper vinegar. For dessert, pastry chef Clair Smyth (Honey’s) tempts patrons with a tropical banana split, warm wild berry cobbler, and peanut butter pie with caramel ganache.
Chicagoans in the know may recognize the building where Oakville made its home. Ahead of its opening, the new construction on Green Street was featured in a promotional video starring the Chicago Bulls’ Zach LaVine (a candy fan who previously partnered with Foxtrot) and Justin Bieber playing basketball on the structure’s 17th-floor convertible court. That floor will also serve as a corporate and private event space for LEYE.
Explore Fulton Market’s new tribute to Napa Valley in the photographs below.
The Oakville Grill & Cellar, 167 Green Street, Open 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.