One Off Hospitality, the restaurant group that includes Blackbird, The Publican, Avec and, not incidentally, Big Star, has big plans for Hotel Zachary, opening in 2018.
If the name doesn’t ring a bell, Hotel Zachary is the hotel being built across the street fromWrigley Field by the Ricketts family, which owns the Cubs. Several local restaurateurs (including Matthias Merges, of Yusho, A10 and Billy Sunday fame) will be operating within the hotel when it opens prior to the 2018 baseball season.
One Off looks to be the biggest fish in that pond; the group has taken nearly 8,000 square feet to create a two-story restaurant in the new hotel.
Partner Donnie Madia says the decision on the actual name of the restaurant isn’t final, but chef Paul Kahan, also a partner, indicated that the restaurant likely will be another Big Star, the group’s Mexican street-food restaurant in Wicker Park.
“For me, as a lifelong Cubs fan, to be able to have a taco and a tequila before a game really is a dream come true,” Kahan said.
Kahan seemed unconcerned that a second Big Star, particularly one so big, might dilute the charm of the original.
“If anything, the new location will give us the opportunity to do more with the food,” he said. “The kitchen will be built for speed and quality; we’ll have great music, great beverages and delicious food.”
Terry Alexander, another One Off partner, said preliminary drawings are for a restaurant that will seat 400, not including a large outdoor cafe (not included in the square-footage estimate).