When considering hospitality groups in Chicago, One-Off Hospitality may be one of the most revered, celebrated, and decorated outfits in the city, perhaps the entire country. With nine James Beard awards and other highly-regarded awards under their belt, One-Off Hospitality has a reputation of delivering beloved restaurants. And now, one of their most popular establishments, avec, is expanding to a second location just in time for Valentine’s Day 2021.
Come Friday, February 12th, avec River North will open its doors at 141 W. Erie Street, the former home to Pacific Standard Time. Avec will open with limited indoor dining in accordance with the city’s health and safety guidelines and have carryout and delivery capabilities. The West Loop and new River North locations will each have their own separate culinary experience that matches the brand’s unique rustic Mediterranean cuisine and European-style atmosphere. However, anyone who is familiar with the 141 W Erie location knows that the space is much larger than the intimate, quaint, quiet space that avec West Loop is known for, leaving much to wonder at how the two will tap into that same familiar ambiance.
A little about both the original avec location and plans for the new location in Chicago can be viewed below:
avec West Loop
Fans of the original avec have news to celebrate as well. The avec restaurant in the West Loop will continue its robust carryout and delivery program. Under the direction of Kahan and Chef de Cuisine Dylan Patel—a homegrown avec chef who worked his way up through the kitchen, being named Chef de Cuisine in February 2020—the menu features rustic style cuisine with a lean towards North African, Middle Eastern and Southwestern European influences.
In addition to the downstairs takeout operation with avec classics, the upstairs (previously used as the private dining space) is open for limited indoor dining offering avec rotisserie. This new extension of avec in Chicago has yielded much excitement from customers over the last 10 months for its Middle Eastern flavors via delivery and carryout, setting up an exciting opportunity to translate this experience to in-restaurant dining. Seven nights a week, guests can enjoy delicious proteins at this West Loop restaurant such as rotisserie chicken, piri piri chicken wings and sumac glazed lamb shoulder, grilled prawns and Moroccan squid stew, vegetarian dishes like cauliflower shawarma and mezze options galore.
Wine lists at both avec locations will be curated by Partner and Wine Steward, Eduard Seitan. The expansive, moderately priced wine lists will continue to focus on the Mediterranean region’s hearty peasant wines from small producers in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, always served in stemless glasses to keep a casual air.
Reservations for avec River North can be made via TOCK here. River North hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 4 to 10 p.m for dine-in and takeout.
avec West Loop reservations will offer dine-in reservations via TOCK for avec rotisserie nightly from 4 to 9 p.m. with takeout and delivery options available seven days a week between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and again from 4:30 to 10 p.m.
avec River North
Under the culinary direction of Paul Kahan, award-winning chef and cookbook author, and Perry Hendrix, an 8-year avec veteran, avec River North will focus on a wider breadth of culinary inspiration. Featuring the flavors, aromas and cuisine of the sun-drenched islands of the Mediterranean from Greece to Spain, the menu at avec in Chicago offers favorites—including the infamous chorizo-stuffed Medjool dates, the “deluxe” focaccia and the slow-roasted pork shoulder—as well as an expanded menu of additional pizza, pasta and fish options.
Highlights from the new River North menu include new small plates, such as the sea scallop crudo with meyer lemon, caper and couscous and hearth baked merluza filet with calamari, tomato, fideo pasta and aioli. Pasta highlights include a rigatoni pasta with braised lamb neck ragu, olives and fennel pollen, and pizza such as the smoked lake fish pizza with garlic cream, marinated kale and charred lemon.
“We’ve always wanted to offer more from avec than what our kitchen at Randolph Street would allow,” says Kahan, executive chef of One Off Hospitality. “Under the leadership of Perry Hendrix over the years, the menu at West Loop has come to highlight flavors that lend to Middle Eastern and southwestern European influence. There are so many great ideas on this new menu and the new location allows us to incorporate more.”
The River North restaurant provides an added benefit for the current climate: the expansive, open floor plan dining room has more space for more guests to enjoy the avec experience while maintaining rigorous safety standards—an essential element to creating a comfortable dining experience today. A larger kitchen allows for the expanded menu, allowing the team to provide a wider range of experiences and service more guests.
Guests can expect the same exceptional service and hospitality that have become hallmarks over the last 17 years at avec: an unpretentious warmth and deep culinary and wine knowledge across the team that will be maintained at the West Loop while expanded to River North.
“In the months before the pandemic hit, we were actively exploring opportunities to expand the avec brand—we found there an opportunity in River North and a calling for a restaurant like avec among professionals and residents alike,” remarks Karen Browne, CEO at One Off Hospitality. “Like we invested in the West Loop 17 years ago, we will continue to invest in our River North neighborhood, maintaining real relationships with our neighbors, nearby businesses and the friends we serve for years to come.”
“We see this as an opportunity to bring more avec to Chicagoans. We are adding to, not subtracting from, our beloved 17-year-old brand with a lot more to give,” says One Off Hospitality Partner, Donnie Madia. “This is another chapter in the long story of avec.”
About One-Off Hospitality
One-Off Hospitality is the Chicago based collective responsible for managing and operating an array of outstanding dining and bar concepts including avec – West Loop & River North, The Violet Hour, The Publican, Big Star – Wicker Park & Wrigleyville, Publican Quality Meats, Publican Quality Bread and Dove’s Luncheonette. Driven by a team of the nation’s leading industry innovators (Executive Chef Paul Kahan, Partner Donnie Madia, Partner Terry Alexander, Partner Eduard Seitan, Partner Peter Garfield, and Partner Rick Diarmit (1959-2018), One Off holds true to the ethos that every project is unique, and operated in a spirit of complete and utter creativity.
It suggests that each venture might be the last, which is why every individual concept is handled with the utmost attention to detail and character. For over 23 years, One Off has led the dining progression in many of Chicago’s most beloved neighborhoods, going on to garner an impressive portfolio of prestigious industry accolades for everything from fine dining to fast casual, and interior design to inventive beverage programs. Collectively the group has earned nine James Beard Foundation Awards of Excellence, received stars from Michelin Guide, and mentored talents to earn top honors such as Food & Wine Best New Chef, StarChefs Rising Stars and more.
For more information, please visit http://www.oneoffhospitality.com.
Featured Image Credit via avec