Bellemore, The Boka Group's Newest Restaurant, Opens In Chicago's West Loop

Bellemore, the newest restaurant from the prolific Boka Group (Girl and the Goat, Boka, Momotaro), opened for business earlier this week in Chicago's West Loop. The 6,000-square-foot restaurant is upscale and opulent, with French manor influences, tooled wood columns, brass chandeliers, and dark leather banquettes. At the helm is chef Jimmy Papadopoulos, whose menu includes dishes like Oyster Pie (savory oyster custard topped with ossetra caviar, crème fraîche, and green apple dressed with lemon and dill); braised lamb belly with grilled persimmon marmalade, sheep's milk feta, toasted pine nuts, and spruce; Cornish hen with stewed flageolet beans, braised Swiss chard, and pomegranate molasses; suckling pig with squash caramelized in mustard-milk jam with salted plums and grilled broccoli rabe; and dry-aged duck glazed with burnt honey and served with fennel, braised farro, roasted beets, and duck heart en crépinette. A six-course tasting menu will also be available for $85 per person.

We first spoke with chef Papadopoulos about Bellemore back in May, when the restaurant was still coming together, but we had another opportunity to check in with him on Monday, shortly before the restaurant opened its doors.

The Daily Meal: What excites you the most about Bellemore?
Chef Jimmy Papadopoulos:
To me, it is the perpetual opportunity to evolve and contribute something special and heartfelt to our city. It is a concept that really holds no limits — where we can focus on brilliant hospitality across the board. To be at the first step of such an exciting journey is hands down the most exciting aspect of Bellemore.

What sets it apart from other restaurants in the area?
The design of the room is flawless — bright, bold, and beautiful. When you walk in, the space has such a collected, opulent, brilliant charm. It just feels so soulfully unique — classy, cool, and relaxed.

How has the experience of taking the helm and guiding the restaurant toward opening been for you?
The entire process from conception, build-out, menu development, training — it has all been an insanely meticulous, humbling, and challenging roller coaster, but above all, it is just so damn fulfilling. Being here today watching our team set the dining room, the cooks and chefs buzzing through the kitchen setting up for service; there is a child-like sense of excitement amongst our whole team to open the doors tonight and share our love for our craft with the city. The restaurant just feels so alive. It is a beautiful thing.

What do you think diners are going to love the most about it?
I can't say exactly because there are so many aspects that I love about Bellemore, but my hope is that our guests feel like it was a place that they have been un-knowingly missing; and is just satisfying to their heart, head, and soul.