Hoxton hotel opening April 4 with Stephanie Izard and Chris Pandel restaurants

From www.chicagotribune.com
Phil Vettel
Lucy Hewett (Izard photo); Taylor Crowley (Pandel photo)

The Hoxton (200 N. Green St.), a boutique hotel in the Fulton Market District, will make its debut on April 4, and the Boka Restaurant Group will be represented from the basement to the rooftop.

As we reported earlier, the restaurants will be, Cira a modern Mediterranean restaurant by chef Chris Pandel (Swift & Sons, Balena). Cabra, a Peruvian-influenced restaurant by Stephanie Izard (Girl & the Goat, Little Goat Diner, Duck Duck Goat), will occupy the 12th-floor rooftop.

And now there’s a third concept: Lazy Bird, a cocktail bar offering live music, will open in a 65-seat basement space.

All Boka. All the time. Reservations being accepted here (for Cira) and here (for Cabra).

“In terms of footprint, this is the biggest project we’ve ever done,” said Rob Katz, founding partner (with Kevin Boehm) of Boka Group, as he conducted a pre-opening tour. “And it’s the first restaurant in our careers that’s opening sooner than we thought.”

“Originally, they had said May, so we figured, OK, July,” Boehm said. “Instead, we got in here in early March, and had 30 days to get our (act) together.”

The 150-seat Cira restaurant will do the heavy lifting for the hotel, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and handling the hotel’s room-service program. Pandel, who says that Mediterranean cuisine is “my favorite ever,” says the menu will be a mix of dishes from “the 21 countries that touch the water.” The dinner menu will offer 48 dishes, including plenty of mezes and antipasti, and a mix of main courses ranging from strictly traditional to what Pandel calls “left of center” creations.

“I mean, cacio e pepe is going to be cacio e pepe,” Pandel said. “But we’ll take a lot of liberties, as much as we can without making it muddy, using some products that people might not be used to. The menu will be much lighter; even the Italian and French will focus on coastal dishes.”

Up on 12, Cabra will offer panoramic views of the neighborhood and downtown; Izard jokes that she can see her other restaurants from Cabra’s dining room. Though it’s a rooftop restaurant, most of Cabra will be glass-enclosed and independent of the weather, though on beautiful days, the restaurant opens directly to The Hoxton’s swimming pool and adjacent bar. There’s a lot of room up here — 8,000 square feet, seating up to 112 guests — and given Chicagoans’ love of rooftop nightlife, this location (the hotel sits on the northwest corner of Lake and Green streets) will be booming.

The menu will contribute to the party atmosphere; there will be lots of shareable, dipping-style offerings, including ceviches and tiraditos (a six-seat ceviche bar lets guests watch the action, but the dishes themselves will be available anywhere), anticuchos (marinated and grilled meats, served on skewers) and empanadas. More substantial fare includes steamed mussels with huacatay (an aromatic black-mint paste), aji de gallino (a chicken stew), whole fish in Japanese curry and, because it’s Izard, some goat dishes.

Lazy Bird takes its name from a John Coltrane tune, and is a sophisticated space with a grand piano, the centerpiece for the live music offered three or four nights per week. The music won’t be strictly jazz; JC Brooks will be in residence every Thursday. Beverage director Lee Zaremba fashioned a menu of 52 classic cocktails, listed in a custom-designed book. Though accessible from the hotel, Lazy Bird will have a separate entrance on Lake Street.


Twitter @PhilVettel


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