Decorated Chicago Chef Doug Psaltis opens Andros Taverna next month, a new restaurant and his passion project built out of love—love for food, family and community, honoring both heritage and tradition. Located at 2542 N. Milwaukee Ave, Andros is a contemporary Greek restaurant in Chicago’s vibrant Logan Square neighborhood, adjacent to the city’s forthcoming public park and green space expansion.
Doug is joined at Andros by Hsing Chen, a pastry chef with an impressive pedigree—Manresa Restaurant, The French Laundry, The Peninsula Hotels, Jean-Georges Restaurants to name a few—who also happens to be his wife. The pair partnered with another husband-and-wife duo, Ryan and Anna O’Donnell, successful restaurateurs and founders of Ballyhoo Hospitality (Gemini, Old Pueblo Cantina, Coda di Volpe, Sophia Steak) to form Andros Restaurant Group. Fittingly, the husband-and-wife-led teams will open Andros for takeout on Valentine’s Day weekend.
Above all things, Andros embraces ‘Philotimo,’ a Greek word without definition but representative of a deep-seated awareness of goodness and generosity that honors friendship and community. The Valentine’s Day menu is a feast for two under that same name, which will include a choice of one of Andros’s signature proteins cooked over the custom-built rotisserie hearth—either the whole charcoal chicken, Kalamata crispy pork or lamb souvla — alongside the signature Andros Greek salad, a collection of mezes, hand-stretched pitas, crispy kataifi cheese pie and vanilla soufra for dessert. Chen shows her pastry chops with a specialty brunch box available for Valentine’s Day filled with sesame koulouri, layered cinnamon bun, olive oil cake and house-made granola.
Andros has been a concept a lifetime in the making. Doug grew up around his grandfather’s Greek diner in Queens, New York—Olympia Diner. It was there he fell in love with the heat of the kitchen and restaurant life. He went on to work with prestigious chefs including Alain Ducasse, Dan Barber, David Bouley and Thomas Keller. He now combines his unique culinary foundation with his family’s Greek recipes.
Having spent the last three decades of his career in the fast-paced, demanding kitchen environments at fine dining stalwarts and leading several successful restaurant concepts with Lettuce Entertain You, including Mediterranean-inspired RPM restaurants in both Chicago and Washington DC, Doug decided to slow down and focus on a project that is personal and inspired by his family heritage. Andros will serve sophisticated Mediterranean soul food in a contemporary space inspired by the local tavernas found across Greece.
The menu reflects a fresh, modern expression of Greek soul food through sustainably sourced and health-minded dishes inspired by traditional cuisine alongside innovative, new dishes. The opening takeout menu reflects the Mediterranean diet with a strong focus on great quality vegetables and salads. Expect premium seafood like tender grilled octopus, Andros’s interpretation of the classic shrimp saganaki, as well as whole fish simply cooked in the wood-burning oven to pair with meats slow roasted over charcoal embers.
Set menu offerings such as The Philotimo Feast for two is accompanied by the Simple Spartan, an individually portioned meal perfect for lunch or dinner, with choice of protein and dip, small salad and pita. Expect Chen to offer a creative play on traditional sweets. The takeout dessert menu will feature vanilla soufra, chocolate halva mousse and baklava frozen yogurt, as well as a selection of pastries on the weekends.
The beverage program will draw inspiration from across the Mediterranean with an emphasis on Greek wine. Andros will offer a selection of bottles along with curated bottled cocktails and non-alcoholic offerings for takeout.
While Psaltis has been concepting Andros for years, the design plans changed significantly to adapt to the current pandemic, making it one of the first restaurants designed with COVID-19 safety precautions in mind. Those specific changes include adding a to-go/pickup window, flexible seating that follows social-distancing guidelines, expansive outdoor seating options and an Atmosair™ air ventilation system. This air purification technology acts as a continuous disinfectant, actively reducing airborne and surface contaminants.
"It's extremely important for us to go above and beyond safety precautions. We are not only in the business of dining but also in the business of health and wellness, keeping our team safe and keeping our patrons safe," says Psaltis. “We’re looking forward to the day when we open our doors knowing that we’ve created the safest environment possible, but until that arrives, we’re excited to start serving the community with fresh, delicious Greek food.”
Psaltis teamed up with James Geier, founder and owner of Ol’ Style Consulting and 555 International design firm, on Andros—the partnership came about by partner O’Donnell, who has worked with Geier for years on Ballyhoo’s restaurant designs. The design of Andros draws inspiration from authentic materials that could have been in an old-world Greek restaurant, keeping it simple but sophisticated and staying very intentional about every design choice.
Expect terracotta bricks, extensive woodwork, copper colored metal detailing, lush hanging greenery from overhead trellises and large tablet mirrors with rounded edges, a reference to typical shapes in Greek architecture. Guests will be welcomed to a sense of warm, inviting hospitality in part created by the wood-burning hearth at the center of the open kitchen concept and bar, opening up all of the activity and excitement that goes with it. An expansive garden patio with an overhanging greenhouse-style glass canopy will allow for outdoor seating alongside the restaurant, opening up into the forthcoming public park expansion, as well as sidewalk seating along Milwaukee Avenue.
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