DMK Restaurants' Newest Concept, Fort Willow, to Open in Chicago

Indigenous flavors and spices will converge at Fort Willow; a journey for the senses set amid the adventure of a reimagined childhood tree fort. A sister bar to nearby Ada St., David Morton and Michael Kornick’s newest DMK Restaurants venture is set to open at 1721 N. Elston Ave. in early December.

Located in a cozy nook of burgeoning Noble Square, Fort Willow will serve chef-driven and aromatic-rich cocktails, small plates and bowls. Drawing inspiration from the roots and traditions of iconic international culinary destinations from around the world, Executive Chef Deirdre Quinn, previously sous chef at Ada St. and DMK Restaurants’ Beverage Director, Scott Koehl, have developed menus that honor craveable, international flavors.

Cocktails inspired from far reaching places include the Caipifruta, with Novo Fogo Cachaça, lime and seasonal fruit; Tree Fort Punch, made with Stormy Night black tea, Amaro Abano, Amaro Averna, aged pisco and nutmeg; Bubble Tea, made with rye whiskey, coconut, blueberry and mint; and the FW Daiquiri, made with Asian Rum, fresh grapefruit, honey, yuzu, angostura bitters and Chinese five-spice.

A sampling of dishes includes Indian vegetable curry, served with warm naan; steak and egg fried rice with scallion, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, bok choy, kung pao chilies, sesame, ginger and dark soy; Florida stone crab claws served with house-made mustard dipping sauce; tempura rock shrimp and broccoli served with cherry bomb hot sauce; and “Midnight Pasta,” bucatini topped with tuna, capers and anchovies, tossed in spicy tomato sauce.

The 2,500-square-foot restaurant is inspired by the adventure, comfort and privacy of a childhood tree fort. Morton and Kornick commissioned architect and designer Chris Talsma of Filoramo Talsma and local craftsman, Arlan DeRussy, to design and build the space. A tree made from wooden slats ‘grows’ from the floor; its branches a canopy over the intimate dining room.

The music and cuisine will go hand in hand; with flavors from everywhere and tunes to match. A playlist of international music will range from Cuban, to high-tempo bebop jazz, to Spanish flamenco and more.

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