First Batch Hospitality announced that its new restaurant, Liva, will open this October at Chicago Winery in the city’s River North neighborhood. First Batch presents working winery concepts set against metropolitan backdrops with restaurants, private event spaces and tasting rooms. Deriving its name from the Scandinavian word “liv” meaning “life” and evoking a sense of the passage of time and the joy of the journey, Liva will be a chef-driven, community-inspired restaurant for locals and visitors alike.
"Like a great dinner party, the best gatherings start in the kitchen," says Executive Chef, Andrew Graves. "I am excited to share dishes that not only represent my journey as a chef, but also inspire great conversations around the table. Whether for two or 20, our menu is meant to be shared and paired – with wonderful wines." Chef Graves’ recent kitchen credentials include time at the world-renowned restaurant Alinea, where he trained under Grant Achatz.
Whether joining the restaurant for a date night, a business meeting with colleagues or a celebration with family and friends, Liva’s communal setting, creative menus and beverage and wine selections set the tone as the perfect gathering place, all set against the backdrop of a working winery.
Carefully curated by Chef Graves, the modern-American menu will focus on market-driven ingredients sourced close to home. Highlights include charcuterie and cheese board selections with housemade accoutrement. Allow Chef Graves to be the expert when ordering a “Chef’s Whim”, which will showcase a variety of meats, cheeses and vegetables offering guests a fun way to share and graze between friends.
The menu will also feature stunning large format shareable entrées – think Whole Branzino, impressive butcher cuts and more; a myriad of proteins like venison and grilled shrimp; as well as unique takes on seasonal vegetables like roasted squash and radishes. Chef Graves will also make all pastas from scratch, including three unique options on his opening menu.
In addition to the craveable savory menu, Liva is pleased to offer an exciting range of cocktails. Sourcing inspiration from around the world and using seasonal ingredients, cocktails will be available to enjoy in the dining room or at the striking u-shaped bar that seats up to 25 guests. On trend and with an ear to the ground, Liva will also offer a nitro brewed espresso martini on tap.
“Liva’s bar program aspires to bring a creative take on cocktails by incorporating seasonal ingredients and at times, we will draw inspiration from the winery team to create wine centric offerings,” says Bar Manager, Roger Landes. Landes is a beverage specialist with years of experience in the Chicago bar scene, Landes’ work history includes the extensive opening cocktail program at The Loyalist in Chicago’s West Loop, and Rick Bayless’ Bar Sotano.
To complement food and drink offerings, Liva will feature a genuine, warm and inviting atmosphere. Whimsical wallpaper coverings have been added to the restaurant space to suggest distinct vignettes, including the bar, main dining room and tasting bar. Throughout the space, which seats a total of 175 people, guests will find rich, warm jewel tones with pops of color.
Guests dining at Liva will also notice the use of arches in the design that nod to historic Chicago architecture and provide a striking view of the working winery from the main dining room. A fireplace will keep conversations romantic and cozy. The restaurant will also feature a four-season outdoor patio on the main floor, available for dining outdoors year-round.
The team aims to demystify the sometimes ostentatious world of wine, beverage and food. The goal is to provide a feeling much like a visit to a friend’s home. With an eye on genuine hospitality, the team will engage guests on in-house selections and pairing recommendations. The service will be both warm and approachable.
Liva will open for dinner in late-October, Sunday - Wednesday from 5:00 - 10:00 p.m.; Thursday 5:00 - 11:00 p.m.; Friday & Saturday 5:00 p.m. to midnight – a late night menu will also be offered on Friday and Saturday from 10:00 p.m. to midnight.
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