This fall, One Off Hospitality Group, the restaurant group behind critically acclaimed Chicago restaurants Blackbird, avec, Publican, Big Star, and most recently, Publican Quality Meats, will bring Italian seafood to the heart of Chicago’s Gold Coast with the opening of Nico, which will be located at the new Thompson Chicago hotel. The announcement was made June 24, along with Thompson Hotels, AJ Capital and Walton Street Capital and marks One Off Hospitality Group and Chef Paul Kahan’s first restaurant in partnership with a hotel.
“With everything we do, we approach our projects with the spirit of creativity, our utmost attention to every detail and we welcome every guest with an overwhelming smile,” says One Off Hospitality Group partner Donnie Madia. “Nico will be no exception and will follow this award winning formula to the fullest.”
Nico will serve Italian cuisine in a rustic elegant setting with a focus on fresh fish and seafood that is passionately seasonal, unconventionally creative, and dedicated to the inspiration of classical Italian cuisine.
One Off Hospitality Group’s executive chef and partner Paul Kahan has selected chef Erling Wu-Bower to take the helm of this new venture. Wu-Bower, who has worked at Publican, Publican Quality Meats, and most recently served as Chef de Cuisine at avec, began working under the tutelage of Kahan immediately upon graduating college. Chef Perry Hendrix formally of Green Zebra and Custom House has replaced Bower at avec.
“In addition to being very intelligent, Erling is a great student of food. After working together for years, we click when we discuss our menu vision,” Kahan says. “Erling spent time in Italy, living in Rome and is very passionate about the country’s cuisine. We’re thrilled that we have him on board as Chef de Cuisine for our next venture.”
Nico will also service the hotel’s banquet halls and provide room service to the property’s guests.
Also, with the announcement of Nico, One Off Hospitality Group partners Donnie Madia and Terry Alexander will welcome the newest member of the partnership, Kimberly Phillips-Galban. Kimberly will bring hotel experience from her past occupation at the Park Hyatt where she mastered different positions before she rejoined the One Off Hospitality team in 2008.