One Off Hospitality—one of the industry’s most celebrated hospitality groups, awarded nine James Beard Awards and numerous high-profile accolades—announced the expansion of their beloved, trailblazing restaurant, avec, to its second location in the River North neighborhood.
On Friday, February 12, avec River North, located at 141 W. Erie Street (formerly Pacific Standard Time), will open its doors with the same warm hospitality and delicious food guests have come to love at the Randolph Street mainstay, avec West Loop. avec River North will open for limited indoor dining in accordance with all current health and safety guidelines, as well as carryout and delivery.
avec West Loop and avec River North will each have their own separate culinary and experiential offerings that match their unique personalities—all while laddering up to avec’s rustic Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and European-style atmosphere. Like the best dinner party you’ve been to, both restaurants are created to celebrate good times, good food and good living.
“We see this as an opportunity to bring more avec to Chicagoans. We are adding to, not subtracting from, our beloved 17-year-old brand with a lot more to give,” says One Off Hospitality Partner, Donnie Madia. “This is another chapter in the long story of avec.”
Under the culinary direction of Paul Kahan, award-winning chef and cookbook author, and Perry Hendrix, an 8-year avec veteran, avec River North will focus on a wider breadth of culinary inspiration. Featuring the flavors, aromas and cuisine of the sun-drenched islands of the Mediterranean from Greece to Spain, the menu offers avec favorites—including the infamous chorizo-stuffed Medjool dates, the “deluxe” focaccia and the slow-roasted pork shoulder—as well as an expanded menu of additional pizza, pasta and fish options.
Highlights from the new River North menu include new small plates, such as the sea scallop crudo with meyer lemon, caper and couscous and hearth baked merluza filet with calamari, tomato, fideo pasta and aioli. Pasta highlights include a rigatoni pasta with braised lamb neck ragu, olives and fennel pollen, and pizza such as the smoked lake fish pizza with garlic cream, marinated kale and charred lemon.
“We’ve always wanted to offer more from avec than what our kitchen at Randolph Street would allow,” says Kahan, executive chef of One Off Hospitality. “Under the leadership of Perry Hendrix over the years, the menu at West Loop has come to highlight flavors that lend to Middle Eastern and southwestern European influence. There are so many great ideas on this new menu and the new location allows us to incorporate more.”
The River North restaurant provides an added benefit for the current climate: the expansive, open floor plan dining room has more space for more guests to enjoy the avec experience while maintaining rigorous safety standards—an essential element to creating a comfortable dining experience today. A larger kitchen allows for the expanded menu, allowing the team to provide a wider range of experiences and service more guests.
Guests can expect the same exceptional service and hospitality that have become hallmarks over the last 17 years at avec: an unpretentious warmth and deep culinary and wine knowledge across the team that will be maintained at the West Loop while expanded to River North.
“In the months before the pandemic hit, we were actively exploring opportunities to expand the avec brand—we found there an opportunity in River North and a calling for a restaurant like avec among professionals and residents alike,” remarks Karen Browne, CEO at One Off Hospitality. “Like we invested in the West Loop 17 years ago, we will continue to invest in our River North neighborhood, maintaining real relationships with our neighbors, nearby businesses and the friends we serve for years to come.”
Fans of the original avec have news to celebrate as well. avec West Loop will continue its robust carryout and delivery program. Under the direction of Kahan and Chef de Cuisine Dylan Patel—a homegrown avec chef who worked his way up through the kitchen, being named Chef de Cuisine in February 2020—the menu features rustic style cuisine with a lean towards North African, Middle Eastern and Southwestern European influences.
In addition to the downstairs takeout operation with avec classics, the upstairs (previously used as the private dining space) is open for limited indoor dining offering avec rotisserie. This new extension of avec has yielded much excitement from customers over the last 10 months for its Middle Eastern flavors via delivery and carryout, setting up an exciting opportunity to translate this experience to in-restaurant dining. Seven nights a week, guests can enjoy delicious proteins such as rotisserie chicken, piri piri chicken wings and sumac glazed lamb shoulder, grilled prawns and Moroccan squid stew, vegetarian dishes like cauliflower shawarma and mezze options galore.
Wine lists at both locations will be curated by Partner and Wine Steward, Eduard Seitan. The expansive, moderately priced wine lists will continue to focus on the Mediterranean region's hearty peasant wines from small producers in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, always served in stemless glasses to keep a casual air.
Reservations for avec River North can be made via TOCK here. River North hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 4 to 10 p.m for dine-in and takeout.
avec West Loop reservations will offer dine-in reservations via TOCK for avec rotisserie nightly from 4 to 9 p.m. with takeout and delivery options available seven days a week between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and again from 4:30 to 10 p.m.
News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by FSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.