Ronero, the Latin American-inspired rum bar from Owner Nils Westlind and Executive Chef Cory Morris in Chicago, begins dinner service Wednesday, taking guests on a tour through Central and South America. From industry veteran Nils Westlind, Ronero draws inspiration from the culturally rich Latin American region where Westlind grew up. The multi-level concept will serve dinner downstairs with an additional bar upstairs, which will feature live music and entertainment in early 2017.
At the helm of Ronero’s menu is Executive Chef Cory Morris, formerly of Rural Society and Mercat a la Planxa. The menu features South American staples with contemporary touches, broken up into three sections: Para Compartir; Carnes, Aves, Pescado; and El Gran Show. Para Compartir, or “to share,” includes small bites such as Coxinha de Galinha, roasted chicken croquettes with frisse and aioli; Ceviche Mixta made with shrimp, sea bass, coconut, lime, corn nuts, fresno chiles, and cilantro; and Matambre, cured beef, heirloom carrot, egg, and chimichurri emulsion. Carnes, Aves, and Pescado features dishes including Cordero, Colorado lamb chops with huacatay sauce and Peruvian potato; and Vieiras, diver scallops with orange-mojo, polenta, and delicata squash. El Gran Show features three spectacular, shareable dishes all served tableside, including Pescado Fritto, a whole fried Red Snapper served with coconut-cola rice and fried plantain; and Puerco en Pachamanca, a 32-ounce pork shoulder wrapped in banana leaf, served with yucca and garlic mojo.
Allie Kim, formerly beverage consultant at BOKA Restaurant Group, serves as beverage director, crafting an impressive and extensive cocktail menu for the restaurant, as well as an abbreviated menu for the bar upstairs. The downstairs menu includes original cocktails such as the Mama Pacha, made with Bols Genever, Singani 63 Bolivian Spirit, St. Elizabeth Allspice Liqueur, Chicha Morada (purple corn punch), and lemon; and the Desierto Florido, made with Copper and King’s Unaged Apple Brandy, Cinnamon, lemon, egg white, Chilean Pinot Noir, and rose petals. Kim also reimagines classic Latin American cocktails such as the Daiquiri, Caipirinha, Julep, and others. Highballs and drams are available, as well as a selection of regional and local beers.
A bi-level, dual concept, Ronero draws inspiration from Little Havana in the Art Deco era. With industrial touches and gilded accents, guests are immediately transported to the rum-running days of Prohibition upon entering the restaurant. Ronero, a title given to one who has mastered the art of rum-making, served as a primary source of inspiration for the design, lending hints of nostalgia to the rum-rich cultures of the Caribbean and Latin America throughout the space. Gorgeous gold tiling adorns the walls, and vibrant tropical banana leaf print surrounds the banquets.
The upstairs bar, set to open in early 2017, is designed as an homage to Castillo San Filipe de Barajas in Cartagena, Colombia, a place that holds special memories for Westlind. The upstairs bar will hone in on crafting upscale cocktails with a focus on rum as well as rare and exclusive spirits, complete with tableside service, and live music.
Ronero will be open for dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday. Guests can make reservations through Reserve beginning Wednesday.