Debuting in late May or early June in the already-bustling West Loop, Honey’s (1111 W. Lake St., West Loop, no phone yet) will be a come-as-you-are restaurant and bar with serious food.
The 100-seat, wood-accented restaurant will be divvied up into a more boisterous 40-seat bar (which includes a raw bar) and a separate, more intimate, 60-seat dining room with white tablecloths. The crew tapped Charles Welch (Sepia) as executive chef to oversee what looks to be an ambitious menu.
“Originally, [we envisioned] a more casual concept, but we decided we wanted to push for a Michelin star,” Welch says, insisting that it will be, above all, a neighborhood place. “We want to be that everyday spot having dishes that people crave.”
Like a lot of high-end cooking around here, Honey’s contemporary American menu will change seasonally, focus on technique, and be largely scratch-made. But no open kitchen; Welch finds them distracting. Anchoring said closed kitchen is a wood-fired rotisserie grill, reflecting Welch’s desire for “stripped-down” cooking over fire. Here’s what else to expect food-wise:
- A raw seafood counter with oysters, clams, and upscale plated brasserie dishes.
- Simple grilled appetizers like seafood, or, Welch’s current favorite, grilled flatbread with morcilla and apples.
- Two “obviously hand-made” rotating pastas, such as buckwheat noodles with pecorino and thyme butter.
- Chicken as a staple protein, highlighted in entrees like the opening-menu rotisserie chicken breast with Provencal-style baby artichokes barigoule and carrots with white wine and lemon.
- “Savvy” desserts from pastry chef Alison Cates (Owen & Engine, Green Zebra, Sepia).
Sounds simple, right? “I promise,” Welch says.