Chef Riley Huddleston Will Bring His Idaho-Famous Fries to IO Urban Roofscape

The indoor/outdoor lounge atop the Godfrey Hotel will have a retractable roof, too.

Chef Riley Huddleston   Photo courtesy The Godfrey Hotel Chicago

Hotel dining may be in flux, but in Chicago at least, hotels have locked down rooftop drinking and dining. The newest locker in the locking-down is IO Urban Roofscape (Godfrey Hotel, 127 W. Huron St., River North, 312-649-2000), where the IO stands not for on/off, input/output, or the moon of Jupiter, but for indoor/outdoor, in reference to the space under a retractable roof on the hotel’s fourth-floor terrace.

The chef, Riley Huddleston, plans a lounge menu of dishes constructed of house-made ingredients, such as a smoked salmon flatbread with garlic oil, dill-caper crème fraîche, and chives. Spice-crusted lamb lollipops come individually on the lamb-chop bone. He plans to conjure a version of the french fries he created at the Boise Fry Company in Idaho, where he says the burgers were a side dish for the fries. “They won’t be the exact same fries, but they will be spectacular,” he says.

Huddleston boils his philosophy down to four S words: sensible, sustainable, scientific, satisfaction. For the least self-evident of those bullet points, he explains that precision allows him to rely on everyone on his staff. “We have all the cool tools. A refractometer for drinks and pastries or sorbets. [I can] measure my sugar levels so it won’t melt too fast. Consistency will be there; pH is going to be a huge thing. I have alcoholometers to level alcohol level in crafted drinks. Same every time,” he says. Those drinks will include a brandy Alexander and a Woodford Reserve mint julep.

Two bars and a two-story fire pit nestle into the space, along with something called “modern stingray-inspired cabana canopies,” which we look forward to understanding. The space also holds a water wall and a video wall, but they’re two separate walls, unlike the fountain in Millennium Park. If all goes well, the 360-seat, 15,000-square-foot space opens in still-frigid February, when you might as well call it I Urban Roofscape.

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