What do you get when you cross the flavor influences of the Mediterranean, Portugal, Boston, and Seattle? That would be the New American-food offerings at Steadfast (the Gray Hotel, 120 W. Monroe St., the Loop), a high-end restaurant from The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group set to begin cooking in May.
Homestead on the Roof’s Chris Davies (a savory chef, who previously lived in Egypt and worked in kitchens around Seattle) and Chris Teixeira (who brings flavors of his former homes, Portugal and Boston, to the pastry program) move from a hyper-seasonal West Town restaurant somewhat oddly located atop Roots Pizza to ritzy digs in the yet-to-open Kimpton Hotels concept. (Rob Shader, who clocked time with the Fifty/50 Group at West Town Bakery and Homestead, will take over at Homestead.)
“[Davies and Teixeira] have truly been successful at Homestead, but I’ve always thought that they were not getting their due credit because of how seasonal the restaurant is,” says Scott Weiner, co-owner and founder of the Fifty/50 Group. “I promised them that if they could do something special at Homestead, we would find them a location downtown,” he adds.
Weiner has made good on his promise, and the new digs pay homage to the building—the third-oldest skyscraper in Chicago and former New York Standard Life Insurance office. A landmarked storefront will house a 14-seat chef’s tasting room, for which the restaurant will enlist a ticketing system. Weiner describes the room, which was designed by the James Beard award-winning New York-based firm Parts & Labor Design, as “cutting-edge,” with a charcuterie cooler and whole animals on display for (non-squeamish, hopefully) diners.
In the main dining room, there will be 107 seats, including a bar and a chef’s table. The goal is for all diners to catch glimpses of Davies and Teixira at work. Though Steadfast will be open for lunch with a menu geared toward the business set, Weiner says the dinner crowd is his priority. Expect local produce, chicken, fish, and steak, but make no mistake—this is not another steakhouse.
Davies highlights a traditional North African dish of black cod with freekah porridge, black garlic verde sauce, and apples compressed with small batch vinegar from Napa Valley. “We see this as Homestead pushed to the next level,” he says.
Teixeira, who learned the fine dining ropes at Sixteen, plans a bread and pastry program with plenty of Mediterranean flare. His breadbasket will let guests create their own mix of ciabatta, sourdough, and traditional French loaves, accompanied by housemade oils, honey, and butter.
Seeing as the Fifty/50 Group operates the Berkshire Room and the Sixth, a solid beverage program seems a shoo-in. Benjamin Schiller will oversee liquid offerings, and will bring in talent from both bars to Steadfast to serve, among other things, antique bourbons hearkening back to Prohibition.
With Homestead and Steadfast on their résumés, Davies and Teixiera stand in pretty good stead in the culinary world.