The Ravenswood place blends the cuisine of eight European countries, and the chef has been driving a cab and handing out cards to spread the word.
By Penny Pollack and Graham Meyer
Published Oct. 17, 2013
Putting an unexpected spin on the name of his next gig, Roger Herring has been driving his own car as a taxi for a few weeks through the app Uber, meeting people, handing out business cards, and talking up Grand Tour (2434 W. Montrose Ave., no phone yet).
“A chef told me once it’s hard to understand the food if you don’t understand the culture,” Herring says. “So driving around gives me an opportunity to try feel out what people want.”
Partnering with the team behind Quay, Red Ivy, and J Patrick’s as well as the Blackhawks’ boisterous national-anthem singer, Jim Cornelison, Herring is designing a menu reflecting the cuisines of eight European countries. He guesses the restaurant will feature a country of the month. “It’s not going to be just French and Italian,” he says. “We’ll do some fresh sausage, play the whole-animal thing a bit.”
Before Grand Tour and taxiing, Herring ran Socca, on Clark Street in Lake View. He closed at the end of his lease rather than renew for another 10 years. He’ll replay some of his greatest hits at Grand Tour. “Pizzettes built a little bit of a name for themselves,” he says, “and the rabbit risotto that we served for 10 years at Socca.”
Herring is still developing his menu, but he floated ideas about a braised lamb-shank take on a gyro, chicken schnitzel on a pretzel roll, and lobster–brown butter fries. The partners hope to open in mid-November. Expect about 150 seats, prices topping out at about $19, and international sports on the TVs.