Now that Just Grapes is open, Don Sritong is focusing efforts on the new wine and food restaurant, Coppervine.
Now that the sommelier and businessman Don Sritong has gotten his relocated wine shop Just Grapes (1149 N. State St., 312-255-9463) up and running as of August 29, his attention turns to his collaboration with chef Michael Taus (Zealous): the beverage-pairing restaurant Coppervine (1962 N. Halsted St., no phone yet), scheduled hopefully to open before Thanksgiving.
Located in the former home of Aubriot and a Boston Blackie’s, Coppervine will focus on the tango between food and drink. “Not prioritizing food, not prioritizing the beverage, but how the two interact with one another,” Sritong says. “Perfecting the pairing.”
Sritong says that for the past four to six months, he and Taus have met regularly, with Taus cooking elevated American comfort-food dishes alongside Sritong’s choices of wines or cocktails. The pair has created about 25 dishes, including desserts, categorized as small, medium, or large plates. Coffees will be paired with the desserts.
Taus won’t stay on indefinitely at Coppervine. His arrangement with Sritong calls for his consulting position to run out shortly after the opening, though he will work with the restaurant a few times each year to help with menu planning.
The 555 International–designed restaurant won’t have loud music or disheveled waiters, Sritong says. “[They also won’t] sit at your table while they are taking your order,” he says. “Certain things are sacred.”
Upstairs from the 75-seat dining room, a 50-seat second-floor space will serve as a sort of laboratory where customers can test pairings under consideration for the main menu. And if a customer should say a pairing is perfect, well, that’d be the ultimate complement.