A few years ago, the restaurateur John McLean told us about his plans to build a new restaurant group. First he spun out details on a Neapolitan pizza place, and then an urban burger bar. Sure enough, Sono Wood Fired and Burger Bar Chicago opened slice-by-patty on Clybourn Avenue.
McLean also hinted at rapid expansion, and now, he and his business partner, Martin Murch, are adding to their Good Eats Group, beginning with a second Burger Bar (1150 S. Michigan Ave., 312-988-0162), in a high-rise called the Columbian. The 130-seater, scheduled to open next Thursday, will kick off with the Clybourn location’s signature burgers, as well as 30 draft lines and 40 to 50 beers in cans and bottles.
Hot on the hooves of the second Burger Bar, McLean is targeting a July 1 opening for an unnamed pair of projects at 800 South Clark Street, a coffee shop and a Mediterranean small-plates spot. The 15- to 20-seat coffee shop will make its own doughnuts and pastries and serve panini and salads at lunch. Inspired by a recent trip to Barcelona, McLean plans the wood-fired Spanish flatbreads called cocas, wood-roasted meats, plancha-cooked prawns and razor clams, and paella at the 125-seat Mediterranean restaurant. “It will be really robust food,” he says.
Unfortunately, among all those fulfilled pledges, McLean didn’t promise to devise a replacement for Ventra. We checked.