“Manor has been gutted. People who have been inside of there won’t even recognize it,” says Chris Curren, the chef of Stout Barrel House & Galley (642 N. Clark St.; no phone yet), a restaurant scheduled to open in April in the former nightclub space, from LGN Group, known for boîtes such as Manor, Stay, and RiNo. Curren says LGN is shifting its focus to chef-driven restaurants, and Stout is a prototype. “Basically what we are going for is a bar atmosphere with upscale food,” he says.
Stout Barrel House will serve American comfort food, such as a fried-chicken dish, a burger, and oxtail ravioli, in which “we turn the braising liquid into a consommé and serve with smoked fennel and smoked grapes,” says Curren, who also oversees (and will continue to oversee) the kitchen at Blue 13. Diners can start with oysters on the half shell, and finish with desserts like an ice cream sandwich. Prices at Stout will be “reasonable, and definitely less than Blue 13 is right now,” he says. Twenty craft beers will be on draft, and a craft-cocktail program will be announced soon. “Don’t want to let that cat out of the bag yet,” Curren says.
The new space features exposed brick, hand-stained wood, and seating for a total of 140, including the bar. After five more weeks of construction, all that remains before opening is for the city to sign off on the renovations—the licensing carries over from Manor, including the 4 a.m. license.