As Giant approaches its first birthday, chef-partners Jason Vincent and Ben Lustbader are looking to expand their empire: This fall, they will become food and beverage partners at the new Ace Hotel, when it opens at 311 North Morgan Street. Vincent says his team will oversee the food program (including a full-service restaurant and 24/7 room service), but will tap a local chef to handle the kitchen’s day-to-day. Giant’s beverage director, Josh Perlman, is also coming along for the ride to curate cocktails, wine, and beer for the restaurant.
“This is not going to be Giant, West Loop edition,” says Vincent. Expect a new name (he’s currently on the fence between two) for an all-around new concept that will explore culinary ideas distinct from those at Giant. For example, the new joint will offer brunch—something Vincent has consciously avoided in the past—seven days a week. “We enjoy being closed on Sundays and Mondays [at Giant] and coming in fresh on Tuesday,” he says, “but now we have an outlet for all our brunch thoughts and ideas.”
Those ideas, exactly? Baking soda–infused cornmeal griddlecakes topped with pork shoulder ragù, melty cheese (something like Brie or Camembert), and topped with an egg. Perhaps not the most traditional brunch food you’ll enjoy this year, but Vincent is nonetheless amped: “Ace is going to knock the shit out of brunch,” he says. “I want to go there for brunch.”
The look of the place clearly excites him too, though, he admits, “I don’t have the vocabulary to describe it.” He says it’s safe to say that the new restaurant’s 160 seats (that’s almost four times the size of little Giant!) will occupy a space with its own unique vibe.
Ace is currently booking rooms for September 1, but keep your ear to the ground: Construction permitting, Vincent hopes to open up shop a little sooner than that.