photo: courtesy four seasons chicago

Keep an eye out for Kevin Hickey's new project with Rockit Ranch Productions, slated to open this winter. 

A lot of news recently hit Chicago's dining department all at once: First, we heard that Kevin Hickey, who earned four stars from Chicago for his work at the Four Seasons Chicago restaurant Seasons, had left the hotel group and Seasons’ successor, Allium (120 E. Delaware Pl., 312-649-2349) Only hours later, a second release landed in our inboxes announcing that Hickey had teamed up with Billy Dec and Rockit Ranch Productions (Rockit Bar and Grill, Sunda, Ay Chiwowa).

A January fire closed Rockit’s Dragon Ranch Moonshine & BBQ (441 N. Clark St., no phone). Then, with the opening of the barbecue spot Bub City next door, Dec soured on reopening the same concept after rebuilding. “I just mentioned it to Kevin,” he says. “Kevin was excited about the space just because it’s become such a high-traffic street—[Rick] Bayless[’s restaurants], Naha, Sunda. It’s the first time for him having a door right there [on the street] with access to the traffic.”

Hickey says the as-yet-unnamed modern American restaurant will continue his commitment to local farmers, cheesemakers, brewers, distillers, and so forth that defined Allium. The philosophy extends to the bar. “We’re looking for bartenders who have cooking backgrounds,” he says. “I envision cooks and bartenders both being at mise en place stations.”

Dec and Hickey plan to open this winter, hopefully closer to December than March.