Set to open August 2021, Kitchen + Kocktails by Kevin Kelley, the dynamic comfort food concept, is pleased to announce the opening of its second U.S. location, to debut in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. The new restaurant, located at 444 N. Wabash St., will feature elevated comfort food and creative craft cocktails coupled with an unmatched ambiance, at the premier downtown location. The restaurant will offer lunch, dinner, and brunch on the weekends in a lively and fun atmosphere for all to enjoy.
The restaurant is hugely successful in Dallas, where it serves Southern comfort fare and out-of-the-box libations. Kitchen + Kocktails by Kevin Kelley will focus on nicely plated fried chicken and lobster tails, shrimp and grits, jerk lamb chops, creative waffle dishes, and other Southern classics made with a twist.
“We are thrilled to bring a new era of comfort food dining to Chicago,” said Attorney Kevin Kelley, owner of Kitchen + Kocktails by Kevin Kelley. “We hope to offer an all-encompassing culinary experience that makes Chicagoans feel as if the South was delivered to the beautiful Windy City.”
The Crusader reached out to Kelley to find out more about his latest venture and why Chicago is a good bet. “I chose Chicago because I wanted to bring the restaurant to a city that I would be comfortable calling home. I love the city, the architecture, the restaurants, the ambition of the professionals and the people of Chicago,” Kelley said.
He added that he is familiar with the food scene in Chicago. “I’ve dined in tens of restaurants in the city and am always amazed at the diversity and quality of the concepts in the city. From Jerk Villa to Maple & Ash, Chicago is hands down my favorite city in the world to dine in.”
Kelley said that there was an outpouring of requests to bring his restaurant to another city, and the people in Chicago stood out the most in terms of their demand for his food and drinks.
One unique dish will be the Tomahawk steak, Kelley said. “It comes traditionally seasoned, or you can elevate your steak by requesting it with jerk flavoring or dipped in our special Asian Hennessy sauce.”
This new restaurant has also been deliberate in the way the staff, which is led by Executive Chef Vanessa Brown, was chosen. “It is our goal to offer guests a world-class dining experience, while inspiring others in the food and beverage industry to develop and support minority-owned concepts and businesses,” said Kelley. “We hope the city of Chicago supports that we are not only Black-owned, but that we’ve assembled a dream team of talent as diverse and unique as the city we will serve.”
Kelley said that he will be hiring approximately 150 people from Chicago. He said that in Dallas the majority of the staff is young and minority.
“The young men and women we have hired to work and manage, more often than not, will not have worked in the top restaurants in Chicago before. As much as we believe in service, we also believe in developing those who need opportunities and will work hard for our customers. This is the most exciting thing about coming to Chicago, the chance to make a difference.”
The robust beverage program will feature specialty cocktails with a distinctive, one-of-a-kind presentation. Several of the cocktails will feature Black-owned spirits and alcohol brands.
The 10,000-square-foot restaurant, seating 207 patrons, will feature two bars, and a private dining area that will seat 44. Kitchen + Kocktails by Kevin Kelley will be open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
For more information, visit their website at www.kitchenkocktailsusa.com.