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Millennium Park to get new restaurant to replace Park Grill – Crain’s Chicago Business

New food and beverage offerings are coming to Millennium Park next spring as part of a $2.5 million investment to improve one of the city’s most popular attractions.

Eleven North Hospitality, a venture from restaurant and entertainment entrepreneurs who’ve also rehabbed establishments at the lakefront and beaches, has begun work on renovations and additions in Millennium Park. (See more renderings below.)

Projects include opening a new restaurant in the space that formerly housed the Park Grill, which shut down this past weekend. The space, which seats about 140 guests, will undergo an interior makeover and full redesign of the outdoor patio. The name and type of food are not being disclosed yet.

Eleven North says it’s also bringing a new Mexican cafe across from the Cloud Gate sculpture, and two kiosks selling grab-and-go food items and Chicago-themed souvenirs.

The group also plans to open a coffee bar and tearoom operated by Momentum Coffee, which will be in the Park Café space just south of the restaurant. Momentum Coffee, which also has a location in the South Loop with plans to open sites in Englewood and North Lawndale, was founded by Tracy Powell and Nikki Bravo.

Eleven North is a joint venture of John Wrenn, Nicholas Hynes, Luke Cholodecki, Michael Chookaszian and Dennis Chookaszian. Wrenn, who also owns Lakefront Hospitality Group, helped revitalize the Lakefront Restaurant at Theater on the Lake, and Hynes and Cholodecki helped renovate the Dock at Montrose Beach and Caffè Olivia at Ohio Street Beach.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better partner with a proven track record in Chicago,” Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events Commissioner Mark Kelly said in a statement. “We are thrilled about the additional capital, time and dedication the Eleven North team has already put into the Park—supporting Chicago’s economic recovery and helping Millennium Park grow even stronger than before the pandemic.”

The Park Grill and its owners were at the center of a legal battle with the city in the early 2010s over whether the restaurant would pay rent to the city for the space it occupied in the park. The dispute began in 2011 under former Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The city alleged that the Park Grill owners received a sweetheart deal from former Mayor Richard M. Daley.

In 2016, the Park Grill owners settled with the city, agreeing to pay base rent on the property and to foot the bill for water, gas and garbage removal.

Millennium Park Joint Venture, the entity that owned the Park Grill, is transferring the concession agreement to Eleven North, which will operate under the same rent and utility terms, according to Eleven North spokesman Dave Bayless. The deal and sale of the restaurant’s equipment and other assets are expected to be finalized later this month.


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