As someone who likes to try new restaurants, I am excited to try the upcoming Kitchen + Kocktails by Kevin Kelley, The second U.S. location is set to open in August 2021 in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. Located at 444 N. Wabash, it will feature elevated comfort food and creative craft cocktails coupled with an unmatched ambiance, at the premier downtown location. The 10,000-square-foot restaurant, seating 207 patrons, will feature two bars, and a private dining area that will seat 44. The restaurant will offer lunch, dinner, and brunch on the weekends in a lively and fun atmosphere for all to enjoy.
The first location in Dallas serves Southern comfort fare and out-of-the-box libations. I asked Kevin Kelley, CEO, Kitchen + Kocktails, what inspired the menus? “The menu was inspired by my love of the best food in the world, comfort food. It was important that we not only have comfort food, shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, jerk lamb chops, greens, yams and mac and cheese, but also that we elevate the options. This is why we have fried chicken that comes in jerk, Asian Hennessy, smothered, Nashville hot and other flavors. We want to create and take comfort food to a different level.” What dishes do you recommend/think diners should try? “My absolute favorite is shrimp and grits, with a fried lobster tail on the top. I love to pair it with a drink called the True Flame, a rum creation that is set afire and poured from glass to glass with a prominent flame.”
I was curious, what made you choose Chicago as the next restaurant location? “Chicago was chosen because of my love for the people in the city. Everyone in Chicago has been fantastic and supportive of the concept.” responds Kelley. “We wanted to be in a city that would embrace Kitchen + Kocktails by Kevin Kelley and since this decision was made we’ve received an outpouring of support from everyone.”
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. Wondering what are the best cocktails with your meal? Kevin says, “Our guests would answer that our Peach Dusse frozen drink and Strawberry Hennessy frozen drink are the best to pair with our food. However, we’ve many options, including our rum punch, frozen margarita, and Black Magic cocktail with dry ice are other popular options.”
“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.”
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.
Photos courtesy of Heron Agency