CHICAGO, Friday, December 14, 2012. What could be better than a great glass of wine paired with the finest seasonal American and European cuisine in beautiful surroundings? At Alpana Singh's The Boarding House that's just the beginning. There is so much more to "Singh" about. The whole town is already buzzing about this highly anticipated River North hotspot that started their soft opening this week with the official opening slated for Thursday, December 20, 2012.
Just try to get a reservation--they are already booked through the end of the year and beyond. One option...seating in the bar is available without a reservation--but you may have to stand.
"This project has been monumental," shared Singh, "and we are enjoying a slow reveal of the restaurant. The cellar and the bar each lend unique experiences - the bar is ideal for grabbing a drink before dinner or casually meeting up with friends, and we see the cellar becoming a fantastic spot for more sophisticated nighttime gatherings, and for those interested in exploring our rarest wine selections".
Master Sommelier and host of television's popular Check, Please!, Singh has poured her heart and soul into the wine-driven restaurant And it shows. Singh named The Boarding House after learning the history of the building located at the corner of Wells and Superior which is in it's third century having been built shortly after the Chicago fire and at one point in its long history served as a boarding house as well as a grocery store, saloon, tobacconist and even a cheese company.
The Boarding House offers a selection of 450 wines from throughout the world available at a range of price points. Selections range from classics such as California Chardonnay and Oregon Pinot Noir, to a mix of unique and interesting wines. Alpana tasted more than 1,000 wines to narrow down the portfolio, which includes several older vintages and exclusive selections available only to The Boarding House.
A special wine by the glass program includes twenty selections - eight white, two sparkling and 10 red. All wines, including by the glass pours, are stored and served at the proper temperature (cellar temperature for reds). Special wines by the glass (poured from magnums or wines that are rare, aged, and interesting) are available on a daily basis.
In addition to the wines, The Boarding House will offer contemporary, creative, and classic cocktails by Mixologist Tony Potempa. Spirits will include a mix of local artisan spirits and popular recognizable brands. All fruit juices, spices, and mixers will be hand-squeezed, grown, and made in house, and changing seasonally. Their signature cocktail, the honey bee sidecar, features an a honey comb in the glass.
The menu will feature the rustic, New American and European cuisine of Quebec native and Executive Chef Christian Gosselin,
The Boarding House is made up of four levels:
- The Cellar on the lower level of the restaurant is comprised of a 75-seat venue that includes an intimate cocktail bar, lounge seating, and banquettes that run the perimeter of the space. Carved arches mimic the curves of wine barrels while a glassed-in, amber-lit wine cellar serves as both storage and a warm design element.
- The Bar on the first floor of The Boarding House serves as the restaurant's entry point. A large white marble topped bar with seating for 35 anchors the space, while highboy communal tables and lounge sofas encourage mingling, socializing and a convivial energy making way for a seating total of 100. A custom ceiling light installation made with 9063 wine glasses adds drama to the entry as do the beveled mirrors. Large chalkboards list daily specials and unique pours by the glass. Guests can match their beverage selections with Chef Gosselin's light bar snacks menu, showcasing traditional wine bar provisions such as cheese and charcuterie, Northern California-style pizzas, and signature creations such as Pork Tots. Dishes start at $4.
- The Private Dining Room on the second floor can accommodate 50 guests for a seated dinner. The space features a seamless mix of gold, burgundy, blue, patina, natural wood and exposed brick.
- The Dining Room on the third floor of the restaurant features design elements including soaring ceilings, exposed beams, inlaid hardwood floors and tables with large bay windows overlooking the neighborhood plus a custom ceiling installation made from 3,456 wine bottles. The ambiance is casual and designed for everyday dining. The Dining Room's seating capacity is approximately 90 with an additional 20 on a raised mezzanine overlooking the room. The menu features a mix of small ($7-$12), medium ($14-$16), large ($22-$45), and shared plates designed for two. Dishes include items like a seafood tower, braised meats, rack of lamb, house made pastas, steak and variety of seafood entrees.
Location and hours.
720 N. Wells, (312) 280-0720, valet parking available. Hours: Dining Room, Sunday and Monday: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Cellar, Sunday through Friday: 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday: 5 p.m. to 3 a.m.; Bar, Sunday through Friday: 4:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday: 4:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. Attire: Casual-Chic.