By Phil Vettel | Chicago Tribune
Pearl Brasserie (180 N. Wacker Drive), which opened late last summer, will serve its last meal Friday.
The restaurant has been purchased by Bonhomme Hospitality Group (Beatnik, Black Bull, Fulton Market Kitchen, et al.), which will create two restaurants in the space: Cafe Bonhomme, an Old World-style cafe focused on breakfast, lunch and happy hour; and Beatnik on the River, a seasonal restaurant (copied from the West Town original) that will occupy the space’s 120-seat riverside patio.
Though the location is expected to be closed for at least a month for renovation, Bonhomme founder Daniel Alonso said that most Pearl Brasserie employees will retain their jobs.
“Anybody who wants to stay has been offered employment,” he said. “And our training regimen is 30 days, anyway.”
“Let’s be honest,” he said. “It’d be foolish of me not to take advantage of the summer, being on the river, especially. It’s a beautiful space already; I’m going to enhance it, of course, but if anything, I’m going to punch (it) up. I like their use of brass, so you’ll probably see more brass; I like the white marble, so you’ll probably see more of that.”
When completed, Cafe Bonhomme will open early — 8 a.m. — Monday to Friday, to take advantage of the heavy commuter foot traffic in the area, Alonso said. The cafe will have a shared-dishes lunch menu and will aggressively pursue the after-5 crowd. On Saturdays and Sundays, the restaurant will be available for private parties only.
Beatnik on the River will have virtually the same menu as its West Town sibling, including brunch. But the new Beatnik is strictly outdoors; a retractable awning will provide protection against light rain, but not much more than that.
Marcos Campos, executive chef at Beatnik, will oversee the menus for Cafe Bonhomme and Beatnik on the River.
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