Opening: The Sophisticated 1950as Pearl Tavern

Pearl Tavern, the seafood-themed restaurant, which took over the former Coogan’s Riverside Saloon in Chicago, made its debut last month on January 21 to rave reviews.

Pearl Tavern is an homage to sophisticated 1950s Chicago and features a rotating crudo bar and oyster bar with gleaming brass fixtures. It’s owner Aldofo Garcia’s first restaurant after separating from his partners at Hubbard Inn and Barn & Co.

Pearl Tavern Chicago

Photo Credit: Timothy Hiatt

The 130-seat space which overlooks the Chicago River is adorned with murals of mermaids and dark wood restored millwork that complements the brass fixtures.

In line with the decor, the menu skews traditional with east and west coast oysters, tuna poke, scallops on the half shell, and razor clams with absinthe. Small plates and specials are less traditional including crab churros and gnocchi with pistachio emulsion. Sandwich options include a Connecticut lobster roll.

Garcia teamed with chef Chris Lorenz (Pelago, Brasserie Jo), who is "embracing the flavors and ingredients of the globe, because in my mind this is truly the fabric of 'American' cuisine," Mr. Lorenz said in a Chicago Business article. "I want to pair a revival of an Old World oyster bar with new world sea delicacies."

At the bar, classic-leaning cocktail offerings are light with citrus flavors. Expect a decent wine and champagne list as well.

Come late spring and summer, Garcia plans to open a garden-like 180-seat riverfront dining area just a few feet above the waterline. He also plans to expand the Pearl Tavern concept to North Miami Beach next summer, where he’s looking at an old Art Deco building.



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