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Former Hubbard Inn owner Alonso to merge art and food in new Fulton Market restaurant

Daniel Alonso, a partner in Wicker Park'sBlack Bull and formerly in Hubbard Inn, is merging art and food in the West Loop with Fulton Market Kitchen, scheduled to open in March. The restaurant, in the former Victor Hotel space at 311 N. Sangamon St., is the brainchild of Mr. Alonso and designer/partner Alex Morales.

The pair took over the 6,000-square-foot space and gutted it to the studs to create a restaurant inspired by the thriving community in Miami's Wynwood Arts District, Mr. Alonso says.

We got a tour this week. Fulton Market Kitchen will comprise a main dining room, lounge and two private dining rooms with total seating for 175 — each room with its own look.

The use of street art, graffiti and iconic pop art, which hits you as soon as you walk through the heavy steel meatpacking door at the entrance, will tie the spaces together. Chicago artist Erik DeBat will install a multipanel street-art piece guests will see as they walk up the black-and-white tile ramp into the high-ceilinged main dining room. That room will have a 40-seat banquette, a 20-seat elevated booth area, a 24-seat communal table cut out of a slab of bubinga wood and a leather-rimmed main bar set atop dozens of vintage suitcases.

Fulton Market Kitchen's menu, which is under development by culinary director James Gottwald (Rockit Ranch Productions, Monti's) and chef de cuisine Kyle Petersen (Naha, Ceres Table), will feature contemporary American fare. It'll have a mix of shared plates and entrees ranging from $12 to $18. The restaurant will kick off with dinner, add weekend brunch this summer and eventually include lunch.

Alonso and Morales plan to rotate art throughout the year. "We want to create an extension of the gallery system and sell the art," Mr. Alonso said. "We'll partner with local charities to give a portion of the proceeds sold from quarterly auctions. It keeps things fresh for our customers, the artists and our team."

The food will change out as the installations do. "The menu will take cues from artists and exhibits," Mr. Alonso said. "If we have a Spanish artist, that can inspire dishes and cocktails."

Mr. Alonso tapped Chicago rock photographer Paul Natkin to install a wall of his iconic photos in the lounge, which was designed by Mr. Morales, whose Chicago-based Smartmouth Designshas done work for restaurants BellyQ and Untitled and shops including Halo for Men in Lincoln Park.

—Ari Bendersky


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