Special Report | May 2014 | By Marlee Murphy

2014 NRA Show Guide

Page 5
The annual NRA show gives quick service and fast casual operators helpful advice
National Restaurant Association
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The Chicago Scene

Walking the Show floor can work up an appetite, and if you’ve been before, you know half the fun is trying out new local food and drink hotspots. Here are four restaurants opened since the last NRA Show that are worth checking out.

SideDoor

100 E. Ontario Street

This tavern pairs a more casual concept with a 40-year-old steakhouse, Lawry’s The Prime Rib, within a 110-year-old mansion in River North. An actual side door leads to the restored section of the established prime-rib restaurant, which now features a traditional lounge and dining room.

Ranalli’s

1925 N. Lincoln Avenue

Ranalli’s, a 40-year-old-plus pizza spot on Lincoln Avenue, completed big renovations. The space is now outfitted with multiple flat-screen TVs, two bars, and a table with its own beer taps. There are also 12 wines on tap and an expanded pizza menu.

Pearl Tavern

180 N. Wacker Drive

Pearl Tavern, a seafood eatery and oyster bar, reopened after a facelift inspired by the extravagant 1950s era in Chicago. Pearl Tavern offers a mixture of seafood dishes and old world décor.

Ajida

201 N. Wells Street, Unit C

This Japanese grill focuses on yakitori skewers, fried koshi age mono, ramen, and udon noodles, and is open seven days a week. The restaurant, located in the Loop, offers carryout and dine-in options.

 

Do Some Research!

Chicago is a hotbed of quick-service and fast-casual innovation. Do some research for your own brand by checking out these concepts that either call the Windy City home or have made it a high-priority growth market.

Protein Bar

The Protein Bar is a Chicago-based, fast-casual concept focused on serving customers nutritious foods in an efficient, contemporary environment. The brand prides itself on using only all-natural, non-artificial ingredients and proteins. The Protein Bar offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and has 11 Chicago locations. The menu includes an array of “Bar-ritos,” raw juices, salads, and blended drinks.

Hannah’s Bretzel

This Chicago-based fast casual offers a variety of organic, whole-grain sandwiches. The concept emphasizes green business practices by using only biodegradable packaging and by relying on wind and solar energy. Hannah’s is open throughout the day at each of its five Chicago locations. Exact operating times vary from store to store.

Roti Mediterranean Grill

Roti Mediterranean Grill, a growing fast-casual brand, is committed to serving natural ingredients like organic chickpeas, extra virgin olive oil, salt mined from Utah’s ancient seabeds, and sustainable meats such as Free Bird chicken and True North salmon. The menu features sandwiches, salads, rice plates, and side dishes. Roti operates 19 restaurants, eight of which are in Chicago, where the concept is headquartered.

LYFE Kitchen

419 N. Clark Street

The restaurant, founded by former McDonald’s executives in Palo Alto, California, is known for its healthy, organic cuisine, with every item containing fewer than 600 calories and served within 8–10 minutes. The Chicago space, the first LYFE Kitchen outside California, has 124 seats inside and an additional 34 on the outdoor patio, and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Next: Food News Media at the NRA Show

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