Avli on the Park – the fourth restaurant of Greek-American chef Louie Alexakis and Lou Canellis’ fast-growing modern Greek food empire – opened this week. The new flagship represents the next chapter in the brand’s attempt to dominate Chicago, establishing itself at 180 N. Field Boulevard, the former home of III Forks Steakhouse, as the pandemic subsides.
The new 13,000-square-foot tavern is completely remodeled, swapping black walls and dark wood accents for a light, airy aesthetic meant to make diners feel like vacationing on the sun-bleached Greek coast. Rustic wood wall decor, rope loops draped above, and sculptural light fixtures soften the otherwise austere white spaces. Clues from the previous tenant remain, including huge floor-to-ceiling windows with lovely views of Lakeshore East Park, a huge U-shaped bar, and a pair of two-sided stone fireplaces.
The space is prepared for alfresco dining – a pandemic necessity that will likely remain even after the city has fully reopened. It has a huge roof terrace with heated cabins to attract guests all year round.
Executive chef and native Greek Nikolaos Kapernaros (Hyatt Regency Chicago, Grand Resort Lagonissi) has incorporated his own family’s recipes into the menu alongside longtime Avli hits such as Astakomakaronatha, or Lobster pasta (tomatoes, white wine, ouzo) and Garides Kataifi, or filo shrimps (spicy mayo, Greek yogurt). Kapernaros also offers a chef’s table with special menus and a handful of small plates and desserts for rooftop patrons.
There’s a wine list filled with Greek selections and natural wines, plus house cocktails like Teach Me to Dance (vodka infused with Greek wild mountain tea, bergamot, thyme, honey, lemon).
Alexakis and Fox Chicago, sports anchor Cannelis, also operate Avli restaurants in Lincoln Park, River North and the suburb of Winnetka. The new Lakeshore East outpost is the result of a collaboration with local real estate company Magellan Development Group.
Visit the space in the photos below.
Avli on the park, 180 N. Field Boulevard, open 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday