New Fulton Market Kitchen in Chicago

Last night I was invited to the private media preview of Fulton Market Kitchen in the Meat Packing District of Chicago, which opens today. I’d never been to that part of town, so I was excited to explore a new area of the city. I hopped on the train and headed that way.

When I got off I was surprised to find myself surrounded by warehouses. As I started walking down the street, I noticed  most of them were high-end designer showrooms and nice restaurants. Can’t always judge a book by it’s cover.

I approached the entrance to the Fulton Market Kitchen, which sits at the end of Sangamon Street, and I was greeted with a large red industrial door. It felt like I was walking into a hidden gem of sorts; a place not many people know exist. At least not yet.

Fulton Market Kitchen is a concept turned reality by co-owners Daniel Alonso and Relu Stan. This place is Chicago street art meets Miami graffiti, and comes complete with modern, classy furnishings.

When you first walk in, the main wall that surrounds the bar is a massive work of red, black and white graffiti by Erni Vales, a renowned artist based in Miami. Trail on through the restaurant and find a private dining room that looks set for royalty, right before you reach the second bar in the back of the place. The backdrop is a slush pile of wooden chairs, mounted to the wall.

Chicago based artist Erik DeBat was in charge of filling the surrounding space with his alive paintings, and he did not disappoint. Paint dripped down the walls and layers of different elements gave the room a comic-book feel with a side of grunge and grit. The tables were brightly lit with candles and the couches were tufted black leather.

Pop a squat and order a few free cocktails? Don’t mind if I do..

My favorite of the night was the What’s Up Doc, made with grey goose vodka, carrot juice, lemon, ginger and tarragon. Clever name for a delicious drink! And sipping it in this ultra-swanky environment was the cherry on top.

It was artsy and a cool, yet classy and modern. On weeknights it’s a place to grab some cocktails and a bite to eat, but on the weekends, expect DJs to turn things up. Its the best of both worlds.

I chatted with one of the cocktail waitresses, Sarah, and she told me the owners had wanted a place that they could display art, but still have a restaurant. The result is a rotating gallery of sorts that will consistently change and feature new artists. Art is not only on display, but also for sale.

I love the concept, and Chicago needs more places like this.The cocktails and food were delicious, and the service was equally satisfying. It wasn’t somewhere I’d go and feel uncomfortable if not in heels, but it wasn’t a place I wouldn’t dress nice for.  What would you wear to an opening night of an art gallery? That’s what you should wear to Fulton Market Kitchen.

All in all, I’d give this place a 10. I’m taking a Saturday night off and gathering a group of friends for a night of tasty cocktails and conversation pieces on every wall!

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