French brasserie to open in financial district as part of plaza redesign.
Chef Matt Ayala, inset, will helm a new French restaurant in the financial district. The 5,000-square-foot restaurant is planned for the site at 401 S. Financial Pl. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)
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A sister of French restaurant Cochon Volant is planned in a plaza alongside an office tower in the city’s financial district, part of the landlord’s efforts to attract office tenants.
The restaurant at 401 S. Financial Place, to be called Taureaux Tavern, Bar and Brasserie, is expected to open in spring 2018, said Caitlin McCarthy, a spokeswoman for restaurant operator WellDone Hospitality Group, which has signed a lease for the space.
The 5,000-square-foot restaurant also will include a large patio with more than 100 seats in the plaza along the western edge of the 39-story office tower at 440 S. LaSalle St.
WellDone is a partnership of James Beard Award-winning chef Roland Liccioni, whose other restaurants have included Le Francais and Les Nomades, and the founders of OrganicLife, which provides meals to schools.
WellDone opened Cochon Volant, French for “flying pig,” in the Loop’s Hyatt Centric hotel in 2015. The Taureaux name, in a nod to trading firms in the area, translates as Bulls Tavern.
Building owner CIM Group, like other office landlords, is seeking unique restaurants, retailers and other amenities, and not just because they represent new sources of revenue.
“Our assignment was to bring in a full-service restaurant with bar, specifically to enhance the building for new office tenants and existing tenants,” said broker David Stone, who represented CIM Group in the lease along with John Vance, also a principal at retail brokerage Stone Real Estate. “Having a hip, cool, active restaurant and bar downstairs is a unique way to differentiate your office building.”
Taureaux Tavern is expected to have a casual bistro feel similar to Cochon Volant, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night cocktails. Cochon Volant executive chef Matt Ayala will serve the same role at Taureaux Tavern.
WellDone’s restaurant concepts also include Dough Bros. and Mixed Greens.
Previously, the building served as the offices of Gardner Rich, the firm led by stock broker Chris Gardner, whose life was the subject of the movie and book “The Pursuit of Happyness,” according to Chicago-based real estate brokerage MB Real Estate.
The rags-to-riches story of Gardner, who grew up amid poverty and violence, was played in the 2006 movie by Will Smith. The Chicago-based brokerage had its office in the Financial Place building for more than a decade, according to MB, which manages the property.
The single-story building is along the west side of Four40, the tower CIM bought last year in a deal that valued the property at about $200 million. Four40, known for the Chicago Stock Exchange, includes an unusual mix of uses, including the higher-end French restaurant Everest and boutique Buckingham Hotel on the top floor, the Buckingham Club private club and fitness center on the third floor and a 325-space parking garage underground.
The restaurant is part of a full redesign of the plaza outside Four40, Stone said.
“The plaza offered a distinct advantage that these guys recognized,” Stone said of WellDone. “I don’t know of another office site that has a free-standing, one-story building that can become a restaurant.”
Los Angeles-based CIM also owns Tribune Tower, which is expected to be redeveloped, and the Block 37 shopping mall and apartment tower.