Open now: BLVD

By / Dining / July 27, 2017

Sunset Boulevard glamour comes to Fulton Market.

When Kara Callero — who previously repped chefs and restaurants like Tony Mantuano and 42 Grams for Wagstaff Worldwide — her lawyer husband Frank and his cousin, real-estate investor Steven Zaleski, first decided to open a restaurant, the property naturally came first. “We walked around the West Loop one day, knocking on doors to find a space, because everything was off the market,” Callero says. “So when we saw the [available] space at 817 W. Lake, we were just wowed — it was a completely blank [canvas] with enormous ceilings and two floors. We wanted to put a concept in there that felt just as grand and luxurious.”

With the help of Karen Herold at Studio K Creative, the trio created a massive, speakeasy-inspired restaurant, drawing inspiration from 1950s Sunset Boulevard. The team conjured up a classic American menu with worldly influences. “We thought a lot about what was happening in history at the time,” she says. “Soldiers were coming back from World War II, so they were exposed to different cuisines and flavors, and brought with them an appreciation for new cuisines and flavors.”

Here’s what else to expect at BLVD:

Think big: Glittering chandeliers, gold mirrors, sleek booths in catacomb alcoves, a spiral staircase and metallic finishes make the art deco spot fit for Frank Sinatra himself. “A lot of restaurants in the 1950s, especially [in Hollywood], were an all-encompassing experience,” Callero says. “They allowed you to get lost in that world.”

Pass it around: If the “Divide & Conquer” menu heading doesn’t give it away, everything is shareable. Our favorites? The heirloom tomato ($14) on a “shingle” of sourdough bread, topped with burrata, basil seeds and pickled shallots; and the pork belly ($24) with kimchi and a soy-bacon vinaigrette.

Last sip: The cocktails take diners back in time, too. Try A Farewell to Arms daiquiri ($13) or the Velvet Kick ($13), the house’s play on a Moscow Mule. Fun fact: the Mule was invented on Sunset Bouleveard in the 1940s, and was coined “the drink with the velvet kick.”

Open Sunday to Thursday 5 p.m.-11 p.m, and Friday to Saturday 5 p.m.-1 a.m., 817 W. Lake, (312) 526-3116;

Pictured at top: Dayboat scallops with zucchini cake and summer squash puree ($28)

Photos by Paul Strabbing


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