A Neighborhood Favorite Makes a Splashy River North Entrance

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There’s a splashy new edition to the River North restaurant scene on the ground floor of a 971-foot skyscraper next to the neighborhood’s hulking Whole Foods. Local group Ballyhoo Hospitality has brought its neighborhood staple, Gemini, closer to downtown with the debut of Gemini Grill at One Chicago at 748 N. State Street.

Designed by prolific local firm Siren Betty, its first-floor space houses a lengthy racetrack bar for dining and drinking, as well as a dining room populated with clamshell booths. It’s divided into sections to create a cozier atmosphere and lined with windows that fill the space with natural light. Ballyhood opened its original Gemini-branded restaurant in 2009 in Lincoln Park, then called Gemini Bistro. They remodeled in 2017 and truncated the name. Fans of the Lincoln Park restaurant are known to rave about its dog-friendly patio, so Gemini Grill will follow suit with an outdoor courtyard where pooches are welcome.

The wood-paneled second floor, designed to evoke the style of a members-only club, is primarily devoted to private events with a bar and views of Holy Name Cathedral, a Roman Catholic church that dates back to the 1870s. Given the restaurant’s proximity to the soaring structure, just a two-minute walk away, it’s easy to imagine families booking the event space to celebrate marriages, baptisms, and confirmations.

Gemini Grill’s menu also bears many of the hallmarks of the Lincoln Park restaurant with a focus on familiar American dishes with some modern tweaks. The opening lunch menu is stacked with crowd-pleasers like Greek Panzanella salad (Persian cucumber, cherry tomato, dill, focaccia, spicy feta), Korean fried chicken sandwiches (black garlic aioli, green papaya slaw), and hanger steak frites with chimichurri. There’s also a kids menu, replete with cheesy carbs, and the team plans to soon add brunch and dinner service.

Founded in 2009 by Chicago restaurateur Ryan O’Donnell, Ballyhoo has grown significantly in recent years. After earning a cadre of fans at Gemini, O’Donnell went on to open Italian spot Coda di Volpe in Lakeview and Mexican restaurant Old Pueblo Cantina in Lincoln Park. The group significantly ramped up in the early years of the pandemic, launching five suburban Chicago restaurants between 2020 and 2023. Last year, the group unveiled DeNuccis, a red sauce Italian spot in the former Four Farthings Tavern & Grill in Lincoln Park.

Another restaurant is planned on a third-floor space at One Chicago. It’s ticketed for another operator. David Pisor’s Etta Collective was once involved, but the building’s owners have since severed ties after the company’s financial woes.

Gemini Grill, 748 N. State Street, Open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Reservations via Resy.

Gemini Grill

748 N. State Street, Chicago, IL 60654 (773) 569-3522 Visit Website

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