Gibsons is opening at least one restaurant in Fulton Market, but fans of the iconic Chicago steakhouse will need patience. The debut won’t happen until late 2024 at the earliest.
“We’re a couple years from opening,” Gibsons CEO Steve Lombardo says. “We haven’t finalized the concept. It’s likely an American concept — something Gibsons related. We’re still working it out.”
Certainly, there are already a number of steakhouses in the area. But Gibsons has options. The company behind the steakhouse near Rush and Division — one of the most successful restaurant chains in the country, according to Restaurant Business Online’s numbers — with brands including Hugo’s Frog Bar, Quartino, and even the ChiSox Bar & Grill at Guaranteed Rate Field has been looking for a Fulton Market space for around a decade, Lombardo says. The family-run company has wanted a presence in a neighborhood where One Off Hospitaltiy (The Publican), Boka Restaurant Group (Swift & Sons), and DineAmic Hospitality (Fioretta) have dominated.
At 15,000 square feet, there’s plenty of room for more than one restaurant or bar. Gibsons has signed a lease on the ground floor of an under construction 400,000-square-foot building at 919 W. Fulton Street: “This is a great spot, great deal, and great building,” Lombardo says.
The company’s last major Chicago project involved three restaurants in partnership with celebrity chef José Andrés with Bar Mar, Bazaar Meats, and Cafe by the River. Gibsons has a restaurant in the area, Gibsons Italia. The restaurant comes with a scenic view of the Chicago River from a skyscraper. The Fulton Market project, on the ground floor of an upcoming 11-story building, is different.
Chicagoans may eat up the romance of Gibsons opening a restaurant in Fulton Market which was once the center of Chicago’s meatpacking industry. Others may see importing a pillar of the Gold Coast as another indication of how Fulton Market has morphed into a having a theme park feel.
Gibsons is about 20 to 24 months from an opening. By that time, the city’s restaurants will be about half-way toward the elimination of the tipped minimum wage. The City Council approved an ordinance earlier this month that will phase out the subminimum wage over five years. Lombardo admits that the price of hospitality labor will increase and so will food prices. But he’s also certain that Gibsons service model won’t be impacted. Don’t expect QR code or counter ordering. Chicago expects a certain caliber of experience at Gibsons: “I don’t know if we know any other way,” Lombardo says.
“You can’t do that at Gibsons. We won’t do that.”
Come back for more details as Gibsons makes updates available. The tentative opening schedules is exactly that, so a shift wouldn’t be surprising.
Gibsons unnamed Fulton Market projects, 919 W. Fulton Street, scheduled for a late 2024 opening.