New neighborhood sushi restaurant run by veteran Chicago chef opens in Lincoln Park
Sushi Hall, a new sushi restaurant in Lincoln Park, opened its doors this week, completing the transformation of a vacant tavern into a cozy and contemporary neighborhood retreat.
Nestled inside a 150-year-old building at 2630 N. Clark Street, Sushi Hall aims to provide Lincoln Park residents with a middle ground between Chicago’s lineup of ultra-casual all-you-can-eat sushi restaurants and the splashy, spendthrift omakase dens.
“The neighborhood is so important to us,” says his partner Jacob Ringer, who in 2019 ran for city councilor for the 43rd arrondissement. Although he didn’t win the election (a family tradition, it turns out – in 1967 his father also lost his bid for alderman in the same ward), Ringer knocked on 10,000 doors. in the area and says the experience gave him a deeper understanding of the Lincoln Park community. “My restaurant inspirations are something like Gemini – a neighborhood staple forever – or the Willow Room: it’s very local, very inviting, but instead of a cheeseburger, you get a sushi roll.”
The novice-friendly menu goes into great detail, listing each component in its signature maki, as well as its location inside or on top of each of the eight reels. There’s also a collection of classic maki and sashimi, plus a plethora of playful entrees like togarashi fries with yuzu aioli and Spicy Poppers (tempura-breaded jalapeños served with spicy tuna and unagi sauce. ).
Sushi Hall patrons can also order an “I don’t eat sushi” menu, designed to provide options for those who prefer not to eat raw fish. It includes izakaya-style dishes such as chicken katsu and garlic pork udon, as well as vegetarian maki and cooked protein rolls. Those latter options are, in fact, still sushi — the Japanese word refers to rice seasoned with vinegar and sugar, not seafood — but operators want to make sure all types of diners feel right at home. easy.
While Ringer and his partners are all first-time restaurant owners, Sushi Hall is also the start of a new chapter for chef Mitch Kim, who spent 17 years leading the kitchen at Toro Sushi, the small place in Lincoln Park where he garnered a loyal following. in the zone. It was there that Kim met Ringer and Jimmy Vetrano, both neighborhood residents and Toro Sushi regulars, and forged a friendship that grew into a business partnership. The trio also brought in Dao Chanthabane, who spent six years as Kim’s sous-chef at Toro, as general manager and co-owner.
Well-known Chicago interior design firm Siren Betty Design (also behind the look of Segnatore and Nine Bar, among others) designed the 2,700-square-foot space, which includes a front dining area can accommodate 16 people; a chef’s counter for four; a six-seat sushi bar; and an aft dining area (also available for private parties) with seating for 16. Instead of the more conventional escapism-fueled aesthetic seen at many sushi restaurants, designers have firmly anchored the space to Chicago with exposed brick walls, neat blue and yellow subway tiles and a huge fish skeleton mural inspired by a tattoo on Kim’s forearm.
Despite more than two decades of experience behind the sushi bar, Kim remains humble, claiming – wrongly – that he’s “not a professional”, but says he could see Ringer is a kind person who loved his food. He also shares his fellow partners’ dedication to the neighborhood. “I said, ‘Jacob, let’s open another restaurant. I’d like to stay in Lincoln Park and keep my customers,” he says. “I didn’t want to leave for another place.”
Take a look around inside Sushi Hall in the photos below.
Sushi room2630 N. Clark Street, open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.