By LINDSAY WELBERS
Promontory is Hyde Park’s newest place for dinner and live music.
The Promontory, 1539 E. 53rd St., had a soft opening Monday, July 21.
The restaurant has been a long time in the making. Two years passed between when Empty Bottle owner Bruce Finkelman first walked into the vacated Borders bookstore and when the restaurant opened.
The restaurant occupies the first floor of the two-story space. The music venue is still under construction but expected to be complete before musicians begin to play.
The first musicians booked include The South Side Big Band, Syl Johnson, Maceo Parker, Otis Clay, Stanley Clarke, Kinky Friedman, NRBQ, Ramsey Lewis Electric Band, Philip Bailey of Earth Wind and Fire and Siegel-Schwall Band.
Genres include R&B, jazz, funk, blues, soul, country-rock, roots and pop.
Finkelman said this venue will operate within the vein of other Empty Bottle venues, like Thalia Hall in Pilsen. Ticket prices range from $12-30 for standing or general admission tickets, $20-50 for a seat and $32-70 for a table.
The venue has space for 600 standing or 300 seated.
The venue will not limit itself to any particular style of music.
“We want this to be a community center,” Finkelman said. “We don’t rule anything out. There’s no genre that we won’t try to find a home here.”
The restaurant has a hearth-to-table theme. An open fire fills the restaurant with a woody smell.
Finkelman said he took inspiration from Promontory Point’s fire council rings.
“I’ve always wanted to go back to the simplest form of cooking, the fire,” Finkelman said.
Chef Jared Wentworth, who helped Logan Square’s Longman & Eagle earn its Michelin Star, created a menu centered around the hearth. The menu includes cornbread panzanella, grilled soft shell crab, quail on a string and Kentucky burgoo, among others.
The drink menu, Finkelman said, didn’t seek to be the biggest or best collection of any one thing. Cocktails are separated by whether they’re shaken, stirred or carbonated. Most wines are available by the glass or bottle.
Promontory is the latest addition to the Harper Court development. The University of Chicago sought out Finkelman who collaborated with SPACE in Evanston to open Promontory.