During Studio Director, Nick Domitrovich’s trip to Chicago for The International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art (EXPO CHICAGO), he aimed to explore the Windy City through its impressive restaurant and bar scene. Follow Nick as he highlights his favorite art pieces at EXPO CHICAGO and tastes his way through Chicago hot spots.
12 P.M. Land at O’Hare International Airport
1 P.M. Check-in to Waterfront Luxury
Sitting on the corner of North Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive surrounding the Michigan Avenue bridge is the luxurious LondonHouse Chicago. This historic landmark, originally designed by Chicago architect, Alfred Alschuler in 1923 has been revitalized and infused with subtle jazz themes throughout the building. In the lobby, you’re met with a two-story wallcovering of General William Hull, a reference to the Battle of Fort Dearborn, curated by art gallery, Kevin Barry Fine Art.
2 P.M. Veg Out
If the greenery-filled trough wasn’t obvious enough, Bad Hunter is a veggie-forward restaurant packing some powerful flavors. Filled with natural light, custom woodwork and a neutral palette, this Meatpacking District restaurant is the perfect spot to relax and refuel.
3:30 P.M. Italian Donuts
After surrounding yourself in greenery, indulge yourself with Bar Siena’s side concept (literally), Bombobar serving Italian-style hole-less donuts filled with gooey goodness. For $3.50, get yourself the salted caramel bomboloni, and thank me later.
6 P.M. Technicolor Textiles
Eye-catching art was on display at the VIP party hosted by EXPO CHICAGO with technicolor textiles ever present. Noteworthy pieces on showcase, “Shifter” by Sanford Biggers (David Castillo Gallery), “Untitled” by Manish Nai (part of the Expo’s In/Situ program), and my personal favorite, Faig Ahmed’s “Virgin” (Sapar Contemporary Gallery).
8:30 P.M. Refined Yet Rustic Dining
Inside the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, you can find the James Beard Outstanding Restaurant Design award-winning space, Cherry Circle Room located on the second floor. In the dark and moody room, you’ll find a range of refined dishes from halibut with fava beans to cavatelli with beef tongue and sunchokes.
11 P.M. Rooftop Nightcap
End the night where it all began. LondonHouse Chicago’s tri-leveled rooftop with its infamous cupola and custom ‘champagne’ bubble wallcovering makes it the perfect spot to perch and take in the views with a cocktail in hand.
9 A.M. Baked Fresh Daily
Start the morning off right with coffee and baked goods at The Bakery at Fat Rice. Inspired by Macau, Malaysia, Portugal and beyond, handmade pastries like guava cream cheese sweet potato dough and a Vietnamese coffee will be sure to wake you right up, that or the colorful interiors will.
11 A.M. Resist, Rinse & Repeat
It probably comes as no surprise that the art world has a few things to say about today’s political climate and they are not holding back. Noteworthy pieces at EXPO CHICAGO, “Decide Who You Are #21: Phantom Limps” by Adrian Piper (Levy Gorvy Gallery), “Freedom Cannot Wait” by Patrick Martinez, “Suffragette City” by Lara Schnitger (part of the Expo’s In/Situ program).
1 P.M. Modern American Fare
Inside the trendy Wicker Park boutique hotel The Robey, is Café Robey, an open-kitchen serving Modern American fare where you can grub on a carefully selected menu featuring dishes like braised and crisped pork belly with 5-minute egg, and charred shrimp with roasted corn salad.
3 P.M. White on White
Everywhere I looked today, there was white layered upon white layered upon white, creating an artistic Winter Wonderland. Noteworthy pieces at EXPO CHICAGO, “Perpetual Instability” by Lucas Simoes (Patron and Marso), “Partition 69” by Christiane Feser (Von Lintel Gallery) “In Absence” by Finbard Ward (FOLD Gallery)
5 P.M. Champagne Break
With all that walking, it’s important to stay hydrated. EXPO CHICAGO’s VIP lounge served bubbly by Ruinart, the oldest established champagne house in the world. A welcome and refreshing break.
7 P.M. The Last Supper
After a long day of running around, it’s time to enjoy the casual hospitality of The Dawson, a bi-level American restaurant and bar with a stripped-down look inspired by the Dawson brothers who owned a historic fireplace plant in the late 19th century. With seasonally updated menus, Fall features hearty dishes such as grilled Spanish octopus, spicy lamb meatballs, and gochujhang mussels. If you can’t make it for dinner, they have a spectacular brunch.
11 P.M. Depart Chicago
A big thank you to Kevin Barry Fine Art for providing airfare, accommodations, and EXPO CHICAGO passes for this incredible trip.
About Kevin Barry Fine Art
Kevin Barry Fine Art Associates is a leading international art consultancy, offering expert advice on fine art purchase and placement. We have been in business for over 20 years and know that an experienced fine art consultant working with high-profile architects, interior designers, key private collectors, investors, and corporate, healthcare and hospitality brands can make the difference between an adequate project, and an award-winner. Our experts in Los Angeles, San Francisco & Las Vegas have assisted them through fine art consulting by sourcing and displaying exceptional modern and contemporary art for interior designers and are always grateful for the opportunity to work with the creative and talented members of the design community.
About Puccini Group
Puccini Group has been creating inspired concepts, interior designs, and brand identities for the world’s leading hospitality brands since Bob Puccini founded the firm in 1996. Puccini Group’s client roster includes the Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons, InterContinental, Hilton, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Starwood, St. Regis, and more. Puccini Group’s multi-studio specializations include Concepts, Interior Design, Marketing, Branding, and Operations, which together results in a holistic approach to successful hospitality experiences in projects both within its home state of California, and internationally. The San Francisco-based firm is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary.