And the Lula baby finally has a name! Nightwood
A year and four months after we broke the news that Logan Square's popular Lula Cafe was working on a Pilsen sibling, the little sis has a name: Nightwood will open in mid-May, two years after the arduous process began. Owner and executive chef Jason Hammel explained that the name is a Djuna Barnes novel, a book the now-chef-onetime-writer describes as "a hallucinatory mystery that’s very Old World, very evocative, with prose that's gorgeous but not pretentious."
So just how does that translate to a restaurant? "I hope it evokes the same feeling I had when I first came upon Zuni Cafe, that it's this unexpected glowing ember on the street corner, a mysterious surprise," Hammel said. "Nightwood is on a stretch of Halsted where when you first approach it, you see an industrial landscape, you see the highway, then you get this image of this glowing jewel box on the corner and the smell of burning wood from our grill."
In the hands of designer Kevin Heisner, Hammel says, "the aesthetic straddles different eras" via a mix of traditional woodwork like hand-crafted molding, an open stairwell and sconces, all in various tones of walnut, with modern touches throughout and a few antique pieces tucked here and there. There's also a completely open kitchen, lined by a bar offering seating for ten diners looking for an up-close-and-personal view of chef de cuisine Jason Vincent in action. Nightwood—co-owned by Hammel, his wife Amalea Tshilds, Heisner and Matt Eisler—will initially be serving dinner only, Tuesday through Saturday (with plans to add weekend brunch in the coming months) and in a nod to night owls and restaurant folk, a late-night menu takes over for the dinner menu from 10pm to 2am. In addition to seating for 80 in both the main dining room and the three-season covered patio, a wine room in the basement with an "Old World feel" is open for private parties of up to 25. Speaking of wine, look for two dozen by the glass and 80 bottles from small producers around the world.
Nightwood is slated to open mid-May at 2119 S Halsted St.