First Look: Ian Flowers Chats about The Bentley Tavern's Menu

First Look

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[Photograph: Amber Gibson]

The Bentley Tavern, opening in Lakeview next week, is inspired by classic Manhattan (think Lexington Brass), as evidenced by the raw bar with East Coast oysters and subway tile decor. Executive chef Ian Flowers wants the restaurant to be a charming, approachable neighborhood destination.

Flowers was formerly the head chef at LOKal and Prost!, and he also was a corporate chef with Chipotle. "I've been in control at other restaurants, but this is the first one I've done start to finish," he says. "This is the first time I've had complete carte blanche." Flowers eventually hopes to introduce tasting menus at The Bentley Tavern. For now though, he wants to serve upscale food in a comfortable environment for residents. "I want to be a place the local public can have a nice meal at a decent price, but also attract foodies," Flowers explains.

The Bentley Tavern

Originally, Flowers was brought on as a consulting chef, but he decided to stay for the long haul. "It turns out to be a project I wanted to be a part of," he says.

Drinks will include a selection of wines, with a focus on American wines, as well as classic cocktails. The space is considerably brightened up from its Palette Bistro days, but the decor remains simple and unassuming, so the focus can be squarely on the food and company.

Expect the restaurant to begin brunch service a week after it opens, with dishes like chicken & waffles, potato pancakes, root hash, and housemade cinnamon rolls.

The Bentley Tavern

2834 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, IL 60657 (map)