Feb 19, 2024 - Food and Drink

New French restaurant La Grande Boucherie bets big on Chicago

dining room

La Grande Boucherie in River North is designed to transport you to 1920s Paris. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

New York-based La Grande Boucherie debuted its first Chicago outpost last week in the former Ruth's Chris Steakhouse spot, becoming one of the city's largest restaurants.

Why it matters: At a time when many eateries are still struggling with high food and labor costs, opening a 480-seat French steakhouse feels like a risky move — but also an encouragingly big bet on Chicago's downtown recovery.

What they're saying: "We came here because Chicago invented the steakhouse," owner Emil Stefkov tells Axios.

  • "I personally fell in love with the city because of its great gastronomic scene, this location and the vibrant cool River North neighborhood."

The vibe: Warm, loud and elegant, with a two-tiered Art Nouveau dining room that feels like a trip to 1920s Paris.

lobster bisque
The lobster bisque ($22) is served with puff pastry and whipped cream. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

On your plate: Multiple steak dishes, a complete raw bar and top-notch French classics. Think steak frites, chateaubriand, oysters, mussels and lobster bisque. Plus, smoked salmon from Steingold's.

  • Stefkov's favorites include the steak tartare, entrecôte and onion soup.

Average tab: Around $100 per person, with onion soup ($19) and escargot ($27) on the low end, and New York strip ($86) and tomahawk steaks ($175) on the higher end.

Best for: A special night out, romantic splurge or business lunch.

The bottom line: "I want to transport people to another place in time," Stepkov said on a recent, packed debut night with a live hot jazz band. "For me, I feel like I am in the theater tonight."

📍 If you go: 431 N. Dearborn St.

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