Oct 20, 2023 - Food and Drink

Oak Park, the most anticipated restaurant of the year, is now open

Oak Park dining room

The solarium dining room at Oak Park. Photos: Linh Ta/Axios

After months of hype, Oak Park is finally open — and reservations are already booked out at Ingersoll's newest restaurant until next year.

Why it matters: The fine-dining establishment, opened by local entrepreneur Kathy Fehrman, aims to put Iowa on the global culinary map.

  • The menu is locally sourced and seasonal, while every detail was carefully considered (even the dumpster area and retaining walls have murals.)

Driving the news: Axios got a personal tour of the restaurant on Oct. 17, its opening day, by local restauranteur and Oak Park's publicist, Chris Diebel.

State of play: The restaurant has all the high-end finishes you want for a special night out while retaining a neighborhood feel, thanks to the ample window dining overlooking Ingersoll Ave., Diebel says.

You can make it an outing for two for under $100. Or call in for a curated chef's table dinner at $400 a person.

  • The space is Iowa-centric. Art comes from local curators like Liz Lidgett. Dogpatch consults on the quarter-acre garden out back. Even the menus are covered with handmade leather from Fontenelle Co.

The aesthetic: Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired design. Think warm woods, bringing the outside in, and stylish, but cozy.

A table with a case of wine next to it
The wine room with a television that appears like a picture frame in the back.

Layout: The majority of the dining happens in the solarium. There are also private spaces available with hidden televisions for business presentations.

  • A wine room is available for a multi-course experience or business dinner.
  • And the chef's table offers a front-row seat to the kitchen.

The food: Much of the menu is Americana-inspired with seasonal and creative twists.

  • Entrees include a duck fettuccine ($36), carrot Wellington ($32) or a bone-in ribeye ($135).

Plus: If you want to end the night on a sweet note, there are small dessert bites for $4. (It was oatmeal cream pie the last we checked.)

The chef's table
The chef's table in the kitchen.

The drinks: The highlight is the wine menu featuring 516 different bottles.

  • One of the manager's proudest selections: Coulée de Serrant 2021, considered one of the greatest white wines in France.
  • If you're not feeling wine, there's a fully-stocked bar, craft beers and even Grain Belt. Plus non-alcoholic options.

Pro tip: Keep an eye on the restaurant's reservation page. As the staff gets more acclimated to daily service, they plan on adding more tables through the end of the year.

  • Bar seating is first come, first serve.
  • And don't stress about parking. There's plenty of space in the restaurant's lot.

The big picture: The western half of Ingersoll Avenue is mostly known for office spaces, while the eastern side gets trendy new shops and restaurants.

  • With the addition of Oak Park, the west half is getting some love, too.

The bottom line: We haven't actually eaten here yet! But expect us to try and snag a bar spot soon.

Outside garden
The garden outside, for cooks and bartenders to grab herbs and vegetables.
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