March 13, 2017

Please reload

Recent Posts

Ronero brings rum, more upscale Latin cuisine to West Loop

December 23, 2016

Please reload

Featured Posts

Ronero Heads to the West Loop This Month

January 25, 2017

Randolph Street nabs yet another tenant with the mid-December opening of Ronero (738 W. Randolph St., West Loop), a bilevel, dual-concept project from chef Cory Morris (Rural Society, Mercat a la Planxa) and nightlife-industry veteran Nils Westlind (Nellcôte, Rockit).

Downstairs: a 100-seat eatery where Morris will fuse Latin American, Cuban, and Caribbean flavors to create what he thinks Chicago’s food scene lacks: “I love Italian and I love sports bars, but there is a gap when it comes to the upscale, authentic Latin experience,” he says.


With input from Westlind, who grew up in South America and married a Brazilian, Morris has selected iconic dishes from Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Costa Rica and Argentina for Ronero’s opening menu. Offerings progress from small plates (ceviche, empanadas); to composed plates featuring proteins (lamb chops, scallops); to veggie-based entrées (roasted squash served on skewers); and culminate in large-format dishes prepared tableside. One such feast, a whole, two-pound fried red snapper, will get deboned for guests in interactive, splashy fashion.


Upstairs: a rum-barrel door gives way to a 100-seat speakeasy modeled after a castle in Cartagena. Allie Kim (Boka Restaurant Group), will oversee the cocktail program, which entails tableside mixology, classic Cuban cocktails (daiquiris, mojitos), and some large-format originals. But, according to Westlind, “We are doing none of that tiki stuff. No sweet drinks.”


Latin American street food (a Cuban sandwich) and gringo-approved snacks (a trio of South American-themed hot dogs) comprise the food menu. Come weekends, DJs will spin, pausing periodically for what Westlind call “live music interjections.” “The DJ might cut out for 15 minutes and a guy might sing Buena Vista Social Club style—old school salsa and mambo,” he says.

According to Morris, a year of blood, sweet, and tears went into transforming the space—a former bike shop—to fit his vision for an Art Deco, Little Havana-esque vibe that maintains the industrial-chic feel of its Restaurant Row neighbors. “It was a great experience—and probably the last time I will do a ground-up project,” he concludes.




Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload