Chef Ian Flowers (Courtesy of The Bentley/Rob…)
Ian Flowers, former executive chef of Prost and Lokal, is preparing to really put his skills on display at The Bentley, a 50-seat, chef-driven restaurant set to open in Lakeview in late June.
“Fifty seats is pretty much the ideal size for a chef to show what he can do," Flowers said. "It’s big enough that you can turn the numbers you need to be profitable, but it’s manageable enough that you can really focus your food on what you want it to be.”
This is the first restaurant for owner Brian Dohmen, who contacted Flowers after eating his food at Prost. The Bentley will focus on American bistro fare served with classic cocktails and a mostly domestic wine list.
Flowers said options could include shrimp cocktail using huge prawns and a burger made with grass-fed beef served on a brioche bun with house-made condiments, artisan cheese, pork belly or foie gras. “I’m still working the kinks out on the menu," Flowers said. "We’re going to do some comfort things with a spin on them to elevate them.”
Located in Palette Bistro's former space at 2834 N. Southport Ave., the space itself will feature hardwood floors, a marble-bar top and an ornate back bar inherited from Lucca's, another former tenant. Sidewalk seating with flower-filled planters and umbrellas will double capacity with space for another 50 diners.
Flowers said his first goal is to bring in diners from around the neighborhood to ensure that the restaurant succeeds, but he's already dreaming of a possible Michelin star a few years down the road.
"I’ve had other head chef positions in my career, but this will be the first with the spotlight on me," he said. "It’s kind of unnerving. I’m fine right now, but I’m sure when it gets closer to the opening date I’ll be a ball of nerves and starting to freak out a bit. It’s showtime.”
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