The Portage announces a gastropub and restaurant to open Wednesday, June 16, 2010 in the heart of Portage Park. The Portage will serve welcoming, affordable classic American cuisine and comfort food by Executive Chef Jeff Brantley.
The overall space designed by owner, Quay Tao, is clean, modern and comfortable with rich woods, recessed lighting and plush red upholstery in the main dining area. The walls are a soft gray and seating includes bold, warm red fabric banquets. The space exhibits an elegant yet casual, intimate feel. The décor is contemporary and simple to reflect a menu with similar priorities. Says Tao “I wanted to create an interior that reflects affordable luxury to create a welcoming dining experience for our guests – many of whom will be Portage Park neighbors.”
The Portage offers seating for 28 in the main dining room. A granite bar with seating for 16, features a 47” plasma TV and red leather bar stools. The private lounge area called the “Library Room,” is ideal for private dining and wine and food tastings. The room, that can seat 10 – 12 guests, will also function as a lounge with a leather couch, a collection of books and 47” plasma TV. The expansive patio area in the back garden will seat 45 and includes slate tile flooring and Brazilian hardwood walls.
The Portage will showcase Classic American cuisine by Executive Chef Jeff Brantley. The seasonal menu will feature Appetizers, Soups and Salads, Entrées, and Desserts ranging from $4.95 – $18.95. The Portage will be open dinner seven days a week, serve brunch on Saturday and Sunday and they will soon be open for lunch. (See below for full hours of operation).
Brunch and Dinner menu highlights include Duck Fat French Fries (House-Cut Potatoes, Fried Crispy in Duck Fat, served with a Duo Dipping Sauce: $4.95); Roasted Organic Beet Salad (with Toasted Marcona Almonds, Goat Cheese, and Pink-Peppercorn Vinaigrette: $7.95); Pan Roasted Adobo Salmon (On Bed of Fava Bean Succotash, Frisee, and Grilled Asparagus Ribbons: $17.95); The Portage Kobe Burger (Roasted Tomatoes, Caramelized Red Onions, House-Made Pickles, Romaine Lettuce, and a Spicy Aioli on a Polish Egg Bun: $10.95); Frutti Di Mare (Pasta, Clams, Mussels, Shrimp, Swiss Chard, and Garlic Tomato Cream Sauce: $15.95). Full menus are available upon request.
The Portage will be BYOB through the end of June. Full brunch, lunch, wine and cocktail menus are coming soon.
About Executive Chef Jeff Brantley
Originally from Columbus, Georgia, Jeff started working in restaurants at the age of sixteen. After graduating from the University of Mississippi with a degree in Hospitality Management, Jeff went to work at the famed City Grocery in Oxford, Mississippi with James Beard honoree, Chef John Currence. He then moved to Chicago to attend Le Cordon Bleu’s culinary program at the Cooking and Hospitality Industry of Chicago. Upon graduating, Jeff cooked in the acclaimed kitchens at X/O and Il Cuomo before becoming Executive Chef at Tizi Melloul in River North. When not at work, Jeff is active in the local restaurant community building strong relationships with local markets and farms and finding ways to incorporate sustainable and “slow food” into his everyday life and now The Portage. Says, Brantley, “I’m excited to get to know our neighbors and offer them fresh, creative, affordable food.”
Quay Tao – Owner and Managing Partner
As an entrepreneur, restaurant owner, operator and consultant, Quay Tao brings more than 15 years of impressive experience to The Portage. Tao has played a major role in the conception and operation of some of Chicago’s most successful and acclaimed restaurants. Tao established himself as a manager at Le Colonial Restaurant, a staple in the Gold Coast. He then opened the popular Tizi Melloul (1999), MOD (2001) and Acqualina (2004) restaurants a co-founder and managing partner in all three ventures. All three restaurants have been reviewed and received accolades by publications such as Food and Wine, Chicago Magazine, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, and Gourmet. MOD and Acqualina were both named as best new restaurant by Chicago Magazine while Tizi Melloul was highlighted on the hit show Check, Please!
About Neil O’Mara – General Manager
With 20 vibrant years of restaurant experience at notable restaurateurs including Jerry Kleiner and Anan Abu-Taleb (Maya Del Sol), Neil O’Mara has honed his craft and palette as a top manager and beverage director for some of the finest dining destinations in the Chicago area – most recently as founding General Manager of Jerry Kleiner’s 33 Club in Old Town. Neil recently moved to the Portage Park area and is looking forward to exploring everything the neighborhood and surrounding area has to offer. “Quay and I are really charged about creating a fun, welcoming restaurant that will become a lasting favorite for the local community and visitors to this unique area.”
3938 N Central Avenue
Chicago, IL 60634
HOURS OF OPERATION
Monday- Thursday: Dinner 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Friday: Dinner 5:00 PM – 10:30 PM
Saturday: Brunch 10:00 AM – 1:30 PM; Dinner 5:00 PM- 10:30 PM,
Sunday: Brunch 10:00 AM – 1:30 PM; Dinner 5:00 PM – 10:30 PM