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Photograph: Martha Williams

Hubbard Inn opens in River North

Small plates and a bohemian vibe arrive in River North.


The way Bob Zrenner—former chef of Branch 27 and Graze, with a résumé that includes Tru, North Pond and X/O—sees it, “You’re not getting married to your entrée.” Which is why the drum this two-story River North spot beats to is small plates: steak tartare with a quail egg, seared scallops atop pumpkin purée, sweetbreads accompanied by fennel-apple salad. “All our plates have been crafted with the idea of communal dining, so the portions are generous enough to be shared, so you can get a lot more variety in your meal,” says Zrenner of the project, a 250-seat, 8,000-square-foot restaurant that the owners (bar-industry vets Adolfo Garcia, Daniel Alonso and David Mitria) have dubbed a “Continental tavern.” The tavern aspect comes into play with two bar areas serving classic cocktails (Manhattans, Hemingway daquiris, martinis served in coupe glasses) and 22 craft beers on tap. So though it’s on the loud Hubbard bar strip, Mitria assures: “It’s not your kind of turn-and-burn vodka-tonic, Bud Light place.” 110 W Hubbard St, 312-222-1331.

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