FIG& OLIVE OPENS ITS FLAGSHIP 10,000 SQUARE FOOT CHICAGO
LOCATION WITH A NEW DINING DESTINATION
ON THURSDAY, JUNE 26, 2014
The stunning ‘olive oil oasis’ brings a taste of the French Riviera and Coastal regions of the South of France, Italy, and Spain to Chicago’s Gold Coast next month
(CHICAGO, IL) – On Thursday, June 26, FIG & OLIVE extends an olive branch to Chicago with its flagship city location, situated on Oak Street in the premier Gold Coast luxury retail shopping district. Laurent Halasz, the founder of FIG & OLIVE, envisioned an urban space embodying his origins from the South of France, and the 10,000 square foot dining destination features a variety of unique spaces that capture this essence of the French Riviera. With natural limestone and white stucco walls surrounding an open-exhibition kitchen, an expansive lounge and bar, a crostini station, and an open-air garden terrace, this location is perfect for an informal or elegant gathering.
FIG & OLIVE embodies a passion for the best olive oils, flavors, and cuisine from the Riviera and Coastal regions of the South of France, Italy, and Spain. Executive Chef Pascal Lorange’s menu highlights the unique olive oils, paired with each dish and used in place of butter.
The multi-faceted design of the 10,000-square-foot, 270-seat dining destination features a variety of unique spaces, including:
- Main Floor Lounge and Bar, Crostini Station, and Formal Dining Area
- Two Semi Private Dining Rooms on the Main and Upper Floors
- Upper Floor Formal Dining Area, Lounge, and Retail Space
- Upper Floor Open-Air Terrace Overlooking Oak Street
Executive Chef & Culinary Program
Executive Chef Pascal Lorange, at the age of 19, trained at three-star Michelin-rated restaurant Georges Blanc in Vonnas, France, and continued to hone his craft while working as a private chef to Spanish singer Julio Iglesias and cooking for celebrities such as Oscar de la Renta, Princess Stephanie of Monaco, and the Clintons. At FIG & OLIVE, Lorange finds inspiration along with Halasz during their yearly sojourns throughout the South of France, Italy, and Spain, where they discover new olive oils, local flavors, and recipes to create the ingredient-driven menu for the restaurant.
“At FIG & OLIVE, we highlight our menu’s core ingredient of olive oil, which we use in place of butter in our dishes—ranging from a sweet and delicate olive oil that pairs well with a Steamed Lemon Sole Papillote, to a peppery olive oil with Grilled Lamb Chops, to a green-fruit olive oil that we serve with a Green Apple Sorbet,” Lorange says.
Each meal begins with a taste of three distinct extra virgin olive oils with the restaurant’s freshly baked Rosemary Olive Oil Fougasse Bread. Guests can gather at the bar and lounge to enjoy tasting dishes and shareable small plates ($8-19) such as the Zucchini Carpaccio with fresh Lemon Juice, Pine Nut, Parmesan, and Picholine Olive Oil; Mushroom, Truffle Artichoke, Parmesan Crostini; a Fig Gorgonzola Tartlet with Warm Gorgonzola, Prosciutto, Fig, Walnut, Arugula, and Tomato on a fine Puff Pastry, alongside an assortment of Crostinis, Crudos, Cicchetti & Fritti, imported charcuterie (Jamón Serrano, Prosciutto, and Saucisson Sec), cheese (Taleggio, Gorgonzola Dolce, and Fromage de Chèvre), olives, ceviche, and tartar.
In Chicago, Lorange is also embracing the city’s commitment to local farmers and purveyors, with carefully chosen products and hand-selected ingredients utilized for their genuine taste, seasonality, and locality.
For lunch, guests can select a variety of flavorful midday options ($9–39) including a Riviera Shrimp & Salmon Salad featuring Tiger Shrimp and Seared Salmon marinated with Cilantro, Citrus, and Olive Oil, Shaved Fennel, Arugula, Avocado, and Arbequina Olive Oil; Octopus a la Gallega comprised of thinly sliced Braised Octopus, marinated Bell Pepper, Black Olive, Basil, Arugula, Pimenton Lemon Dressing and drizzled with Cobrancosa Olive Oil; and housemade Zucchini Blossom& Goat Cheese Ravioli with Zucchini Emulsion, Tomato Confit, and Crispy Zucchini Blossom with Parmesan, shaved Ricotta Salata, and paired with Nocellara Olive Oil. FIG & OLIVE’s signature small plates, tartines, and a selection of burgers and Paninis are also offered.
At dinner, fresh fish and signature FIG & OLIVE dishes helm the diverse menu. Patrons can choose from entrées ($19-42) such as Penne Funghi Tartufo with Cremini and Black Trumpet Mushroom, Parmesan and White Truffle Olive Oil; Paella del Mar with Arborio Rice,, Black Tiger Shrimp, Sea Scallop, Calamari, Mussels, Chicken, Green Peas, Red Bell Pepper, Artichoke, Saffron Aioli, Pimento, and Oregano paired with Hojiblanca Olive Oil; Mediterranean Branzino glazed with Fig and 18-year-old Balsamic Vinegar, alongside Snow Pea, Fig, Olive Oil Mashed Potato and drizzled with Koroneiki Olive Oil; and the Grilled FIG& OLIVE Rosemary Lamb Chop, Smoked a la Minute with a bouquet of Herbs de Provence, Goat Cheese & Chive Gnocchi, Roasted Honey, and Thyme Eggplant with Rosemary Garlic Olive Oil.
Desserts ($8-12), crafted by FIG & OLIVE’s Pastry Chef Andrew LeStourgeon, include specialties including Chocolate Pot de Crème with crunchy Praline Financiers and Vanilla Cream; Crème Brulee Cheesecake with Olive Oil crisp and a Caramelized Peach; a Raspberry Sorbet with yogurt Mousse, crunchy Meringue, and Raspberry Caramel; and a Caramelized Apple Tart comprised of a crisp Puff Pastry with Caramelized Apples and Vanilla Ice Cream. Guests can also enjoy Andrew’s Tasting & the Sharing Plate, a choice of four-bite sized desserts.
Wine Program & Cocktails
A diverse wine list includes varietals that represent the distinctive regional flavors of the South of France, Italy, and Spain, over 23 of which are offered by the glass ($8-25), along with full bottles (starting at $40), reserve wines, and Champagne ($12-21 by glass /starting at $50 by bottle and reserve Champagne). Featuring a wide offering of wines by the glass, whites include Sauvignon Blanc Sancerre from France Domain de Tonnellerie, Chardonnay from Italy Joseph Drouhin Saint Veran, and Pinot Grigio from Italy, Barone Fini. Reds include French Pinot Noir, Italian Barbera d’Alba, French Cote du Rhone, Spanish Tempranillo with Valserrano from Rioja; and also French Malbec from Cahors.
FIG & OLIVE Chicago also offers specialty signature cocktails that include the Raspberry Mojito, the Cucumber Cosmopolitan, the Blood Orange Vodka-Rossellini, the signature French Riviera-inspired “Piscine” (Champagne on ice, served with fresh Strawberries), “Summer in Provence” (Old Tom Gin, housemade Rosemary Thyme Syrup, muddled Blackberries, and fresh Lime Juice), alongside custom-made FIG & OLIVE Dirty Martinis—with a choice of three olive varieties and brines (Black Niçoise, Green Verdial, and Purple Sweet Arbequina)—and a selection of Moët & Chandon, Ruinart, Dom Pérignon, and Veuve Clicquot Champagnes. FIG & OLIVE Chicago also features rotating beers on draft, spotlighting local craft brews throughout the seasons.
Décor & Space
FIG & OLIVE Chicago is a 10,000 square-foot oasis, featuring two stories, including the main floor retail space, seating, and private dining room, as well as the upper floor dining area, bar and open-air terrace. The restaurant offers various spaces to create a range of personalized experiences for diners – from casual get-togethers over a glass of wine to intimate private occasions. Accommodating up to 270 guests, the dining experience centers around the FIG & OLIVE bar and lounge, surrounded by olive trees and illuminated by a large skylight. An open kitchen including a terrace overlooking Oak Street completes the top floor.
Entrance, Street Level: A black iron and glass door greets guests as they enter at street level into FIG& OLIVE. A wooden vestibule featuring terra cotta flooring and walls leads to the elevator up into the main dining space.
Main Floor Dining Area and Lounge (second level): Upon exiting the elevator, the eye is drawn to a stunning marble island bar centered by two olive trees and paneled with olive and terra cotta tiles. Featuring sleek leather stools, the bar seats up to 30. Iron-work shelves and a large bottle display add additional accents. Up above, a pierced ceiling opens the space with skylights beaming down upon olive trees and bringing natural light into the space. Adjacent to the bar, the lounge offers a residential-like recluse for relaxing in comfortable linen sofas beneath iron chandeliers. Above the tree-lined Oak Street, guests can relax with a craft cocktail or small plate while enjoying art from Diane Detalle, a painter from the South of France.
Also on the main floor, the central dining area seats up to 70 guests. Leather armchairs are juxtaposed with a pop of color in the orange linen banquettes. Additionally, the private dining room provides a niche for intimate affairs. Framed pressed flowers and herbs from the South of France adorn the walls, and an illuminated wine display lights up the restaurant’s broad selection of French, Italian, and Spanish varietals.
Finally, the retail collection is also located on this floor.
Upper Floor Dining and Terrace (third level): Stairs lead guests into the upper floor, which is anchored by a 30 foot-long open kitchen and glowing olive oil wall featuring over 150 bottles. Seating up to 80 guests, this main dining room is sophisticated elegance: white tablecloths paired with light grey Provence linen chairs, sofas, and banquettes, and charcoal piping adds a rustic accent to the back wall. Across from the third floor bar is the space’s highlight: the lush open-air terrace. Welcoming 30 guests, greenery, including rosemary and trees covered by an iron pergola and white canopy, encapsulates guests in this urban escape. Adding to the natural ambiance, wood and rattan chairs surround the marble and teak tables for a true taste of Provence. This floor is also home to a second private dining space holding 14.
Located on the main floor of FIG & OLIVE Chicago, a unique retail space features over 20 different varietals of gourmet olive oil that are all available for purchase. These range in flavor from a delicate and fruity unfiltered extra virgin olive oil from Chateau Léoube in Provence to a buttery Arbequina from Melgarejo in Andalucía, Spain, and a peppery olive oil from Marques de Grinon, Spain. Other products sold include an assortment of infused olive oils, aged vinegars, and specialty olives& spreads. Prices range from $6-24.
About FIG & OLIVE Chicago
FIG & OLIVE Chicago is located at 104 East Oak Street in the Gold Coast; Chicago, IL. The restaurant serves French Riviera-inspired fare in a discreet, elegant yet approachable setting suitable for any occasion. FIG& OLIVE CHICAGO will serve service starting on Thursday, June 26 and introduce lunch and brunch services in July. The restaurant will introduce lunch and brunch service in summer 2014. On weekends, special holidays, and private events, FIG & OLIVE’s lively ambiance is amplified with soulful house and new Downtempo music by St. Tropez’s celebrity DJ Nolan. Reservations can be made by calling 312-445-0060, visiting OpenTable.com, or by emailing [email protected]. Walk-ins are also welcome. For more information on the restaurant, please visit www.FigandOlive.com or Facebook and Twitter. For more information on opening and events, please email [email protected]