The street-side WGN Radio studio in the Tribune building at 435 N. Michigan Avenue still remains, but the restaurant now occupies a vacant space that once housed the offices of WGN in the remainder of the building’s ground floor (facing the NBC Plaza, by the Michigan Avenue bridge over the Chicago River).
Howells & Hood takes its name from the the Tribune Tower’s history – paying homage to the building’s original architects, John Howells and Raymond Hood, who were awarded the task of designing the historic “most beautiful office building in the world” in a 1922 competition.
With a $10 million budget, the Bottleneck team created an interior decor that is reminiscent of the rest of the building’s design, with copper and steel accents, dark wood, and famous quotes inscribed in stone that was collected from the same quarry as the the original building’s stone was harvested from some 80 years ago.
Howells & Hood’s Executive Chef Scott Walton and Bottleneck’s Corporate Executive Chef Paul Katz have collaborated on a menu that offers globally-inspired cuisine with locally-sourced product, capitalizing on Walton’s reputation as one of Chicago’s foremost authorities on fresh and sustainable cuisine.
Owner Chris Bisaillon believes that, with 360 draught faucets (dispensing 114 local and global beers concurrently), they may have the world’s most beer taps in one location. But, even if disproved, it’s hard to argue that this 17,300 square foot indoor space (or its 5,700 square foot outdoor terrace) will have any problem serving its customers’ needs.
In addition to the first floor expanse, Howells & Hood is also utilizing the 25th floor of the building for catered weddings and private events. “The Crown”, which features indoor and outdoor space with dramatic views of the city from under the legendary flying buttresses, offers a unique setting to the public in an area once inhabited by the Tribune’s executive offices.
The restaurant officially opened on March 14th, after the wait staff received several weeks of training (including their required Cicerone certification to become “Certified Beer Servers”) which was tested during several private investor and media-only events. It’s now open to the public every day from 11:00AM to 2:00AM (and 3:00AM on Saturdays).
This marks the sixth location for Bottleneck Management, following other bars and restaurants that they’ve opened throughout the city including Trace, The Boundary Tavern, Sweetwater Tavern and Grille, South Branch Tavern and Grille, and, most recently, Old Town Pour House.
For more information about Howells & Hood, visit their website at HowellsAndHood.com.