GOLD COAST — Doc B's Fresh Kitchen, a new Gold Coast eatery eyeing a mid-September opening on Walton Place at Michigan Avenue, hopes to be half low-key neighborhood pub, half sleek, high-tech hotspot.
Owner Craig Bernstein, a 10-year veteran of the restaurant business but a first-time owner and recent Chicago transplant, says he's confident Doc B's can do both.
"We're taking the best quality ingredients and putting them into a very approachable environment," he said. "It's regular foods, pizza and salads and entrees, but the ingredients we use are ingredients we'd be proud to put in those recipes."
The 3,100-square-foot restaurant at 100 E. Walton Place will fit 33 tables in the front and rear dining room and patio.
To further straddle the line between fast-casual and chic, Bernstein's diners will order their meals at the front counter and grab a table or barstool, but they'll be given a coaster with a tracking device that syncs with RFID chips embedded in tables to direct servers straight to their customers.
A hydroponic garden separates the front desk from the rear dining area. Down the line, Bernstein hopes to set up a system that lets customers text their orders in advance to grab them and go.
"We hope to see people for breakfast, lunch and dinner, all in the same day," he said. "I think we should be able to attract people on their way to work, on their way home from work, and everybody in between ... being in the Gold Coast allows us to be a real neighborhood restaurant."
To that end, he's partnered with local heavy-hitters to supply Bow Truss coffee and Publican Quality Meats for the "straightforward American" menu crafted by Culinary Institute of America graduate Ed McIntosh.
Bernstein decided early that he wouldn't follow his father's footsteps into medicine — "when I was 10, my career report was titled 'restaurant entrepreneur,'" he said — so when his dad died three years ago, the Long Island, N.Y. native decided to name his first restaurant after him.
While he says this may be the first of many Chicago restaurants in his future — he's already trademarked the name "Wok Out" for a design-your-own-stir fry concept — Bernstein says he's deeply focused on making his dad's namesake restaurant a success.
"It's what I know, and it's what I'm comfortable with executing the right way, but it's also how I would want to eat every day," he said. "If you want a burger on a Monday, but you want grilled chicken on a Tuesday and seared tuna on a Wednesday, Doc B's gives you all those menu options."