STREETERVILLE — Bad news, vegans: Streeterville's newest neighborhood hangout has nothing for you.
"We have vegetarian skewer, we've got vegetarian sides, our cauliflower puree is amazing, made with vegetable stock, and we've got a quinoa casserole that's wonderful," said John Dalton, owner of mEAT, a Boystown-based restaurant that's opening a second location in Streeterville in mid-June.
"I mean, we have options for vegetarians, but I wouldn't say anything is vegan-friendly."
That's no surprise, considering the restaurant's menu is anchored by skewers of protein like bacon-wrapped chicken, rosemary mint pork and pistachio-crusted lamb chops.
Chicago's second mEAT location, set to open at 215 E. Chestnut St. on June 15, will be bigger than the flagship Boystown eatery attached to Minibar, seating 99 diners inside with room for 48 more on the seasonal patio.
Interior seating includes a mix of booths and long "German-style communal tables" that Dalton said encourage customers to mix, match and share from a selection of meat and seafood skewers and sides.
"The Streeterville location will allow us to have bigger groups, which will really accomplish the theme of the restaurant — which is sort of ice-breaking, and getting familiar with people," he said of the restaurant, whose location he loves because "it's more in the neighborhood, rather than in a destination restaurant location.
"Tourists will be nice to have for our Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday scene just to fill it a little bit more," he said, "but we definitely will have neighborhood programs, and want to be a good, go-to business for the neighbors that live in the area, or are on their way home from work at Northwestern, and want to pick something up to go.
"We will be really focused on having a neighborhood feel," he said.
Unlike the Boystown location, which shares a kitchen with Minibar, mEAT Streeterville will be a stand-alone operation, allowing for an expanded menu including brunch service, and a sophisticated cocktail program helmed by American Junkie mixologist Tony Potempa.
Executive chef Patrick Glatz will start at the restaurant next month, after he "wowed us with his plates" that showed what he could do," Dalton said.
The meat, seafood or tofu and wheat gluten skewers range in price from $9 to $28 for lobster tails, and all are meant to be shared.
"Instead of being a small-plate restaurant, we're sort of a large-plate restaurant that wants to be as shareable as small plates," Dalton said, estimating that "a skewer and a half per person is a complete meal."
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