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The Kitchen Hires ex-Avec Chef Johnny Anderes Ahead of River North Opening

 Cocktails at The Kitchen in Denver.
Cocktails at The Kitchen in Denver.
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Davis Tilly Photography

RIVER NORTH — The Kitchen — a Colorado-based series of restaurants — will open its first Chicago location in River North with head chef Johnny Anderes at the helm, the restaurant announced Wednesday.

Anderes was the Chef de Cuisine at Avec from 2004 to 2010 before heading Logan Square's Telegraph, which closed for "re-concepting" last month.

The restaurant will be located at 316 N. Clark St., bumping the 3D Printer Experience around the block.

The Kitchen's menu will offer "simple and seasonal dishes" created with locally-sourced ingredients, according to general manager Mike Elmore, who moved to Chicago from Colorado to run the restaurant.

Since their priority is sourcing ingredients as locally as possible, the Chicago menu will vary based on produce availability.

"The farmers in Fort Collins and Denver are vastly different than the farmers that are outside Chicago," Elmore said. "At each location, the menu is sort of dictated by what's available. It's incredibly seasonal."

"It's all about working with what the farmers have to bring to you, as opposed to dictating what you want from them. And then having an amazing group of chefs that knows what to do with what's coming in."

As at previous Kitchen locations in Boulder, Denver and Fort Collins, the restaurant will include a wine room and raw bar to complement its seafood-heavy menu, sourced from Maine's Ingrid Bengis Seafood.

Elmore said they're eager to partner with "as many local brewers and distillers as possible." The operation will utilize wind power and eco-friendly packaging and compost its food waste.

Design-wise, their focus is on "exposing the beautiful parts of the [Murdoch] building that are already there," Elmore said.

"The bulk of the work that's been done has been demolition, but that's really what brings the beauty of the building out," he said. The Reid Murdoch building is "about to celebrate its 100th anniversary, and for us it's about exposing all the brick that's been there the whole time, exposing some of the columns that are in there."

Elmore said they hope to open in the fall. Next spring, they hope to add riverfront patio seating.

While the restaurant will be new to Chicago, The Kitchen's philanthropic arm, The Kitchen Community, has been working with Chicago Public Schools since 2012 to plant learning gardens at more than 100 schools.

The initiative aims to instill healthy eating habits and bolster academic performance with the opportunity for garden-based nutrition and science education.

Kimbal Musk, who co-founded The Kitchen with Hugo Matheson and Jen Lewin, estimated that the garden program would impact more than 60,000 Chicago students.